Canada-based Connected Lab, the connected software developer, announced on May 9 that it will host a smart device hackathon from June 3 to June 5 at its headquarters in Downtown Toronto. The event, which costs $10 to register, will allow developers to utilize the conversational interfaces on the IMB Watson IoT platform to create chat bots. 

"People are excited about chat bots because they see the potential to interact with technology using conversational language," said Damian McCabe, VP of Engineering at Connected Lab. "As an IBM alumni, I'm excited about the potential of the IBM Watson's cognitive capabilities including natural language processing and machine learning. At the hackathon, developers will use this powerful platform to build more human ways for people to use innovative technology.

The IBM Watson IoT platform uses cognitive sciences, including natural language processing and machine learning, to provide insights into "dark" data. Dark data is considered to be information collected by businesses that are processed and stored, but not necessarily used for other purposes.

In addition to providing natural language processing and machine learning, the IBM Watson IoT platform offers video and image analytics, as well as text analytics. Furthermore, it can provide this data in real-time to users.

"People will always use a few standalone apps," McCabe continued, in reference to the platform. "But a lot of information and services can be more easily accessed through a conversational interface rather than hundreds of app icons on your home screen."

During Connected Lab's hackathon, developers will be encouraged to use the IBM Watson IoT platform to create cognitive APIs and smart devices like chat bots. The official theme of the event is "Conversational Interfaces and Smart Devices."

As of January 2016, more than 500 partners and 80,000 developers have been working on the IBM platform. Some of the companies involved include Medtronic, Whirlpool, Softbank and Under Armour. Medtronic, for instance, is working with IBM to create a diabetes management app. Whirlpool is looking into developing smart appliances for residential households.

Within the next two years, 76 percent of manufacturers are expected to increase the use of smart devices or embedded intelligence. IBM is looking to help experts in this industry with its platform.

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