Standard Bank of South Africa has become the latest financial institution to enlist IBM's Watson cognitive computing platform to help it make the most of customer data.
IBM's Watson machine caused a stir in 2011 when it beat two human competitors to claim the $1 million prize on the US quiz show Jeopardy. Unusually for a computer program, Watson excels at analysing the meaning and context of human language, aligned with the ability to quickly process vast amounts of information.
Standard Bank says that the technology will help in the efficient identification, gathering and use of customer information, enabling staff to assess their requirements and act accordingly.
Vuyo Mpako, head, innovation and channel design, Standard Bank, says: "The ultimate beneficiaries of the project will be our customers for whom the process-known as 'cognitive computing' will undoubtedly bring many benefits as we continue to identify innovative ways of doing business and build a bank for the future."
Standard Bank says that it is the first financial institution in Africa to tap Watson's potential but the technology is being tested in other parts of the world, with USAA, DBS Bank, ANZ and Royal Bank of Canada all attempting to harness its power.
Earlier this month IBM set out its commercial ambitions for the machine, outlining partnerships in industries ranging from healthcare to travel. In the FS sector, CaixaBank is working with Big Blue to develop a cognitive system built on Watson to understand Spanish.