The Internet of Things in the Cognitive Era

General Manager, Internet of Things, IBM

The Internet of Things (IoT), once merely an idea, has made the leap from conceptual to actual. Indeed, what once was merely a possibility is quickly becoming something we take for granted.

Analysts project IoT data to yield insights driving potential economic value of as much as $11 trillion by 2025. What’s more, they estimate that business-to-business (B2B) users can generate nearly 70 percent of the potential value of the Internet of Things, in large part through operational efficiency gains made possible by initiatives such as smart factories and connected supply chains. The Internet of Things enables informed decisions and, when appropriate, automated actions; the benefits of these can be passed through to consumers, enabling smart healthcare, intuitive vehicles with safety features and connected, personalized homes.

Discover the cognitive Internet of Things

Today’s 9 billion connected devices are only the beginning; estimates of how many devices will be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020 range from 20 billion to 200 billion. Those paying attention to the IoT space have heard these claims already, but let’s stop for a moment to consider the effect of more than 100 billion connected devices. Such a massive amount of information from sensors and devices could be used to enhance existing data and knowledge, uncovering insights capable of transforming industries. But although making sense out of dark data and edge data is paving our way to revolutionary ideas and technologies, it requires a new approach.

The cognitive IoT is just such an approach—a way of deciphering IoT data that can effectively handle increasingly large inputs while generating meaningful output. Intended as a powerful, sophisticated way of handling massive amounts of complex IoT data, cognitive IoT is an unprecedented opportunity to exploit this modern resource. Indeed, cognitive businesses confer a kind of thinking ability on objects, products, processes and services—and the Internet of Things is integral to their ability to do so.

Harness the power of the Internet of Things

Cognitive systems can bring organizations a newly prescient understanding of the Internet of Things. Programmable systems, by contrast, thrive on prescribed scenarios using predictable data, and their rigidity can limit their usefulness when addressing the ambiguity and uncertainty of IoT data. Over time, such systems can no longer handle the sheer scale, diversity and complexity of IoT data. Cognitive systems, however, are not explicitly programmed. Rather, they learn from interactions with people and from experiences with their environment. In doing so, they become able to keep pace with the complexity of the Internet of things, identifying data correlations that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Cognitive IoT can push the Internet of Things—and the value that your enterprise can potentially gain from it—to ever heightened levels. Harnessing the power of the Internet of Things to make it work for your business involves three core components:

  • Start simple, using a secure, scalable, open platform
    • Connect devices in ways that allow seamless scaling to millions of devices around the world.
    • Integrate privacy and security into your IoT devices and IoT environment.
    • Use advanced analytics to uncover actionable insights from IoT data.
  • Solve business problems using expertise, applications and solutions
    • Design connected products that transform your customers’ experiences by enabling continuous learning and constant adaptation.
    • Boost operational efficiency by putting the Internet of Things to work across your enterprise and supply chain.
  • Build your cognitive strategy
    • Bring your data sources together, using cognitive computing to uncover relationships among them.
    • Define your disruptive business model.
    • Combine IoT data, unstructured dark data and enterprise data into your cognitive systems’ corpus of knowledge.
    • Use the Internet of Things to act on the recommendations your cognitive systems generate, both in the cloud and at the edge.

The cognitive Internet of Things is a truly transformative opportunity, combining the power of cognitive computing with a wealth of IoT data to change how both enterprises and the world operate. If you’re just dipping your toes in the water, IBM is here to help you get started. To learn more about the possibilities of the cognitive Internet of Things, check out the press release, then explore how IBM can help you embark on your cognitive IoT journey.