Emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have continued to dominate headlines in recent months. Wearables, smart products, digital assistants, home heating, lighting, and entertainment systems all contain IoT sensors that continuously collect and process data.
When you add AI into the mix, IoT data can be analysed in real-time to enable automatic decision-making without any human involvement. This powerful combination is converging into a new category called the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT). As we begin to explore the art of the possible, we can expect the pace of technological change to continue to race ahead at breakneck speed.
AIoT is already here
The arrival of Amazon Go offers a glimpse into the future of retail. The 'just walk out' shopping experience is made possible by smart cameras that identify shoppers and every item they pick up. The technology can even detect when products are returned to the shelves. Shoppers simply walk into the store, pick up the products they want to purchase and leave without the hassle of a checkout. The payment process is all taken care of automatically by the Amazon app.
If you take a look under the hood, it's AI, computer vision, and data pulled from multiple IoT sensors that are bringing these walk-out experiences to life. Tesla also offers insights into how IoT and AI are perfectly matched. Tesla vehicles are famously continuously learning and getting smarter with every trip. Everything from road and weather conditions to the behaviour of pedestrians and drivers are all analysed to improve future decision-making.
The convergence of AI and IoT can also help optimize fleet management operations. The continuous monitoring of an entire fleet of vehicles makes it much easier to streamline the whole operations process. In an industry where budgets are shrinking, AIoT can significantly reduce fuel costs, improve vehicle maintenance, and even mitigate unsafe driver behaviour.
DHL is on course to build over 10,000 IoT-enabled truck vehicles by 2028. The ROI of this AIoT investment is the reduction of 50% transit time and providing over 95% reliability for real-time tracking. London City Airport is also leveraging IoT and AI to create an integrated and intelligent relationship management system that makes every passenger feel and experience they are a valued customer.
The reactive approach to healthcare where we wait until something goes wrong before seeking help from a physician is beginning to look dated. A variety of wearable devices and smart products can automatically collect critical health data such as blood pressure, oxygen, ECGs, blood sugar, and weight trends.
A more proactive approach to healthcare can be unlocked by real-time monitoring of patients at risk of serious conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, asthma attacks, etc.
The combination of AI and IoT technology makes health monitoring outside of clinics possible and also helps predict future health events.
It could also enable doctors to spot illness and ailments in patients much sooner and explore new revolutionary ways of treatment.
The real-time data flow between doctors and hospitals could also enable greater opportunities for collaboration in the medical community. The further addition of 5G could also link ambulances, healthcare providers, doctors, and first responders with a single version of the truth. Many believe that low latency networks could even pave the way for remote operations using a combination of virtual reality and robots.
The road ahead for AIoT
We are still a long way from understanding the full capabilities that AI and IoT will bring to every industry. What we do know is that the convergence of AI and IoT is inevitable. AI-enabled IoT systems will be more robust, secure, and scalable. But the real game-changing moment is that IoT is about to outgrow its passive status and become much more active.
Information is power, and AIoT will guide businesses by designing specific solutions for real-world challenges. Traditionally, the data collected from millions of IoT sensors was overwhelming. The task of segregating and extracting useful information was too much for any human to comprehend. AI-based algorithms changed all that by eliminating information that did not provide value and enabled leaders to focus on unlocking valuable insights.
The convergence of AI and IoT is already redefining the way entire industries function.
Billions of IoT devices and sensors are generating invaluable data about our world. But AI is now stepping in and helping businesses to draw real-time insights from the data. AIoT is allowing companies to make data-driven decisions. Access to these new insights will also help them create new products and services or enhance existing ones.
Proactively monitoring our health to prevent problems before they occur and making shopping as easy as walking in, grabbing an item, and leaving the store is just the beginning. The convergence of IoT and AI brings the concepts of smart homes, industries, and cities to life. A brave new digital world where robots and cobots (collaborative robots) work seamlessly alongside their human colleagues. Whether you see that as a good or bad thing is an argument for another day.