IBM’s Watson Is Blazing a Travel-Planning Trail

By Matt Swenson, January 4, 2015

You might remember Watson, the IBM computer that rose to prominence after beating “Jeopardy!” champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in a series of episodes in 2011. Now Watson is getting into the travel business. A company called WayBlazer will incorporate the abilities of IBM’s Watson computer in an attempt to simplify the travel planning process. WayBlazer is a venture led by Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity and founding chairman of Kayak, and Manoj Saxena, former general manager of the IBM Watson Group.

“Online trip planning has been a complex and time-consuming chore lacking a way to connect, organize and personalize data,” says Jones. “WayBlazer makes sense of the information overload and presents it to consumers as a personal travel concierge.”

WayBlazer has already formed a partnership with the Austin (Texas) CVB. The ACVB will use the technology across its online channels in an effort to provide travelers with relevant information during the planning process.

“Austin has long been home to technology companies, startups and innovators, and with technology changing the way we travel, the Austin CVB is pleased to partner with Austin-based WayBlazer to bring this exciting travel tool to the marketplace,” said Bob Lander, Austin CVB president and CEO. “This technology is a real competitive advantage for Austin, and the functionality and industry changing capabilities that WayBlazer delivers creates a trusted travel advisor for any traveler, or even locals, looking for something new.”

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