US tech giant IBM today outlined how it wants more startups and entrepreneurs to build cloud-based apps on its big data platform, Watson. 

IBM believes that Watson represents a new era of computing in which apps and systems interact with human users more naturally than before. 

The firm claims that developers can create apps on Watson that are able to learn-as-they-go, improving the end-user experience.

Speaking at the Web Summit conference in Dublin today, IBM’s Paul Chong, head of Watson in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, described the Watson Development Platform as the perfect place for entrepreneurs and startups to engage with IBM. 

Commenting on the variety of startups that are already building Watson-based apps, he told Techworld: “We have a veterinary business partner in Canada who is using Watson to get better insights into people’s pets, all the way through to an app providing information to physicians around multiple sclerosis.”

In total, IBM has officially announced of the 11 startups building apps on the Watson Development Platform. These "ecosystem partners" include companies such as: hotel booking app WayBlazer, being led by chairman, Terry Jones; UK-based mobile company Red Ant, which helps retailers like Three to identify buying preferences; and IT help desk provider, Chips Technology Group.

"I think the ecosystem partners are finding really innovative ways to actually find really specific use cases and that’s making a big difference to us in terms of how Watson is being adopted,” said Chong.

IBM is investing more than $1 billion (£600 million) in the Watson Group. That includes $100 million (£60 million) for direct investment to support IBM’s ecosystem of startups and businesses building cognitive apps around Watson.