Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things are among the trending topics of the modern era and can be considered as the main drivers of the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 which itself stands for the continuous digitization of the traditional operations in manufacturing. This digitization happens through the implementation of theInternet of things (IoT) - a system of interconnected machines- that is deemed to be the building block of Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence or AI-the intelligence which is made by humans for the internet connected machines so that they can take some of the decisions on their own and without human intervention. IoT and AI go hand in hand to realize the concept of industry 4.0 and change the production operations from manual to completely digital by implementing intelligent machines that are connected to each other and can decide autonomously.
As stated earlier AIoT which stands for the artificial intelligence of things is the combination Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things and it aims at, among other things, improving the efficiency of operations, machine-human interactions, data gathering and analysing and decision making. IoT or the internet of things is a network of things- such as home appliances, devices and vehicles- which are connected to the internet and each other using RFID tags and sensors and are constantly gathering data from the environment and sending the data for further processing and analysing to the remote servers. Using AI, all of these internet connected things obtain the smartness and required capability to analyse the data autonomously on-site and improve the operations accordingly.
AIoT is still in its infancy, though, there are lots of possibilities for its use including industrial procurement, maintenance management, deadstock management, smart homes, etc. According to a Gartner’s report, by 2023, more than 30 percent of the companies that have integrated IoT into their infrastructure will combine AI with it and the widespread lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have forced above 47 percent of the organizations throughout the world expedite the procedures to implement the IoT in their operations.
Impact of Covid-19 on the plans to implement IoT to reduce the costs
Implementing IoT provides ample opportunities for companies to gather vast amounts of data about their customers and the interactions that happen between them and their products (i.e. home appliances, apps, etc.) and in the next stage, using artificial intelligence they can analyse the data for uncovering the hidden patterns inside them and perform data driven decision making.
As more and more devices connect to the internet, the amount of data which is produced increases exponentially but all these efforts to collect the data will be in vain without the capability to analyse them. Adding AI to the mixture, IoT devices would obtain enormous benefits including but not limited to the followings:
Improved human-machine interactions: Nowadays machines are undertaking critical roles within societies and as a result, humans -more than ever- need to interact and communicate with them. Thanks to the AIoT, this interaction gets better constantly. As you might remember, old school phones had lots of physical keys to work with the interface, but now we can interact with the interface of our smartphones by hand gestures and voice. As a mindblowing example, Neuralink which was founded by Elon musk is working on a project to connect human brains to computers and they have even wired up monkeys so that they can play video games with their brain.
Instantaneous decision making: Internet connected things are equipped with various sensors to collect the data of the environment, but the devices lack the smartness which is a common human characteristic; in other words, they do not have the capability to comprehend the data and learn from their experiences. Using AI, the IoT devices get the required intelligence and can instantly decide for themselves.
Continuous improvement of decisions: AI equipped devices can learn from their past experiences and make decisions accordingly. As an example, smart locks with AI have the potentiality to autonomously send the picture and other credential data of the intruders for the law enforcement departments instead of only activating the alarm. This way, owners can both save time and increase the security of their properties.
Reduced analytics costs: As stated earlier, thanks to AI, the IoT devices can analyse the data themselves and they no longer need to transfer the collected data to their servers. This means that no external server is required for the processing of data and you do not need the excessive wiring for transferring data to the control centers.
According to the world economic forum, by 2050, more than 68 percent of the world population will be living in urban areas. As more and more people move to the cities, serving them becomes more difficult for the city planners and they should respond to various challenges that the overpopulated cities bring with themselves (i.e. transportation, garbage collection, education, energy consumption, etc.). As a result, governments need to implement IoT for streamlining and automating the processes and overcome the challenges. Integrating AI into IoT will open up considerable opportunities for governments and they can take advantage of it in various sectors which is listed below:
In smart homes, the idea is building an environment in which all of the appliances and devices are connected to the internet and they can use energy efficiently; In other words, these internet connected things have the capability to talk to each other and depending on the usage patterns of their customers, change their behaviour. Just imagine light bulbs equipped with artificial intelligence that can understand the usage patterns of the users and based on their behaviour brighten or dim the light or refrigerators that check the expiry dates of the food packages and order new ones on their own! A future which is both fascinating and scary albeit it has been realized to some extent so far.
Thanks to AIoT, cars and motor vehicles will get the capability to autonomously steer through the streets and navigate without human intervention. Artificial intelligence also improves their decision making abilities so that they can predict pedestrians' behaviour or other cars to avoid any possible accident. Although there have been efforts to make autonomous cars, some obstacles still exist in the path of their entrance into the streets among which we can refer to the possible security breaches, lack of a viable 3d map, absence of regulations, etc.
Wearables are small devices with close proximity to the human skin that can detect critical body signals including blood pressures, temperatures, heart beat rythm, sleep cycles, etc and then by analysing the data that has been obtained, they can prescribe possible treatments or medications. Apple watch, as an example, has a fall detection sensor that recognizes accidental fall of its users and automatically summons emergency services; a capability that so far saved the lives of many people.
AIoT can have extensive uses in the industries to improve their productivity and efficiency. As an example, by attaching AI equipped tags to their cargoes, companies can automate many of their operations from procurement to the shipment and delivery. They can also use these technologies to avoid dead stock or improve their maintenance management operations. Just envisage intelligent machinery of the future that can autonomously find the destruction and even predict it, they would easily summon the technicians for repair and save energy and time.
Article by: Maryamsadat Mousavi