When it comes to the top Industry 4.0 innovations, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence irrefutably lead the pack. With an increasing number of sectors realising and exploring these technologies’ potential through practical applications, we’re learning more and more about how they can impact the world around us — on their own as well as in unison. Let’s take a look at what makes the IoT and AI such a powerful combination.
As you may or may not know the IoT is the ability to connect physical devices and objects via the internet creating a network of electronics that collect and exchange data. This enables otherwise ‘dumb” devices to respond ‘smartly” by themselves. Equipped with a sensor that links to the IoT platform, these devices observe, identify and understand, and respond to their environment without being dependent on human interference. As processors become more affordable and wireless internet services are becoming more widespread, it’s possible to integrate every part of our lives into the IoT whether we’re at home, at work, on the road.
What enables these devices to learn from experience and perform a specific task, is the simulation of human cognitive abilities known as artificial intelligence. Many people still associate this term with robots becoming self-aware and destroy humanity, a scenario popularised by science fiction films and books. But, artificial intelligence, as we know it today, couldn’t be any more different. Using an application called machine learning, the goals of artificial intelligence are to create software programmes that are capable of problem solving, speech recognition, learning, planning, and perception.
The IoT and AI are revolutionary and distinct in their own right, but when working together, these two technologies can provide some amazing opportunities. As already pointed out, IoT devices work by gathering and using data, but when deploying the information into AI systems, the devices can make sense of the data more intelligently. The software programs enhanced with machine intelligence capture this data in the moment and quickly interpret them for smarter insights. IoT devices automatically pick up patterns and anomalies in the data and create the appropriate response.
The result of this connected intelligence will ultimately be:
– Predicting future outcomes and trends aka predictive analytics.
– Recommending a course of action or strategy aka prescriptive analytics
– Continuously adjusting responses in real time to achieve the most contextually relevant output aka adaptive analytics.
The benefits of AI-powered IoT
When combined with each other, IoT and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the traditional business environment and add a real competitive advantage through the following:
1. Detect, prevent, and reduce downtime— analytics can detect conditions that are likely to cause equipment or hardware/software failures. Monitoring the performance and condition of equipment will help businesses schedule maintenance procedures and avoid the high costs of unplanned downtime
2. Streamline operations – serving customers better, boosting reporting speed and accuracy, quickly flagging genuine cyber threats, and identifying the best candidates for the job – AI models give businesses the ability to do more in less time.
3. Give rise to new products and services – the synergy of IoT and AI can dramatically improve current products and services (AI controlled drones and robots, for example) or give birth to an entirely new generation of tech such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. These are devices connected to the internet and respond to voice commands.
4. Better risk management – businesses can apply IoT and AI to effectively control their risk exposure, as these technologies help forecast a range of threats (e.g. financial losses, employee safety, cyber-attacks) and initiate a quick automated action.
With IoT and AI becoming more commonplace, it’s no wonder that the merging of these technologies is beginning to shape the office of the future. By adapting to this technological revolution, organisations get the advantage of a highly integrated and more streamlined operation, which ultimately put them in a position of greater success.