Cognitive computing

China’s pursuit of cognitive innovation

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How do you increase business competitiveness and better connect with customers? How do you minimize the side effects of rapid growth—without stalling growth? These issues can be found throughout the world, and some of the questions they raise are being answered in China. From air quality to transportation services, government and businesses in China are accelerating insights with IT infrastructure designed for performing complex analytics on big data.

In my role at the IBM Greater China Group, I’ve had a firsthand look at how innovation spurred by the cognitive era is transforming companies across multiple industries and positioning IT leaders as architects of the future.

Managing air quality

IBM’s Green Horizons initiative in China supports industry, utilities and city-level governments on air-quality management. IBM partnered with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to deploy cognitive climate modeling that generates visual mapping of pollutant dispersion for forecasts 72 hours in advance with highly accurate predictions.

IBM cognitive solutions analyze and learn from streams of real-time data generated by air-quality monitoring stations, meteorological satellites, optical sensors and the Internet of Things. By applying supercomputing processing power, scientists from IBM and the Beijing government can create visual maps that show the source and dispersion of pollutants across Beijing with street-scale resolution.

Accelerating transportation

China is pursing innovation with cognitive technologies in other ways as well, with an increasing numbers of business applications leveraging capabilities such as natural-language processing, prediction capability and machine learning.

For example, in Sichuan province, the area’s largest shuttle bus transportation hub operation, Dangdai Transport Industry Group, now has an IT infrastructure based on IBM LinuxONE. The Huaxia Express solution delivers a ticketing solution and gathers real-time information about passenger purchasing habits to help deliver a highly personalized customer experience and new service offerings. I recently spoke with Hauxia Express CEO Dr. Shuang Chen to discuss how the power of these cognitive technologies is transforming the transportation industry’s complex data into actionable insights that drive business revenue. These insights are also creating new opportunities to better serve China’s mobile customers.

Identifying what it takes for transformation

The Chinese government is also heavily promoting Internet Plus, China’s version of digital transformation, as a way for businesses to create more value, cross over to the cognitive era and ultimately increase their competitiveness. The IBM Greater China Group is helping business come up with transformative solutions. We identify three elements as essential for cognitive business:

  • Securely connecting business systems and data to cloud: The IBM hybrid cloud solution allows an organization to house systems of record in a private cloud, and also to have a scalable off-premises environment to handle dynamic workloads. IBM Power Systems and IBM z Systems offer extreme processing power for big data analytics and insights in real time.
  • Data-centric design to help tame the explosion of data: In a traditional system, companies may have terabytes of data, but in the cognitive era they have petabytes—and they also have more data types than ever. Businesses need the ability to leverage big data from all sources and process that data at higher speed and with better insights.
  • Cognitive algorithms that can understand, reason and learn from data: Examples include predicting sales results, comparing results to actual performance as data comes in and automatically updating the predictive model to make it smarter. Cognitive applications could embrace natural language processing or dialogue attributes that allows interaction with human in more natural ways.

Transforming big data into a competitive advantage has never been easier.

If you’re unsure if your IT infrastructure can compete in the cognitive era, find out with the IT Infrastructure Readiness Assessment and learn more about IBM Systems cognitive innovation here.

Distinguished Engineer, Systems Hardware, IBM Greater China Group

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