IBM launches Watson Works to ease return-to-work worries

The software will use real-time data to help companies manage facilities and optimise space allocation. 


Workplace re-entry is a source of much anxiety for companies now considering the many rules and regulations that need to be in place to provide a safe and secure work environment for the employees. A company needs to be aware of who is coming into the office, when and for how long. To deal with this in a simple manner, IBM has announced Watson Works, a curated set of products driven by artificial intelligence (AI) models and applications to help companies navigate this phase with ease.  

Watson Works provides companies with a safer and highly effective return-to-workplace experience as the new global dynamics demand.  

At a time when companies have to deal with volumes of information from various sources, and the situation is fluid, IBM’s AI-based system is just the right solution. 

The software is capable of helping companies manage facilities and optimise space allocation by using inputs from real-time data provided by the employer, including WiFi, cameras, bluetooth beacons and mobile phones. This will allow managers to reallocate spaces, designate prohibited zones, monitor and ensure social distancing and arrange for a cleaning, all while maintaining absolute privacy.  

Employers will have access to real-time data, such as local infection rates, state and local regulations, voluntarily-shared employee test data as well as symptoms and household health risks for employees. Using this data, companies can identify the employees who can return to the workplace and also ascertain whether there is a need to shut down specific office sites.  

Employees, on the other hand, can find out what is the best time to come to office to avoid overcrowding and receive answers from their employers and HR departments on any relevant query they may have. This two-way communication is facilitated by the virtual agents and applications, which use Watson’s natural language processing capabilities.  

Another useful tool that Watson provides is that of contact tracing. Through voluntarily- provided employee data, employers can keep track of those who have tested positive and track the potentially-infected individuals they have come in contact with, and notify them.  

According to the chief technology officer of IBM India, Watson Works will allow organisations to use AI to their advantage, to reinvent their way of working, “adapt to the new normal and emerge smarter.”

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