Dark data in the cognitive era is driving the car revolution | #WomenInTech


Most drivers spend a great deal of time behind the wheel of a car without the ability to connect and be productive. As more automotive companies begin to work with technology leaders to create cars of the future, the driving experience starts to get interesting.

International Business Machines Corp and General Motors Company have come together to unleash the cognitive abilities of IBM’s Watson and combine it with the dark data that resides in GM’s OnStar system to bring a new offering, called OnStar Go, to enhance the driver experience and increase productivity while driving.

While at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Joanna Peña-Bickley, global chief creative officer at IBM iX (Interactive Experience), met up with Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, to talk about the partnership and all the possibilities this collaboration will offer.

This week, theCUBE spotlights Joanna Peña-Bickley in our Women in Tech feature.

Full-service design

IBM launched IBM iX in November 2012 to “reinvent the next generation of customer experiences” by creating an agency atmosphere that helps customers design and co-create new ways to elevate the customer digital experience. Peña-Bickley related that the iX team is excited to take on cognitive design and experience design, where they are transforming businesses that are going through the digital transformation in turbulent times.

“You need a new kind of partner, and iX was actually developed to be that new kind of partner. [One] that’s going to come in and bring these brilliant renegades who are business consultants, designers, data scientists, writers, artist, architects, who are going to come around a business problem and really look at it in a very different way,” Peña-Bickley expressed.

IBM iX is also working with airlines, banks, healthcare, sports, retailers and a variety of other verticals to connect data with design to innovate in other industries.

The goal of the IBM iX and General Motors partnership is to redefine mobility as cognitive mobility by reinventing the way people spend time in their cars. The companies are combining the capabilities of OnStar Go with Watson APIs to leverage the dark data that exists, gain insight, and use it in a way that generates a more safe and efficient driving experience.

According to Peña-Bickley, the average driver spends 92 hours in a car per week. Additionally, the customer feels disconnected regardless of the amount of connectivity they have in their vehicle. Not having the ability to use a mobile phone while driving, OnStar Go will enable drivers a safe way to connect to people, places and brands from behind the wheel, she explained. Brands such as ExxonMobil, Glympse, iHeartRadio, Mastercard and Parkopedia are the first brands to join the platform.

The automobile industry’s use of technology has led to rapid innovation. Most newer cars have computers on board that improve the health of the car and offer hands-free options, such as Bluetooth and navigation. Peña-Bickley talked about moving beyond a red light on the dashboard or the fuel tank indicating that gas is low.

“Imagine if your car was self-healing? As we get to autonomous around self-driving, there are six flavors of where we really want to bring OnStar Go to the next level,” she stated.

What are the six flavors? According to a report by the IBM Institute for Business Value, titled A new relationship: people and cars, there are six Self-Enabling Vehicles groups:

  1. Self-healing. Vehicles fix and optimize themselves without human intervention based on certain events or situations.
  2. Self-socializing. Vehicles connect with other vehicles and the infrastructure around them to share information and solutions.
  3. Self-learning. Vehicles use cognitive capabilities to learn behaviors — of driver, occupants, the vehicle itself and the surrounding environment — to continually optimize and advise.
  4. Self-driving. Vehicles will become highly automated, with some areas of limited autonomous function in controlled environments.
  5. Self-configuring. Individual mobility personas contain necessary (and driver-authorized) digital information about individuals to provide the desired, personalized vehicle experience.
  6. Self-integrating. Like other smart devices, the vehicle will be an integrated component in the IoT.

A new approach to transportation

IBM has a different approach to the marketplace. The company is also thinking about all the modes of personal transportation. Using what Peña-Bickley refers to as “Go modes,” which includes all kinds of transportation from a bike to a car, she believes the consumer should have a smart go mode for all types of transportation.

“Watson with OnStar is going to enable that. … OnStar was visionary; that’s why the partnership works. The assets and approach that IBM is bringing, not just analytics but cognitive analytics, is in a way that is leveraging our rich history in telematics and understanding that data,” explained Peña-Bickley.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of the North American International Auto Show.

Photo by SiliconANGLE