Spending on cognitive computing in Asia Pacific is on the rise. However, Hong Kong is still in the learning stage of this new generation of technology, and its adoption has not yet picked up across verticals, according to professionals in the IT research and banking sectors, and technology vendors.
Cognitive computing is a sub-discipline of artificial intelligence (AI). It is capable of learning and reasoning natural language, analyzing massive amounts of data, offering intelligent assistance, advice and recommendations to users; thus enhancing their competitive edge or supplementing information for better decision making.
IT research company IDC pointed out in a latest report that spending on cognitive systems in Asia Pacific is on the rise, and some industries have already implemented them to address problems and improve customer experience.
The research company forecasts cognitive systems’ spending in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) will reach over US$1.9 billion in 2019 at a CAGR of 65% from 2014 to 2019.
Over 40% of the spending will go to software, which includes cognitive applications and cognitive software platforms. Cognitive-related services and hardware spending are also growing fast.
Some verticals have already spent on cognitive systems. The manufacturing industry currently spends the most on cognitive systems, representing nearly 32% of the total APeJ spending throughout the forecast. Other verticals actively using cognitive systems are the retail and healthcare industries.
In Hong Kong, banking, financial services, insurance and telco industries present great growth opportunities for cognitive computing technology.
Despite great growth opportunities, the adoption of cognitive computing in Hong Kong has not yet taken off. “Wait and see” attitude, talent shortage and misconceptions are some of the obstacles.
Chwee Chua, AVP, big data and analytics and cognitive computing at IDC, told Computerworld Hong Kong, “Cognitive computing outcomes are not 100% guaranteed. The “wait and see” attitude contributes to the slower adoption rate.”
“Hong Kong is a more developed market where new technologies may not be adopted as quickly as say Thailand or India where the organizations might be less risk averse and willing to invest in the latest technologies,” he added.
Moreover, most organizations do not fully understand what cognitive computing is and how it can solve an organization’s problems. They also have misconceptions about skillsets required, thinking that in-house data scientists are needed to implement cognitive computing.
Cognitive computing in banking
DBS picked Singapore to deploy IBM’s Watson cognitive computing, where the bank has the largest customer base and is also its headquarters. The bank has no immediate plans to extend the service to Hong Kong.