That Proud Moment When I Helped Bring Cognitive to Life

Maike Havemann of IBM Germany talks about the proud moment she had presenting the Cognitive Dress at the Re:publica Digital Conference in Berlin.

BY Maike Havemann

Maike wearing the cognitive dress and NAO

My name is Maike, I’m 21 years and I joined IBM three years ago. This sounds like quite a long time but in reality the time passed very quickly. I’m doing a dual degree in Business Informatics at the HWR in Berlin (Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin / Berlin School of Economics and Law) – meaning I study for three months and then work at IBM for three months continuously throughout the degree.

During the working months I can decide which part of the business I want to work for. In my view this is the biggest advantage and the reason why I chose IBM. I can work very independently, allowing me to be self-determined and at the same time I can get to know a lot of IBM’s business.

Modelling the Cognitive Dress at re:publica

I had the opportunity to present the Cognitive Dress to re:publica and this was a great achievement for me as not many of my peers who work for other organizations can boast of having such opportunities.

The first time I got the chance to see IBM’s cognitive dress was at this year’s CeBIT in March. At that moment, I was really fascinated by the dress and I never thought that there would be a chance for me to wear it but I got a call shortly after that they needed someone who could present it at “re:publica” in Berlin, one of the largest and most exciting conferences about digital culture in the world. I was even happier when I found out that my measurements matched and I was able to wear the dress.

Whoever thought I would be a ‘model’ when joining IBM?

Maike demonstrating the Cognitive dress in action

“Love Out Loud” was this year’s motto of the re:publica convention and I felt great about presenting the cognitive dress. Everyone at the convention had their eyes on me and wanted to take pictures or have an interview about the innovative dress. The camera flashes provided what I can only describe as a lightning storm! I felt like a celebrity!

What Makes the Dress Cognitive

You may ask yourself, what makes the cognitive dress so amazing? It’s while standing in a darker place that you really see the dress’s sewn-in LEDs that change their colors and it looks fantastic.

But how and why are the colors of the LEDs changing?

The original cognitive dress was made and developed in the USA by Marchesa and IBM but the dress I wore was recreated in cooperation with a fashion design student of the HTW Berlin and the dress is a way to visualize Watson. In the background the IBM Watson Tone Analyzer is working, which analyzes sentiments to a particular hashtag; in this case, we chose the hashtag #IBM. Using this social media analysis, trends or social conversations can be recognized and the Watson Tone Analyzer allows the classification of moods in more detail than just positive, neutral, and negative. We have chosen five moods, each with its own color – for example, purple stood for enthusiasm.

My personal highlight of the re:publica was of course, being able to present the cognitive dress. Particularly on Monday, as many interviews took place and I could show off what makes my company so special on TV! It is much easier to explain what the cognitive business is about when you have something that visualizes it. My family, who did not know anything about the cognitive dress, were very impressed after watching some interviews and being able to see ‘cognitive in action’. On Tuesday, I had the honor of opening the IBM Human Resources Festival together with Norbert Janzen, CHRO of IBM Germany. It included an excellent program and interesting speeches as well as a nice get together.

The re:publica was a very special experience for me, one which I will never forget and I encourage new graduates to come join me at IBM to have an opportunity in becoming part of a global team that is creating meaningful solutions with passion. We have got lots of opportunities for Graduates and Experienced professionals. Why not join us and discover what you can do at IBM.

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