Cognitive Computing Takes Center Stage at World of Watson

Cognitive, innovation – October 27th, 2016

By Spencer Morris, SVP Data Science

Spencer was invited to speak at World of Watson about InMoment’s unique approach to utilizing Watson Technology to enrich and understand customer data. His presentation, “Do You Really Know Your Customers?” takes place Thursday, Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. in room South Pacific G at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.

Cognitive Innovation

In wandering amongst booths here at IBM’s World of Watson, the excitement is palpable: Excitement for what’s happening. Excited for what’s next. And excited by how all this new tech will literally change people’s lives.

Oddly, however, the most stirring quote I’ve seen wasn’t from any of the speakers or from the presentations this week—it was posted on a luggage retailer’s wall. It read “innovation is our obsession.” Not sure how a small luggage company is innovating, but congratulations to them; they care passionately about making a better product. The reason this quote resonated with me is because innovation is also an obsession of mine.

Innovation is disruptive and changes the “how” or the “why” in whatever it is we do. And at World of Watson, innovation can be summed up in one word: Cognitive. Cognitive computing is essentially the simulation of the human thought processes into a computerized model. The idea is to create automated models capable of solving problems and delivering insights without requiring human assistance. This is a hugely difficult endeavor, because cognitive requires self-learning systems that recognize patterns, mine large amounts of data using natural language processes, and implement machine learning algorithms—all to imitate the way the human brain works. 

The amazing thing about humans is how we interpret what cognitive really means to each one of us. A fashion designer, Marchesa, created a dress that “hears” the comments given to the wearer and changes colors depending on the comments’ sentiment. Staples is trying to make ordering even easier by simply pushing the easy button (literally)—you tell it what you need to buy or order and it does it for you. Pharmacy companies are looking to rid asthma patients of painful attacks. By analyzing the data the patient just blew into the respirator, and using weather, allergen, and others’ localized data, Watson can predict asthma attacks and let the person know to contact a doctor. The use cases are endless and we all benefit.


Marchesa created a dress that “hears” the sentiment spoken to the dress wearer to change colors

Cognitive: Why Now?

I couldn’t help but feel good as I made my way in and out of the presentations and displays. InMoment has been on the bleeding edge of cognitive since its earliest incarnations. Thanks to our team’s vision, we’ve already mastered advanced analytics, and cognitive computing is the next step in this evolution of understanding and interacting. We knew from our beginnings that unstructured data holds nearly limitless insights that allow businesses to steer toward a positive bottom line in mind with data directly given from customers. Customer Experience is now a business imperative, and analyzing any data stream with automated analysts that never sleep and work at herculean speeds will allow organizations to understand customers in a way that will keep them competitive.

How Will Cognitive Disrupt?

The disruption is already underway. There used to be a great deal of parity between insights providers. It is now very clear that insights providers who’ve mastered advanced analytics and are now embracing cognitive are delivering a fundamentally different value than those who aren’t. Cognitive computing is taking our company—and our clients—beyond measuring, giving us the ability to achieve real-time understanding, make in-the-moment adjustments, and create experiences that have a known, and most importantly, a positive impact on the bottom line. And it’s not reaching to say that tomorrow we’ll be working with brands to intelligently design entire customer journeys.

Putting Passion to Work

Innovation in cognitive computing is moving at lightning pace, and we’ll see many more advancements in the months to come. The power this brings to just the insights and analytics fields is staggering. The ability to monitor in real time for every possible problem, as well as every possible opportunity, is something I couldn’t even imagine five years ago. Integrating these analyses with any data set (financial, sales, marketing, etc.) will completely transform the way good businesses make decisions.   

At the World of Watson, cognitive innovation is their passion.  In my world, taking these tools and helping brands create phenomenal customer experiences, is mine. 

 RobotPepper, the cognitive robot