by Victor AI, Founder and CEO of Terminus Group
Across human history, the adoption of any form of technology has only ever been integrated into our daily lives at a speed in which the tech can be widely understood. The abilities and benefits of certain technologies are not always enough to break through on a commercial level simply on their merits, and it is common to note that an initial lack of understanding can lead to delays in a more effective roll out.
In the corporate world, the process can be even slower than in the consumer market, which typically has more willing “early adopters” of various tech; therefore, replacing existing, infrastructural processes that benefit the future productivity and profit of the company can sometimes take longer to get buy-in from all concerned parties.
With that said, I think it is important to say that before jumping into a discussion about what artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can bring to existing and future business operations, it is worth getting to grips with the concept of this combination of two technologies – AIoT – and why it is significant for the future of companies and individuals alike.
What is AIoT?
Very simply put: Artificial intelligence is an automated process that involves the development of systems and machines that can perform specific tasks. The Internet of Things is the network that connects many different functional devices. Essentially, with the use of AI and a network from which it can learn from, we can more effectively co-ordinate the use of previously separate and inefficient tasks or energy uses.
In real terms, the combination of these two technologies (AIoT) is expected to make our lives easier through a combination of innovations, make our cities more automated and intelligent, and – as well as relieve us of some monotonous manual processes – create new jobs, industries, and new specializations.
Combining AI and IoT for business
The potential of AIoT is immense as it will, most certainly, create a transformation across all industry sectors and lead to the development of many new industrial automation systems. In addition, it will have the potential to lead to the development of new businesses and industries of the future – some of which we may not even be able to imagine, at this time.
While the AI lends itself to a massively increased ability to manage and process data, through IoT we can apply these learnings – created via the connections between multiple devices. One of the key areas AIoT will benefit not just businesses and individuals, but also the planet, is in having devices learning to work more efficiently and, therefore, improve efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
Risk Management & Future Planning
The early decades of the 21st century have not only seen an exponential growth in technology, they have also witnessed a number of global socio-economic challenges from financial (2008) to health crises (2020), among others. Therefore, risk management and predicting the risks that will affect a company's operations is another area that AIoT can come into its own.
By identifying and helping minimize the risks effects on a business, AIoT technology can ensure organizations keep track of the activities and actions taken on collection by devices and thereby help industries and individual companies – of all sizes – keep their operations running smoothly.
Applications of AIoT in Industry
Of course, there are various factors that can be expected to drive the AIoT market's growth over the coming decades. These include the increasing number of software tools and the development of AI-based solutions, as well as the increasing number of AIoT-enabled applications.
For example, through the use of robots, the manufacturing industry has already seen improvements in their operations and a reduction in the risk of errors or faultily produced items. But AIoT is not simply about automation – the info collected by AIoT-enabled devices also helps them to anticipate and prepare for potential problems or servicing needs.
From the dawn of modern science-fiction writing and film, we have been promised the concept of a smart home or office. The fact that this is now no longer just a concept in the imagination is largely attributable to the development of IoT. With AI integrated into these functions and devices, machines will be able to make informed decisions based on previous actions. We are all, perhaps, now aware of smart fridges being able to note its contents and place orders online to replace various items and have them delivered to the home, without human engagement.
While some companies offer robotic or device-led solutions, it is on the much grander scale that AIoT, and indeed Terminus Group, come into its own. That is to say, in areas and applications of AIoT relating to smart cities. From buildings that can improve the lifestyle of individuals, to coordinating commercial and residential buildings across a city, all equipped with advanced technology to improve their efficiency and sustainability, AIoT will be at the heart of all future urban planning and management.
Autonomous vehicles, energy consume optimization and other digital operate management – on a city-wide level – the implementation of AIoT will be ubiquitous and greatly enhance sustainability and efficiency across any number of industry and functional tasks. In relation to smart cities and homes, specifically, the use of edge computing, can be used to create even more autonomous devices that improve and assist in both our work and personal lives.
Future impact of AIoT
The debate between how new tech will impact society is as old as human history. And while AIoT is already making a huge impact on societal norms, we are not quite at a level where the potential of these machines is fully realized. We are very much at the beginning of this process, and this is often why confusion about what it can and will do persists.
That said, the number of AIoT-enabled devices is expected to grow significantly by the end of this decade. The increasing number of software tools and the development of AIoT-based solutions are some of the factors that are expected to drive this market's growth.
From software tools increasingly being made available for industrial AIoT, to the development of automated solutions that can reduce the complexity of managing the new applications, we will undoubtedly see a combination of legacy software and hardware being adapted to AIoT capabilities over the next 10 years.
That said, as with all new tech, companies should always assess and study the potential of the technology before implementing AIoT across their existing production and product lines. Whether this is achieved through the direct acquisition of hardware or through partnerships with an established provider, CEO and CTOs will need to answer questions relating to how and with whom they share information, will the technology initially enable or disrupt the existing workforce or customer service, and – as always – what the obstacles are to be overcome to allow the new tech to find acceptance, so that real progress can be made.