IBM Watson

IBM’s Watson obsesses over ‘cool’

IBM's Watson supercomputer (Image: IBM)

16 October 2015

Billy MacInnesAs a longstanding Bob Dylan fan, I was surprised to see him featuring in an advert for IBM Watson. On the whole, Dylan has always appeared fairly disinterested in technology over the years. Anyway, judging by the video, he seems to approach it all in good humour, replying “that’s fast” when IBM Watson tells him it can read 800 million pages per second.

The same goes for his “that sounds about right” when IBM Watson states its analysis of all of Dylan’s lyrics shows his “major themes are that time passes and love fades”. But given the huge number of articles and books written on the subject of Dylan’s lyrics over the years, I’d be slightly worried about Watson’s analytical powers judging by its pithy analysis of Dylan’s oeuvre.

Anyway, fresh from loading up on ‘cool’ by associating itself with Dylan, IBM has revealed some incredibly interesting analyses of its association with IT’s brand of ‘cool’, aka Apple.

For instance, did you know that IBM has 130,000 iOS and Mac devices at use within the company? Or that it’s deploying 1,900 Macs per week? Sounds like a lot. Of even more interest, however, is that all of those devices are supported by just 24 help desk staff members. That equates to close to 5,417 users per help desk staff member.

The figures were revealed by Fletcher Previn, vice president of Workplace-as-a-Service at IBM at the JAMF Nation User Conference in Minneapolis, as reported by AppleInsider. Previn added that only 5% of Mac users call IBM’s internal help desk for support compared to 40% of PC users.

In response to the frequent argument that Macs are more expensive than Windows systems, Previn claimed that IBM was getting a financial benefit over time by buying Macs. They required less management and set up than PCs, he said, and needed fewer people to support them.

In case anybody was still in any doubt, he added: “Every Mac that we buy is making and saving IBM money.”

That’s a bold statement (as well as a powerful endorsement), particularly coming from the company that created the PC.

As Bob might say (and you don’t need IBM Watson’s analytical powers to work this one out): “The times they are a-changin’.”

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