How Cognitive Cloud Transforms How We Shop

In a blink of an eye, spring has sprung and summer is right around the corner. Many of us will be not only shopping for our vacation getaway but also bringing friends and family together for those cool summer evenings around the barbecue.

Personally, I’m a fan of experiences. On the other hand, finding a good deal and preparing for those experiences isn’t exactly my idea of a walk in the park. After all, who has ever stated that they find packing for their trip to Hawaii or going to the grocery store to be the fun part? That’s why I was excited to read one of IBM’s latest blogs around how cognitive cloud can help with grocery shopping. The example is easily applicable to many different areas of our lives beyond cooking for the upcoming Fourth of July barbecue.

Scaling up the Decision Process

As adults, making decisions is relatively easier compared to our younger years. Depending on the situation, decision making can also be difficult — have you ever stood in the cereal aisle? With so many brands, options, flavors, and health options available, many of us choose what looks the most colorful or aesthetically appealing and go from there. Often times, this is also a gamble with luck, since we either find ourselves happily satisfied or frustratingly regretful of our purchasing decision. Even when it comes to choosing the right flight for a vacation, the appropriate laptop for our computing needs or the right restaurant for that anniversary dinner, buyer imposter syndrome is at play.

The most optimal decision process involves usually involves a process, exhibited in a flowchart. Developed over time, this process becomes habitual and often we self-automate. Occasionally, peer pressure and a desire for a change of pace will rear their head, and a divergence from the traditional decision-making process will occur. While this may not throw us off, it can be confusing — trying that new box of cereal, after all, can be the most exciting part of your morning.

So where do cloud and cognitive computing come in? Glad you asked.

A Different Kind of Shopping

With the emergence of cloud and cognitive, decision-making, or the lack thereof, can easily evolve. With applications like Watson and IBM Bluemix, developers can connect applications, measure long-term habits, maintain good decision-making, and expunge choices that aren’t as positive. I would even imagine that if I were on a diet and a friend’s birthday was on approach, that my cognitive application would be able to manage my caloric intake before and after the event so I don’t fall off track.

Let’s imagine a few more use cases:

  • Education: A student uploads their schedule into an application and its discovered they will be taking several writing courses, a math course, and a business course this semester. In response, the student will be provided an ideal schedule which includes taking time for studying, suggested applications to download, and links to helpful resources. With all the information in hand, the student is ready to take on the quarter.
  • Relationships: Next week is the husband’s tenth anniversary with his wife. Though life has been busy, this is no time to slouch and forget moments they have spent together. With a cognitive application, the husband is able to interpret everything that his wife has said to him over the past few years as a reminder to what she likes as well as how their relationship has evolved and sets up the appropriate date.
  • The Holiday Party: An office assistant is tasked with putting together the annual office Christmas party. Since each employee has offered up their dietary interests, the assistant uploads the data to the application, which spits out several menu ideas and the nearest store to find the appropriate groceries. This year’s holiday party is the highest rated of all time.
  • The Busy Parent: Modern parenting is anything but easy. With coinciding schedules, preparing a healthy meal is difficult. With a cognitive application that includes integration with online calendars, meal preparation can be a bit easier, and everyone can rest easier knowing they aren’t consuming junk food.
  • The Vacation: Planning a vacation can be complicated. Between hotels, flights, tourist activities, rental car, and eating, it’s enough to cause information overload. However, when cognitive applications are connected to calendaring and banking applications, experiences can be purchased faster without the hassle of looking for the best deal, and vacations are less stressful.

How about you? Where do you think cognitive applications can assist in your buying journey?

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Albert Qian

Albert Qian is a Marketing Manager at Perficient for our IBM PCS, DevOps, and Enterprise Solutions Partners focused on cloud computing technologies.

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