We get asked a lot of questions about how to start building with Watson, so we decided to compile our top 4 Frequently Asked Questions. You can use this as a guide to learn more about the technology, receive inspiration from use cases, get valuable resources, and ultimately begin building with the technology.

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1. What is Watson?
Cognitive technology’s strength lies in its ability to draw insights from unstructured data sets. Structured data is found in a spreadsheet, whereas unstructured data is text such as tweets, medical journals, etc. Today 80% of data is unstructured, so tools such as cognitive computing are becoming more important in helping humans understand what’s inside that data. Cognitive computing does this by becoming an expert in a specific industry with continuous learning through human supervision. In that sense, these systems become our best counterpart, by scaling our expertise with the ability to make better and more accurate decisions. 


2. What can I do with Watson?
Today, Watson is helping companies and developers quickly parse through unstructured data to gain unique insights. These insights allow companies to make faster and more confident decisions, enabling them quickly solve their most pressing problems. We have broken up Watson into a suite of APIs that make building with Watson easy. Now developers can build their own cognitive application in a matter of minutes instead of months. 

Here are some examples of how 3 companies are leveraging Watson’s capabilities today:

Personal Shopper: Fluid’s Watson-Powered XPS solution is bringing personalized shopping to your fingertips. XPS helps customers quickly discover relevant clothing items based on their responses to a series of questions. Premier active-wear retailer, The North Face is using XPS to provide clothing recommendations to customers. 
API used: Natural Language Classifier


Fantasy Football: Edge Up Sports helps users gather timely information on players to help them create quick and competitive fantasy football rosters. The information could include insights on players behavior from their social channels, statistics on coaches, or articles from leading sport experts. By understanding analyst opinions, mental insights, physical resilience, and situational factors like turf and weather, users can see overall scores that let them know their rosters’ health anytime and anywhere. 
API used: Sentiment Analysis, Data News, Personality Insights


Marketing: Stat Social is leveraging Watson’s personality insights capabilities to help brands understand, segment, and target their audiences on the web. They do this by automatically analyzing social and blog content to identify the personality types, values, and needs of hundreds of millions of consumers. This allows brands to understand their consumers at a holistic level, uncovering new and unique insights in their target audience. 
API used: Personality Insights

3. What technical resources do you recommend?
Here are 6 hand-picked resources to get you started with building your very own Watson-powered product:
User Guide: A quick overview of the Watson APIs
Tutorial: A step-by-step guide to creating your first Watson API application
• Code Examples: Get demos and inspiration for your Watson app
• Troubleshooting: Connect with our community on Stack Overflow and Slack to get your technical questions answered

4. How do I get started?
It is easy!
Think of Watson cognitive services as building blocks that developers can use to create a new solution or build onto an existing application. Each block has its own unique capability, but all of them act as cognitive catalysts that pull new and fascinating insights from existing data. Developers today can build with their own cognitive building blocks on Bluemix.

Start building by signing up for your free trial on BlueMix.

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