IBM Watson Trend app uses big data, machine learning to predict hottest holiday gifts

By Shawn Knight ยท 11 replies
Nov 18, 2015
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  1. IBM wants to ensure everyone has the opportunity to purchase the gifts their loved ones desire most. To do that, they’re using IBM Watson to pinpoint this year’s top trends and determine which are likely to sell out first, thus giving savvy shoppers the wherewithal to buy those products first.

    The former Jeopardy champion extracts the sentiment from tens of millions of online conversations by skimming 10,000 sources across social media sites, forums, comments, blogs, reviews and ratings. Like finding a needle in a haystack, the app leans on machine learning and natural language processing to highlight patterns and trends that reveal why people are gravitating toward specific products or brands. Insights are then aggregated into distinct trend groups – content, context and sentiment – with each receiving a daily trend score based on impact and momentum.

    In the future, IBM plans to add new capabilities to IBM Watson Trend including language and geographic data, further fine-tuning its abilities.

    The valuable insight is neatly packaged and presented inside the IBM Watson Trend app where you’ll find much more than a simple list of the holiday’s hottest products. The app provides a summary of each product trend, a detailed chart plotting its trend score over time, snippets of what people are saying about an item and even a collection of images.

    Trends are separated into three categories – consumer electronics, toys and health & fitness. As of writing, IBM says the top trends include amateur photographers looking for entry-level professional cameras, parents looking to buy educational-minded toys for their children and excitement around certain wearable technology.

    IBM admits that shoppers could essentially arrive at these same conclusions on their own, provided they had unlimited time and never slept. The company also notes that because it isn’t trying to sell anything, the data it provides shoppers isn’t skewed by marketing campaigns, advertising dollars and the like.

    The IBM Watson Trend app is available as of writing for iOS and on the web.

    In related news, IBM is predicting that for the first time ever, consumers will rely more on their mobile devices than desktop computers to seek out deals online. Over the upcoming five-day holiday period (which I assume runs from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday), IBM anticipates mobile traffic to climb by 57 percent, an increase of 17 percent compared to last year. Purchases made on mobile devices, meanwhile, are predicted to climb by more than 36 percent.

    Do you plan on doing any of your holiday shopping via mobile device or will the desktop still reign supreme (or will you venture out into the retail madness)? Let us know your strategy in the comments section below.

    Watson image courtesy Clockready, Wikipedia. Shopping photo via Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. Desktop for sure! Even with a Note 4, the screen is too small to get a better feel for whatever it is you're looking to buy.
    JLingana likes this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    C'mon man. Everybody knows Santa Claus is real and love him, don't spoil it all by suggesting Watson is the real deal, how could that machine dress up in a red gimp suit and sport a long white beard. It's just not the same.
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    I doubt Watson could uphold the Santa spirit of terrifying young children, loitering outside department stores, and getting "merry" thanks to the input/ouput of malt liquor.
  5. Jibberish18

    Jibberish18 TS Evangelist Posts: 646   +89

    At this point is there something has NOT been designated to do? Shopping. Food. Weather. Weapons. Perfect Orgasm. Wait...I don't think it's dabbled in weapons yet.
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    That's the whole point. Kids love to be frightened by Santa because they'll get something nice out of the deal (wine breath notwithstanding).
  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    Ho Ho Ho

    (to be fair I guess the Dumpster Elves are by far the minority compared to the Asian semi-skilled child labour elves that Santa tends to source for the most part)
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,003   +2,532

    I'm all alone in the world, (cranky stifles a brief sob), then thoughtfully mutters to himself, "since it allegedly knows what I want, I wonder what this piece of crap is going to buy me for Christmas" Probably the same thing it got me last year. Bah humbug!
  9. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,264

    A saucy invitation diverted to your spam folder?
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,003   +2,532

    Well, turnabout is apparently fair play. A few of years ago, a lady from from New Jersey took her pet bobcat to a local "Pet Smart" to see Santa. I know right? They had a Santa that was, (I'm guessing), a pet whisperer. Let's call him, "Veterinary Santa" (This woman was trying to pass it off a a house cat, it absolutely wasn't). Anyway, the cat showed no fear, and brazenly bit Santa.

    Next, the "Pixie Bob Society", came out a ratted the lady out. I guess they were jealous since this woman had a real bobcat, and not the toy, unreasonable facsimile that is the "pixie bob"

    Lynx Rufus, The "bobcat"[​IMG] bobcat".

    A "Pixie Bob" possibly beginning to nurse a weight problem: [​IMG]

    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good bite"..! :oops:

    Ho, Ho......(wait for it).....OUCH!!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015
    dividebyzero and Skidmarksdeluxe like this.
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I guess being Santa isn't all it's cracked up to be.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,003   +2,532

    Oh man! You've already outed Santa about the "wine breath". I don't see any further need to tarnish his reputation by bring the whole "crack" thing into the discussion.

    After all, even coke addicted fat men in loud red suits deserve a couple weeks of honest work a year.....:D

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