Cognitive technologies like machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) certainly have proven to be an important part of the IoT (Internet of Things) sector because they can help make products and services smarter and, therefore, more valuable.

These technologies can also help support human workers and decisionmakers and, in general, improve business operations. For this column, I am going to take a closer look into these technologies, exploring the current adoption landscape and prospects for the future, as well as discuss their business value.

Some new research has come out that gives us some really interesting insight into the cognitive-tech landscape.

There are also some cool examples of how companies are leveraging machine learning and AI to create value for people’s lives and businesses, and I’ll share an example of that as well.

Here’s a little tidbit. Techopedia has a definition of cognitive technology. It says it is a field of computer science that mimics functions of the human brain through various means, including natural language processing, data mining, and pattern recognition.

It is sometimes used synonymously with the term “artificial intelligence.” I have to concur. Cognitive technology is actually a subset of AI. Cognitive technology, for instance, is at work behind your favorite streaming media service’s personalized user recommendations, as well as IBM’s Watson supercomputer.

Deloitte treats “cognitive technologies” as a sort of umbrella term that encompasses tech such as machine learning, RPA (robotic process automation), computer vision, national language processing, speech recognition, rules-based systems, deep learning, and physical robots.

A research study by Deloitte provides some really great insight into cognitive and AI. First, let’s take a look at what does the adoption landscape look like for cognitive tech?

  • 59% of Deloitte’s respondents are exploring RPA
  • 58% are using statistical machine learning
  • 53% are using natural language processing or generation
  • 49% are using expert or rule-based systems
  • 34% are using deep-learning neural networks, and
  • 32% are using physical robots

Investment is still pretty strong across the companies surveyed, with 25% investing $5-10 million, 25% investing $1-5 million, and 25% investing $500,000-1 million. What’s more, 12% even reported investing $10 million or more.

One key takeaway after reading this research is that there are some really clear early-phase signals that businesses are seeing the true business value of cognitive-tech adoption. And as such, they are planning to act on it, if they are not already.

For instance, 76% of Deloitte’s respondents say they expect cognitive technology to “substantially transform” their companies in just three years or less. Additionally, 16% even say they expect to see the cognitive advantage immediately, while 20% say they expect to see it materialize within one year after adoption.

In fact, 83% of respondents say their work so fair with cognitive technologies is already paying off, and they are achieving substantial or moderate benefits. Interestingly, only 9% say they believe the tech is overhyped.

The research also demonstrates that the more deployments a company has, the more benefits it reports. This leads me to ask a very important question then; what kind of benefits are we talking about?

The business value of cognitive goes beyond cutting costs. The top-ranked benefit cited in this research was the ability to enhance the features, functions, and/or performance of products.

Other high-ranking benefits for cognitive-technology adoption include: the ability to support better decisionmaking, the ability to create new products, and the ability to optimize internal business operations.

Actually, almost every respondent (92%) say cognitive technology is an important aspect of their companies’ internal business processes. Looking forward, 89% foresee it playing a larger role in shaping company strategy.

Let’s look at a business that is leveraging cognitive technology to create valuable products or services. GrubEasy is an intelligent platform for the modern cook that was founded by a young woman who saw a problem and thought machine learning could address it.

It leverages cognitive technology to learn what users like and recommend recipes and food products based on their preferences. It also takes any dietary restrictions users may have into consideration.

The platform is bringing value to the table for its customers, and it’s constantly getting smarter. That’s the value of cognitive technology and AI. These are truly exciting times for customers and developers alike.

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