DSA was privileged to interview Jason Jameson Director of Watson Internet of Things, Asia Pacific while he was at the IBM Connect Executive Xchange held from 14 – 15 March 2017 in Singapore. He is responsible for helping clients leverage IBM’s deep capabilities across Asset Management, Continuous Engineering, Predictive Maintenance & Quality and IoT Platform & Solutions. Prior to which he was the executive responsible for IBM’s PureSystems & Competitive Sales for Growth Markets.
“We are going to see an increasing degree of connectivity in the next few years in terms of people and devices. We are not going to just be connected to our computers and mobile phones, but other devices as well that can locate us and provide us with better services”. He said this to a question on what IBM sees for development in IoT within the ASEAN region.
The idea is that by allowing companies to detect location and time of where clients are, they will get better insights to serve them. Sensors located at public places such as malls and petrol stations that track buyer spending patterns, will get insights into what the customers are interested in and how to position products to better suite their needs.
This cognitive approach approach extends further with the introduction of chat bots. Natural Language Processing, or NLP is the link to how well these chat bots are able to pick up and understand human desires and wants.
“The more interaction we have with the AI, the smarter the cognitive system becomes. For example with Unified Inbox, you can simply say ‘boil the water’, and the cognitive system intuitively knows you’re talking about using a kettle to do the boiling. It will keep learning as long as we keep interacting with it”, he added.
“It is not just voice recognition, but understanding the context and linking to prior points of discussion to relate to what we are talking about right now”.
Jason brought up another example referencing a car manufacturer that is working on using cognitive AI as an in car assistant, which he says will make our lives simpler. “Cars are getting more complex. Not everyone knows how to save mp3 files onto a flash drive in their car. But by having the assistant, it will be so much easier to just tell it what to do and its done”.
Bandwidth is another area that’s going to be an important part of the growth of AI and IoT within the region. Jason feels that having the focus on improving connectivity that we are currently seeing in ASEAN countries right now, is critical to advancing the technology. He feels that the future lies in sensors that will be used to monitor real-time environments that coupled with a decent network to disseminate the information as and when needed will propel the region to the next level of cognitive immersion.
With IBM moving towards a Cloud and Cognitive IoT platform, he believes this will be an area that has immense potential for growth.
The IBM strategy is to focus on both cognitive and cloud. This is simply because the vast amounts of data being generated by IoT needs to be understood in context and that requires machine learning to make the interpretation at the speed the data is received. We don’t have enough data scientists to build enough data models to handle the massive growth in IoT data.”, he added.
Cognitive AI can be considered the best approach to democratising data and relinquishing a huge burden on a skills infrastructure currently impeding the growth cycle within the region. Is it an easy fix? It isn’t the be all and end all. Perhaps what is needed is a cooperative approach and a combination between skill based solutions and cognitive solutions to address a wider range of issues.