Exploring the Combined Power of IoT and AI
Wed, April 14, 2021

Exploring the Combined Power of IoT and AI

IoT refers to the collection of sensors, devices, and other technologies. Unlike phones and computers, these technologies are not meant to interact directly with consumers / Photo by: metamorworks via Shutterstock

 

There are over 17 billion connected devices globally as of 2018, according to IoT (Internet of Things) market insights IoT Analytics and Ron Schmelzer of American business magazine Forbes. Over 7 million of these devices are IoT devices. IoT refers to the collection of sensors, devices, and other technologies. Unlike phones and computers, these technologies are not meant to interact directly with consumers. 

Rather, IoT provides analytics, control, and information to enable hardware devices to connect to each other and the internet. IoT devices are proliferating considering the advent of low-cost connectivity and sensors. Hence, firms are inundated with data from IoT. They are considering looking into AI to manage IoT devices and gain more intelligence and insight. 

The Task Is More Difficult Than It Looks

Don’t be deceived by first impressions. It is more difficult to extract and manage information from IoT than we expect. IoT is complex as it contains aspects and subcomponents such as connectivity, data storage, security, system integration, device hardware, app development, and even the ever-changing networks and processes. Plus, there’s also “scale of functionality.” 

Thinking of building sensors that can be easily accessible from a smart device? That’s simple. However, creating a reliable device that is secure, cost-effective, and upgraded is a different story. This factor makes IoT more complex. 

IoT is complex as it contains aspects and subcomponents such as connectivity, data storage, security, system integration, device hardware, app development, and even the ever-changing networks and processes / Photo by: PowerUp via Shutterstock

 

How Is AI Going to Transform IoT? 

Let’s take Microsoft’s case as an example. According to an AI Today podcast, Microsoft’s Rashmi Misra talked about how AI and IoT are joining forces to provide better visibility and control over various devices and sensors connected to the internet, as mentioned by Schmelzer and AI market research website Cognylitica. 

Rashmi leads a team at Microsoft, where she and her colleagues are responsible for building AI and IoT solutions. Rashmi collaborates with application developers, device manufacturers, systems integrators, and other partners who want to implement AI technologies in IoT devices. Rashmi’s team is focused on “gaining insights and knowledge” from data generated from IoT devices. Her team also reports the data and simplifies the access. 

In this case, IoT transforms business models by helping firms deviate from making goods and services to helping customers achieve their desired outcomes. With IoT-enabled devices, sensors, and machine learning, companies can center on outcomes and innovation. Hence, IoT and AI change how businesses engage with their customers. Thanks to IoT, businesses can gather and transform data into “usable and valuable information.” 

Whether a firm utilizes IoT and AI to interact with customers, obtain analytics, personalize user experience, or optimize productivity, we can’t deny how IoT and AI help companies gain valuable insight into every data. Moreover, these technologies illustrate how employees, suppliers, and partners are interacting with one another. IoT devices give firms “an actual interface of the real world,” not just an approximation. 

To illustrate, organizations can install a sensor anywhere they want to measure, analyze, or interact with something. Then, they can put an IoT device and have it connect to an AI-enabled cloud to “add significant amounts of value” to data. 

With IoT-enabled devices, sensors, and machine learning, companies can center on outcomes and innovation. Hence, IoT and AI change how businesses engage with their customers / Photo by: metamorworks via Shutterstock

 

How Will AI Help Us Make Sense of IoT Data? 

Companies are challenged with application, accessibility, and analysis of IoT data. Normally, people would run a statistical analysis of the data they have extracted from different sources. 

1. Predictive Maintenance 

What if an organization wants to proactively predict an even that requires future actions such as anticipating a machinery breakdown risk? Businesses need to learn how to use IoT and AI to “discern this kind of data and process.” 

For example, unplanned downtime sectors such as industrial manufacturing and offshore oil and gas cost money, wrote David Schatsky, Navya Kumar, and Sourabh Bumb of American monthly magazine Wired. Machine learning discerns patterns “in the constant streams of data” from machinery to anticipate equipment failure. 

2. Data Analysis Without the Help of Humans 

Large volumes of constantly changing data are too difficult to manage if companies are using “traditional business intelligence and analytics tools.” This is where AI will shine. Machine learning systems can identify “normal and abnormal patterns in data,” allowing them to send an alert when things stray from the norm. That’s right, this process does not involve human operators. Therefore, AI-enabled IoT systems can unearth relevant insights that are obscured by the haystacks of data. 

3. Improved Goods and Services

As organizations improve their IoT systems with AI, they can create new and improved products and services for their customers. For instance, solutions firms are manufacturing prepacked code and template containing “tried and test models for specific application domains” like manufacturing, shipping and logistics, building and facilities operations, and more. 

The Future of IoT

Its future lies with AI, taking automation and productivity to the next level while minimizing costs. As more consumers, companies, and governments control IoT, it will change the way we interact with the world, allowing us to make better decisions. 

IoT and AI will make the world even more interconnected. But interconnectedness comes with data overload, and only IoT and AI are capable of easing that load off of the shoulders of businesses and humans.