Cognitive 101: What you need to know about Cognitive and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Since the beginning of my career in business-tech solutions, keeping up with tech has been a priority, a necessity, and a challenge. Why? Because tech is always changing, being disrupted, and transforming.

I’ve often dreamt of the day when I can have a chip embedded in my brain — a chip that uploads all past knowledge and pushes in new content as it comes out (and also has incredible security so my brain doesn’t get high-jacked). Wouldn’t that be nice?

Imagine how much more smart, productive, witty, and successful you could seem (be).

Cognitive and the internet of things (IoT) — sensors, connected devices, and systems — can make my chip dream happen. And it can turn me, you, your team, and your enterprise into superhumans (who doesn’t want to be a superhuman?).

Can you tell me more about Cognitive IoT in the enterprise?

Yeah. Let me answer this question by industry.


IBM Watson Internet of Things Strategy Leader, Jiani Zhang, lists 3 ways cognitive and IoT transforms manufacturing. They are:

  1. Intelligent assets and equipment use connected sensors, analytics, and cognitive capabilities to sense, communicate and self-diagnose issues in order to optimize performance and reduce unnecessary downtime.
  2. Cognitive processes and operations analyze a variety of information from workflows, context, process, and environment to drive quality, enhance operations and decision-making.
  3. Smarter resources optimization combines various forms of data from individuals, location, usage, and expertise with cognitive insight to make better use of a company’s workforce or use of energy. Basically, as a manufacturer, you can better manage your end-to-end business leveraging cognitive IoT: you will know what’s happening at each point of the manufacturing process, you know to address issues, and so on… all in real time. This equals savings and profits! More on Cognitive IoT manufacturing here.

Hospitality (and homes)

Cognitive IoT can help: with home convenience and automation (e.g. integrated rooms, devices and services at home — think connected kitchens and living rooms); energy and cost management; improve resident health and wellness through sensors and alerts; improve security and more. More on Cognitive IoT homes here.


Cognitive IoT can help: optimize customer experience, improve operations (think asset, product and employee management), develop new business models, and more. More on Cognitive IoT retail here.

Automotive industry

Cognitive IoT can help: build in-vehicle services software; manage fleet operations, monitor driver behavior, and optimize planning; gain insight into your manufacturing and supply chain, as well as equipment performance (and streamline it); track, anticipate, and react to potential failures in real time; simplify maintenance, and more. More on Cognitive IoT automotive here.


Cognitive IoT can: help build the design and construction; drive building operations efficiency (e.g. facilities management); provide a financial management platform (e.g. manage building expenses in one view); improve occupant experience (e.g. safety and security through smart access controls); and more. More on Cognitive IoT buildings here.

Alright and so, how does cognitive IoT actually work?

I love General Manager of IBM Watson IoT, Harriet Green’s answer to this question.

Simply put, here’s what’s going on on the tech level:

  1. IoT consists of connected devices, sensors and systems (and there are billion of them — and billions of more to come)
  2. IoT is in the cloud (just like us, it needs the internet)
  3. IoT is producing a ton of data of all sorts (and it’s being put on the cloud) at a very fast (speed of light kind-of fast) pace
  4. Everyone wants to gain insight from data to make their businesses the best, most differentiated / valuable / profitable / successful / [fill in the blank]
  5. Traditional technology has limits on processing #3 and on getting insights for the people on #4. Cognitive tech gets it done.

Think about it this way: cognitive gives the user all the useful information gathered from IoT devices, sensors, and systems — enabling businesswomen (and men) to make more informed decisions.

How does cognitive IoT help me and my enterprise?

On the business people end, cognitive IoT:

  1. leverages deep human engagement, takes into consideration people, interactions, and relationships, when delivering insight
  2. extends expertise to knowledge workers
  3. provides you a wider and deeper breathe of understanding of what’s happening in your environment (or your customer set)
  4. delivers insights to improve processes and operations
  5. creates opportunities for exploration and discovery, by bringing forth analysis and insights that a knowledge worker may have not thought of before

Basically, cognitive IoT helps you and your enterprise become superhuman! (…and as you can see it’s not through displacement but through augmentation of human capabilities!). Nice!

“Cognitive 101” is an introductory series on the world of Cognitive Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Written by Lolita Taub and written for C-suite and Line-of-Business seeking to address business challenges and goals using the smartest tech.

Originally published at on September 21, 2016.

Written by

About investing in community-driven cos + supporting our underestimated founder/investor fam. GP @thecommunityvc Scout @lightspeedvp Frmly @backstage

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store