Our lives clearly are coming closer to science fiction that we have grown up consuming. Today you can tell Siri that you are going to bed. And Siri, prompted by that command, is going to lock your garage doors, dim your lights, and even set the thermostat. Unreal right? But this is a reality we are living right now. Say hello to AI and IoT.
The IoT is a treasure trove of data…data that can help make cities smarter, prevent waste and aid waste management, provide real-time information insights to doctors from biochips or pacemakers, improve productivity across industries using predictive maintenance of machinery, create smart homes with connected appliances and last but not the least make the smart cars a reality. Clearly, the realm of possibilities is endless when it comes to the IoT. As the expansion of IoT-connected devices increases so does the explosion of data. It is this data that provides the real insights into what is working and what needs work. This is the data that provides the insights into business opportunities and business risks. However, how does one mine and analyze this deluge of data on a real-time basis? Reviewing this data leveraging traditional methods is humanly impossible and time-consuming. For IoT to deliver on its promise, we need increased speed and more data accuracy. This can be achieved with AI or Artificial Intelligence.
Businesses today are tapping into the IoT to create a new network of products that can unlock new business opportunities. Owing to this, we are witnessing a complete transformation of how companies are conducting their business and engaging with their customers. However, in order to become smarter, IoT has to be coupled with AI technologies to enable the smart network to stimulate intelligent behavior and make informed decisions with little or no human intervention. Are we talking about the march of the machines? Perhaps, but not entirely. But by incorporating AI into IoT applications, organizations can see their business capabilities expand. This includes increasing operational efficiency, managing risks better and avoiding unplanned downtime.
AI is becoming the star in IoT owing to its capability to wring quick insights from the data generated by IoT devices. AI technology brings to the table the capability to identify patterns and detect anomalies in the data generated by smart sensors. It helps organizations make operational predictions up to almost 20 times faster and with greater accuracy when compared to traditional business intelligence systems. AI technologies such as computer vision and speech recognition also assist in extracting insights from data that needs a human view.
As IoT and AI becoming increasingly commonplace, it pays to understand how these two mammoth disruptive technology trends can, or rather should, work together to benefit the businesses of today.
Reduce Costly Downtime
Unplanned downtime owing to equipment breakdown can lead to heavy losses in certain industries such as manufacturing. Such losses can amount to an average of $38 million annually for offshore oil and gas operators. In industrial manufacturing, unplanned downtime can cost $50 billion per year, with equipment failure being the cause for 42 percent of the outages. By leveraging predictive maintenance, organizations can manage the economies of unplanned downtime. A Deloitte study reveals that with predictive maintenance, industries such as manufacturing can reduce time to plan maintenance by 20 to 50% and increase equipment availability and uptime by 10 to 20%. Further, these industries can reduce overall maintenance costs by 5 to 10% by using the analytical capabilities of AI that help in identifying anomalies by analyzing large data sets.
Increasing Operational Efficiency
Since AI technologies are capable of generating fast and precise predictions, they can help organizations achieve greater operational efficiency. These technologies provide organizations an insight into which tasks can be automated, which processes are redundant and time-consuming, and which operational processes can be further fine-tuned to increase efficiency. Google, for example, leverages AI with IoT to cut their data center cooling costs. Hershey used IoT and AI to reduce their weight variability problem during production.
New and Improved Products and Services
IoT and AI coupled together bring the promise of improved, better and even new products and services simply adding the capability to rapidly process and analyze the volume of data – both structured an unstructured – generated by the connected network. GE looked at AI to automate navigation of inspection devices and identification of defects for their robot-based industrial inspection services. This presented the scope to reduce the cost of inspection for their clients by almost 25% while making these services more precise. Rolls Royce too plans to introduce IoT-enabled airplane engine maintenance services and intends to leverage AI technologies such as machine learning algorithms to spot patterns and identify operational insights that can be sold to the airlines.
Better Risk Management
AI paired with IoT offers organizations the opportunity to better assess, understand, and predict risks. It can help organizations automate responses rapidly to manage worker safety better and cut the looming burden of cyber threats and consequent financial losses. Las Vegas, for example, is leveraging AI to secure its smart city initiatives. Many banks are in the process of evaluating the potential of AI-enabled real-time identification of suspicious activities from connected surveillance cameras at ATMs. Fujitsu has already employed AI for analyzing data generated from connected wearable devices to secure worker safety.
Clearly, AI has the potential to boost the value created by IoT. Without the use of AI, the data generated from the IoT network is well, just data and nothing more. According to the International Data Corp, by 2019 AI will support all IoT efforts. It further goes on to say that IoT efforts without the employment of AI will have limited value.
So, are your IoT initiatives powered by AI?