Cognitive 101: What You Need to Know About Cognitive Clouds

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Source: WOCinTech

Let’s travel 7 years back: my B2B multinational electronics manufacturer client’s goal is to satisfy their biggest client’s demand: increase product quality to 99.999% (if my client doesn’t comply they lose the business). Uff.

My team and I come in and put together a solution that enables quality assurance with my client. The complication is that my client’s team is spread around the world (to give you an idea, they have engineers in Asia and manufacturing in Latin America). We need a global quality assurance solution. We come up with a workaround and my team finalizes on a solution that runs on my client’s intranet and uses analytics software to detect product quality. Product quality improves and my client kept its biggest client! My team saved my client, sure, but today we could put together a stronger and better solution for my client with the cognitive cloud (and Internet of Things).

Imagine this: my client puts their production cycle on a cognitive cloud that has the smarts to follow my client’s product end-to-end process (from before the product is designed to when my client’s product lands on their customer’s front door). This cognitive cloud is global, working 24-hours a day, managing different work streams — engineering, manufacturing, etc. This cloud is able to pick up data, learn, and react. It notices patterns and flags when things are going wrong and has the ability to act on your behalf. This is where IoT comes in. The supply chain has smart sensors, it’s an IoT supply chain system, that communicates data to the cognitive cloud. Working together, anytime quality is compromised at the assembly line, the cognitive cloud becomes aware and flags it to my client’s prospective teams. They can then address the quality issue immediately — if they haven’t already taught the cognitive cloud to do so already.

Boom! Cognitive Cloud! The process to achieve the highest levels of quality assurance at a global electronics manufacturer is now addressed in a way that is thorough, connected, effective, and in live-time. Image how much better the CEO could sleep at night!

The enterprise world is picking up on what a cognitive cloud can do across the board.

An IBM study shows that leading enterprises are embracing the hybrid cloud (a mix of on-prem, private and public cloud) and leveraging it as a launching pad for next-gen initiatives like cognitive computing (and IoT) to get ahead with their digital transformational challenges and goals. 85% of leaders said their hybrid cloud drives more collaboration between the IT team and their line of business units; and that over 75% said hybrid cloud is helping them advance business automation. It’s easy to see that cognitive cloud applications are great for business optimization and the bottom line!

Use cases of cognitive cloud are popping up left and right.

Be it B2B or B2C enterprises, cognitive cloud can, does, and will change the way we live, work, and solve problems. Let’s get you excited about it. I share cognitive cloud use cases below.

Life: Getting Groceries

Imagine this: You have a grocery shopping assistant. We’ll call him Tom. He keeps track of your eating preferences, your health (knows you’re a diabetic), your refrigerator, and your cupboard. Tom checks your calendar and makes sure you’re only getting the amount you need for when you’re at home (versus traveling for work) and, also chooses, based on the weather. He takes into account that you mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that you love avocados. Tom also sees that it will be raining next week, so he puts soup on the shopping list. Then Tom orders, keeping to the budget you set for him, and delivers your food to your doorstep. He also sends over a list of recipes so you know what to do with what he’s bought. Perfect timing — you’ve just arrived home from your business trip. Tom is thorough and super helpful, right?

Let me blow your mind. This can all be done with computer systems! What?! We’re talking about cognitive solutions that marry a digital world with digital intelligence all on the cloud platforms. That’s right: cognitive computing’s possibilities expand astronomically with the cloud. Making it easy to manage your health and even save time.

Today, IBM Watson Health is working with the American Diabetes Association to help manage diabetes using cognitive cloud (are you listening health enterprises?). And IBM Chef Watson helps “cook, discover and create original, totally unique receipts with the help of flavor compound algorithms” (hello grocers, restaurants, and agriculture industry!). For more on IBM Chef Watson, see the video below.

Just think of how you can use cognitive cloud to get the edge on your competition — a super differentiator.

Work: Marketing / Sales

Now let’s imagine you’re a retailer and you want to reach your customers (and attract new customers) by leveraging social media — because you hear that’s what all the cool successful enterprises are doing. Know how to do it? You do it by leveraging the cognitive cloud.

That’s right. Think about it. Social media platforms are in the cloud — a cloud that holds a ton of data that you can use. But let’s take this one step at a time. So, first, you make sure you have data on your customers (and potential customers) from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter; then you use cognitive computing to find insight into what makes most sense to customize and target your customer outreach for optimal conversions (purchases).

Cognitive computing gives you suggestions on possible campaigns, taking into consideration factors such as emotional sentiment, personal preferences, and more. You take action and Boom! You win at business and gain more customers, likes, shares, followers!

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 85% of enterprises today are using the cloud to reach their customers in ways not too different from the example above.

Solve Problems: Flight Security

Imagine you’re taking a flight for that vacation to Bora Bora that you’ve been dreaming of your whole life. You’re in your seat with access to wifi (and in the clouds — figuratively and literally). The plane takes off. A terrorist decides to disrupt mobility of the plane and upload a virus! Scary stuff.

Well, you never know or hear about it because it’s taken care of for you and the rest of the plane.

The whole flight. You’re excited and imagining dipping your toes in the aquamarine waters by your Four Seasons beach bungalow. Nice.

You get a stress free flight because — guess — yup, a cognitive security cloud came to the rescue. It identified the terrorist threat, blocked, and dealt with it.

Ready for a cognitive cloud? Have more questions? You may want to connect with companies already using cognitive clouds. Perhaps reach out to Gigster (they’re tapping into the cognitive cloud applications market right now); or call up Wimbledon (they’re working on a cognitive cloud solution that brings their fan experience to the next level)!

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 28, 2016.

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