IBM, Mubadala joint venture to bring Watson cloud to MENA

IBM is teaming up with Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Mubadala Development Company to create a joint venture based in Abu Dhabi that will deliver IBM’s cloud-based Watson service to customers in the Middle East and Northern Afirca (MENA) region.

The companies will set up the joint venture through Mubadala’s subsidiary, Injazat, which will be the sole provider of the Watson platform in the region.

The companies said the move will help create an ecosystem of MENA-based partners, software vendors and startups developing new solutions based on the cognitive compute platform.

“Bringing IBM Watson to the region represents the latest major milestone in the global adoption of cognitive computing,” said Mounir Barakat, executive director of ICT at Aerospace & Engineering Services, Mubadala.

“It also signals Mubadala’s commitment to bringing new technologies and spurring economic growth in the Middle East, another step towards developing the UAE as a hub for the region’s ICT sector,” Barakat said.

Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM Watson said Mubadala’s knowledge of the local corporate ecosystem will help the company expand its cognitive compute cloud service in the region.

IBM has enjoyed some Watson wins in financial services, healthcare and the utilities sectors, but the company has been fairly quiet on how much the division rakes in; over the past year the company made strides to expand the platform in the US, Africa and Japan, and recently made a number of strategic acquisitions in software automation in order to boost Watson’s appeal in customer engagement and health services.

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