IBM has invested a lot of time and money into cognitive computing, and they believe that its infusion with IoT will provide customers with a differential advantage both now and in the future.

Speaking at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty called cognitive computing the “most disruptive, transformative trend in front of us”.

As companies digitised systems to maintain and increase their competitive advantage, Rometty said that IBM’s Watson platform could usher in an age of systems that don’t require programming, that “understand, reason and learn.”

To become successful in a cognitive IoT future, Rometty outlined two success factors:

  1. The right platform - “IoT is about real-time data, but what most people can’t do is, as a result of the immediate insights, take action – a platform allows you to do that.”
  2. New forms of data - Social media and weather data are playing an increasingly important role for business, and the increasing proliferation of video as a source of data, so mechanisms will be required to gather and process it as well.

Rometty also invited the CEOs from IBM partners Under Armour, Medtronic and SoftBank Robotics to discuss some of their initiatives that incorporate the Watson machine learning platform.

“I really assert that any IoT that differentiates you in the future will have to be cognitive,” Rometty said.

“Many would characterise [IBM] as a hardware, software and services company, and we are, but it’s no longer all that we do.

“What the IBM company is now is the cognitive solutions and cloud platform company, and the partnerships we are developing, the cognitive solutions we’re building and the platforms – it is with you and through you that we’ll reach not hundreds, but billions of individuals.”