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IBM, Citi aiming to use Watson to improve customer service

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Citi has called upon IBM and its Watson technology with the hopes of finding new solutions for improving customer banking and service.

IBM and Citi have inked a deal to explore possibilities for integrating IBM's Watson technology with consumer banking solutions.

Basically, the two enterprises will research how Watson's content analysis and evidence-based learning abilities can improve customer transactions and simplify the overall banking service -- certainly two things that all financial customers would like to see happen.

For reference, Watson is a computer system than can understand natural language and deliver precise answers, even in regards to complex and data-sensitive industries. (You also might have seen Watson play -- and win -- on Jeopardy.)

Right now, IBM and Citi posit that Watson has the potential to analyze customer needs while processing large amounts of real-time analytics about financial, product and customer data.

Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM Software Solutions, explained in prepared remarks about just how Watson could make a difference in financial services.

IBM continues to advance Watson in information intensive industries, enabling organizations to quickly gain valuable insights from vast amounts of data that can speed decision making and improve how companies serve their customers. The collaboration between IBM and Citi will explore how applying Watson in the consumer financial market could help empower financial professionals to make better business decisions and represents a significant step in delivering on the promise of personalized banking in the 21st century.

Citi is the second major client that been drawn to IBM's Watson platform. Watson is already being put to use to search for advanced healthcare solutions with WellPoint.

IBM is predicting interest to pick up quickly with the estimation that this area will grow to $16 billion in business analytics and optimization revenue by 2015.

This post was originally published on ZDNet's Between the Lines blog.

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Rachel King

Rachel King is a staff writer for ZDNet. Previously she worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in San Francisco.