Cognitive Computing

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Cognitive Computing

By Kevin Abele, IBM Corporation - 04/11/2016
Amid the ever-growing market of predictive analytics and new technologies in the consumer products (CP) industry, one capability — cognitive computing — is expected to be revolutionary. Cognitive systems could dramatically enhance the way CP companies engage consumers, improve innovation, and drive supply chain and procurement efficiencies — to name a few. 
 
Cognitive-based systems are able to digest and analyze large amounts of structured data, such as supply chain or sales information, and unstructured data, such as social media, weather, and text. Fundamentally, cognitive systems are different than ‘traditional’ systems in three ways — they understand through natural language or written word, they reason or understand the information but also its underlying concepts, and they learn by developing expertise over time. Cognitive capabilities allow enterprises to tap into expertise of top performers and accelerate the development of expertise in others.
 
CP executives familiar with the technology almost unanimously agree — 95 percent — that cognitive computing will play a disruptive role in the industry, and 75 percent believe it will critically impact the future of their organizations.
 
For example, Under Armour’s new UA Record™ app, combined with a Cognitive Coaching System, will serve as a personal health consultant, fitness trainer and assistant by providing athletes with timely, evidence-based coaching around their sleep, fitness, activity and nutritional habits and by benchmarking these habits against similar users. A future version of the app — powered by cognitive — could be the first system to assess and combine a variety of factors that affect health and fitness, spanning from physiological and behavioral data to environmental factors.
 
A second example is the IBM Watson Trend App. This is a consumer app, available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, that uses unstructured data to dissect the complex and changing preferences of shoppers by analyzing tens of millions of conversations about consumer products online, and presents the top trending products. What differentiates this app is it also reveals why these products are trending and provides foresights into where the trend is going — whether it will rise, fall or plateau in the weeks ahead. 
 
Other examples of cognitive in CP have included new recipe discovery, procurement, help desk, and guided commerce.
 
 The path forward for CP companies will incorporate a learning curve. At a high level, organizations with successful cognitive experiences have deployed this technology by clearly defining the value, adequately preparing a foundation and properly managing the change. Start by establishing the right opportunity, vision and value proposition with executive-level support.
 
To find out more about where the industry is headed with cognitive computing, read the latest IBM Institute for Business Value study here.
 
The cognitive journey ahead will be full of adventure — and lots of useful insights!