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IBM and Indiegogo are bringing Watson's smarts to the masses

The new partnership gives entrepreneurs unlimited access to IBM's AI.
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Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

IBM sees a big future in the Internet of Things. The company unveiled its $200 million IoT headquarters in Munich this week as part of its planned $3 billion investment in the connected devices industry. So far, however, the tech behemoth has mostly lent Watson's brains to larger companies and research projects. That's about to change thanks to a new partnership from IBM, Indiegogo and Arrow Electronics that promises to give independent developers and entrepreneurs access to those same machine learning tools.

According to IBM, any qualified Indiegogo project will have free access to the Watson IoT platform and cloud services for an unlimited amount of time. That means developers can take advantage of more than 160 off-the-shelf services like AI, Blockchain, advanced analytics and cyber security while saving countless dollars and development hours in the process. Indiegogo entrepreneurs will also have access to IBM's network of experts, mentors and business partners.

The Watson partnership also expands on Arrow's existing "Arrow Certified" program which helps make Indiegogo projects become reality much faster by offering up to $500,000 in benefits ranging from raw parts and materials to financing support. So far, IBM and Arrow's support has already helped bring at least one well-received Indiegogo product to market: Fitly's food-sensing Smart Plate.

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