Cognitive Computing: An Essential Part of Every Smart Home

Written by: Martin Kienzle

Today, the Internet of Things is making the promise of a “smart home” a reality, as sensors and actuators are increasingly integrated into devices and appliances in the home, from door locks to kitchen appliances, and beyond. The signals from these sensors provide rich data that helps us establish and monitor a home’s baseline context and better understand the needs of consumers; ultimately, this allows us to create more personalized services for the users of connected devices. However, pure data from the Internet of Things is rarely enough to yield the type of personalized “smart home” experience for which many users are looking. Instead, we need complex modeling processes to avoid cognitive overload and to extract valuable insights from the infinite amounts of data created by the Internet of Things.cognitive-computing-smart-home

The key to overcoming this cognitive overload is cognitive computing

Human cognitive processes can be described as a sequence of observing, understanding, reasoning, and acting, and by repeating this cycle, humans learn. This cognitive process is often referred to as understand, reason, and learn (URL). Cognitive computer systems are taught to replicate this cycle of URL to learn at scale, reason with purpose, and interact with humans naturally. Rather than being explicitly programmed, they learn and reason from their interactions with us and from their experiences with their environment. This capability allows cognitive computers to complement human capabilities to increase the speed and accuracy of data analysis.

Working with humans, who excel at setting high-level objectives, applying value judgements and trade-offs, and applying creativity and intuition to problem-solving, cognitive computers can help ingest, curate, and manage huge data volumes, process these data volumes at speed, conquer computational complexity, and evaluate many options quickly.  In smart homes, and with all connected devices, this is key to fully extracting the value of the data we are creating, and to leverage these insights for a richer user experience. In short, we will only be able to fully realize the value of data produced by connected devices and smart homes through cognitive computing.

IBM at CES 2017: smart homes in a cognitive era

CES 2017 is a truly great opportunity to experience cognitive technology and learn more about smart homes. Let’s meet and discuss at the IBM Client Center! For more info, please visit
IBM at CES 2017

Stay tuned for my next blog, which shares how the cognitive smart home will aid an aging society.

Electronics Industry Leader, Member IBM Industry Academy IBM Research

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