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AI Think 2019 event coverage Transformation Watson Watson Build series Worldwide

Fighting fire with Watson: Compta Emerging Business, SA wins the 2018 Watson Build Challenge

And then there was one.

After nine months and three phases of competition around the world by more than 400 IBM Business Partners with over 500 artificial intelligence (AI)–based solutions, Compta Emerging Business, SA, is the global winner of the 2018 Watson Build Challenge.

Based in Portugal, Compta demonstrated a solution built on IBM Watson that provides early detection of fires in forests and industries to alert fire fighters as quickly as five minutes from ignition. The solution, called Bee2FireDetection, can also recommend measures to address the developing situation, such as where to place fire barriers.

We’re proud of all the participants in this year’s challenge—they did an incredible job. And of course, I am especially proud that the global champion is from Europe, where we are seeing IBM Business Partners deliver extraordinarily creative solutions for their clients.

A strategic path to innovation

Compta made a strategic decision in 2010 to transition from a systems integrator and IT services company to a “solutions and product company” focused on wildfires, smart cities and Industry 4.0. During the last eight years, Compta has successfully delivered products and solutions to end customers, innovated with new functionality, made that functionality available from the cloud and explored new technologies to make their company and solutions more agile and efficient.

In a short video made at IBM PartnerWorld at Think 2019, where the global winner of the challenge was announced, Vasco Correia, Director of International Business at Compta (pictured above, center), described the impact of the solution as an example of good technology coming together with greater thinkers to make a difference.

“It’s Compta’s strategy to create local ecosystems around the solution and collaborate with local IBM partners to ensure delivery is fully covered and locally supported,” says Correia. “Combining this award recognition with the recently announced IBM Partner Ecosystem and Business Partner Connect will be a significant help.”

An impressive showing by all

Designed to spark the development of innovative AI solutions, the seven geography champions in the 2018 Watson Build Challenge demonstrated how vital AI is for both business and society.

Solutions included the use of Watson to personalize educational experiences, prevent air pollution and improve health conditions, and aid first responders in emergency situations.

During the application phase of the challenge, more than 250 solutions from all over Europe were submitted, 155 prototypes were built and 32 solutions from 15 countries were cleared for the final phase—an impressive showing! Based on the innovation shown in the Watson Build Challenge, IBM Business Partners are actively creating solutions using IBM technology to offer new value and new opportunities to their clients.

Thank you once again to every IBM Business Partner who participated in this year’s challenge, and congratulations to Compta!

Ronald Velten, RM
Marketing Director, Partner Ecosystem, IBM Europe

Ronald Velten is Marketing Director, Partner Ecosystem for IBM Europe, and is responsible for developing and implementing the business and marketing strategy for the IBM ecosystem and channels across the EU. Previously, he held different local and international marketing leadership roles at IBM, of which the most recent was European Marketing & Communications Director for Global Technology Services. In addition to his work for IBM, he is co-founder of the CMO-network 'Marketing Transformation Forum', board member of the Esprix, Jury member for the Dutch Marketing Awards and former board member and founder of the B2B Expertise platform of the Dutch marketing association (NIMA).

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