The Big Boys in tech are investing and putting considerable resources into the future of Cognitive Computing. Over $2 billion dollars in venture capital funds have been given to companies building cognitive computing products and services.

Presently, the Cognitive Computing landscape is dominated by large players like IBM, Microsoft, and Google. I am a fan of Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, who is one of the biggest evangelists of Cognitive Computing. IBM has invested $26 billion dollars in big data and analytics and now spends close to one-third of its R&D budget in developing Cognitive Computing technology. But there are also up and comers…the tech garages that are making great strides to push the whole industry forward. It takes a good balance of the “giants” and the “jacks” to make a technology flourish. 

Below is a Quick Overview of who I see as the Emerging Stars for 2018:

IBM Watson

 Watson is an IBM supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and sophisticated analytical software for optimal performance as a “question answering” machine. IBM Watson leverages deep content analysis and evidence-based reasoning. Combined with massive probability processing techniques, Watson can improve decision making, reduce costs, and optimize outcomes. Its partnership with Salesforce will drive even more innovative capability.

Microsoft Cognitive Services

Microsoft has developed a set of APIs, SDKs, and cognitive services, which developers can use to make their applications more intelligent. With such services, developers can easily add Cognitive Computing features — such as emotion and sentiment detection, vision and speech recognition, knowledge, search, and language understanding — into their applications.

Google Deepmind

In the past few years, Google has acquired 12 startups in AI and machine learning-related startups and rivals within the market, moving the Cognitive Computing space towards consolidation. The company has created a neural network that learns how to play video games in a fashion similar to that of humans. Once they figure how to put all the capabilities of these acquisitions together, the world will benefit immensely.

HubKonnect

A new up and comer, they leverage Cognitive Computing to create custom local marketing plans for local franchise businesses. A local trading area analysis is generated for each individual location and then Kirby, the HubKonnect AI brain, creates an optimal local marketing plan and tactics to drive sales and transactions within each specific local community based on the “pulse” of the town. Focused on franchise business needs, HubKonnect brings a B2C market cognitive play into a world full of consumer-focused Cognitive Computing.

In conclusion, Cognitive Computing is going to transform how we live, how we work and how we think, and that’s why Cognitive Computing is a big deal. Cognitive Computing is a powerful tool, but a tool nevertheless — strategy and expertise must be put into the tool to help it reach its full potential. 2018 will be the year of Cognitive Computing and it will be exciting to see who emerges as the frontrunners in the industry.