IBM boosts BlueMix and Watson Analytics with Twitter integration

IBM has strengthened its partnership with Twitter by integrating Twitter data into two of its analytics platforms in a bid to improve the level of insight developers and entrepreneurs get from their applications.

From today, developers will be able to access Twitter data inside IBM BlueMix, which is the company's cloud based developer environment where people can access services and combine them together into applications.

"Twitter is now fully available as one of those services so if you have a desire to build an application that integrates and works around Twitter data you can now do that in a very contemporary environment," IBM general manager for analytics, Alistair Rennie, told Techworld ahead of today's announcement.

BlueMix can be used to build applications for mobile and desktop, said Rennie, before pointing to a financial institution that built a Twitter-integrated app on IBM's platform that allows traders to follow companies they're working with, see trends and get news summaries and digests.

The other product that IBM has integrated with Twitter is Watson Analytics, which is designed to be an easy-to-use analytics tool that can be used to create visualisations.

IBM said Watson Analytics now gives developers the ability to immediately pull Twitter data into any project in order to identify and explain hidden patterns and relationships that can be used to help understand why things happen and what's likely to happen.

"The Twitter data is available as part of that service so if I wanted to, for example, understand the relationship between a hashtag on pizza, burgers or tofu, I can go into the service, enter the hashtag and specify a date range," said Rennie. "We [IBM] go out, gather information and essentially calculate what is the sentiment against those tags, what is the split by location, by gender, by retweets, and put it into a format whereby you can immediately do visualisation."

IBM and Twitter first announced their partnership in October 2014 but today's move suggests the pair are keen to develop it further.

At the time, Twitter gave IBM access to its data, official rights to consult businesses on how best to use Twitter to gain insight and the ability to integrate Twitter data into IBM cloud-based developer tools.

There are now over 500 million Tweets a day being posted on Twitter. IBM claims it can help businesses separate the signal from the noise by enriching and analysing Twitter data in combination with millions of data points from other streams of public and business data - such as weather forecasts, sales information and product inventory stats.

"So much of business decision making relies on internal data such as sales, promotion and inventory. Now with Twitter data, customer feedback can easily be incorporated into decision making," said Chris Moody, VP of data strategy at Twitter. "IBM's unique capabilities can help businesses leverage this valuable data, and we expect to see rapid demand in retail, telecommunications, finance and more."

Will McInnes, CMO of Brandwatch said it will be interesting to see where IBM goes knocking next for social data.

"Twitter is a significant piece of the puzzle, but what about Facebook, Chinese social networks, private social networks like Snapchat and of course the latest to emerge, Meerkat Social media is so dynamic that it requires constant attention."


Sam Shead

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