How innovative organizations are using cognitive technology to disrupt markets

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Republished from the Watson Blog

According to a recent study conducted by IBM, 54% of CxOs expect more competition from outside their industry. That means, the challenger who today isn’t even a blip on the radar, could tomorrow be a significant disruptor in the market. For technology leaders in the C-suite, neutralizing that possibility means embracing a relentless focus on disruption – before they’re disrupted themselves.

That’s not always an easy proposition, however. Limited agility, over-reliance on outdated traditional operating models, and lack of insights into customers and prospects are all barriers to innovation and factors that can increase risk of disruption by an outside-the-industry competitor.

One solution to these challenges is emerging: cognitive computing. Unlike traditional computing platforms, cognitive systems like Watson can understand, reason and learn. Cognitive systems can help organizations turn digital intelligence into competitive advantage by interpreting data that’s unstructured or sensory in context and meaning, very quickly and at high volume.

Cognitive systems can form hypotheses, make considered arguments and prioritize recommendations

Cognitive systems can form hypotheses, make considered arguments and prioritize recommendations to help business leaders make better decisions. In addition, these systems can understand and communicate with users through natural language, ingesting data and accumulating insight as they go.

Watson users solve problems and accomplish feats that simply aren’t possible through traditional techniques. “What happens when you put this technology to use is the role of technology changes,” stated Manish Goyal, Head of Product Management, IBM Watson Developer Cloud, at IBM InterConnect 2016, the premier cloud and mobile conference. “Technology changes from being an enabler, to an advisor.”


IBM makes it easy to put this technology to work in organizations of all kinds and sizes. With IBM Watson APIs , any developer – not just data scientists – can create a cognitive-powered application from scratch or embed cognitive capabilities within existing solutions.

Here are just a few organizations using these technologies to disrupt their markets:

  • Elemental Path. With a vision toward changing the way children learn, Elemental Path built the first Wi-Fi-enabled toy that holds conversations with kids—responding to questions with developmentally appropriate content. Over time, the toy evolves to take on a unique personality based on a child’s interactions, helping him/her develop language and mathematics skills.
  • ROSS Intelligence. Taking on the venerable institution of legal research, ROSS Intelligence changes the way lawyers find information, by answering natural-language queries with citations and recommended reading, monitoring law developments 24×7, and alerting researchers to relevant changes.
  • Baylor College of Medicine. Medical research has historically been slow to yield discoveries of new and effective treatments for disease. Using Watson, Baylor identified 7 targets for a specific oncology use in a matter of months – when it typically takes the industry as a whole a year to identify a single target.

From healthcare to legal research to education and beyond, markets are being disrupted at a rapid pace. The question is no longer whether disruption will affect a market, but when and by whom. The companies that successfully navigate disruption will be the ones leading it.

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