You are out of work and on your way home. Your stomach is telling you that it is time to eat. The idea of preparing some delicious food when you get home sounds great, but there’s only one tiny detail: you are not sure if you have all the ingredients. After a hard day of work you just want to go straight home without stopping in the supermarket to buy groceries. You log into your favorite smart home app and it tells you that you have everything that’s needed to prepare something delicious. The app even reminds you that there is still some of that wine you like so much. Now you can drive home with a peace of mind.
This seems like the scene from a futuristic movie, but it is actually happening right now. You probably know the story by now: thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) it has been possible to connect devices and integrate them into a functional digital ecosystem. From wearables to smart home gadgets, connectivity throughout devices is now a reality. What you probably don’t know is that there is now a successor to IoT. Some refer to it as IoT 2.0, while others call it the Intelligence of Things; curiously, its acronym holds the same letters (IoT).
Don’t worry if you were only starting to understand the Internet of Things. The Intelligence of things takes the same principles of connectivity but adds two extra elements to the equation: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data. The combination of connectivity, AI, and data is what gives birth to this new and powerful technology, one that will surely accelerate the disruptive process that IoT 1.0 had successfully begun. Here is Koombea’s take on some of its main characteristics and how it will impact the digital world.
Connectivity Vs. Intelligence
The Internet of Things is all about connectivity. It started a revolution never seen before in the world of digital appliances and lifestyles. Building ecosystems for devices was the first logical step in this revolution, but now, after years of improvements and research, it is time for an evolution. The next step is adding intelligence to the traditional IoT equation.
This is made possible thanks to a number of factors. AI is one of them, and so is the amount of available data. IoT 1.0 is often referred to as massive, that is, many endpoints where each delivers small amounts of data. On the contrary, IoT 2.0 is referred to as critical; fewer endpoints where each shares lots of data. As a result of combining critical endpoints with 5G technologies, smart devices are now able to collect large amounts of data and process it. This has allowed computer scientists to use that information to develop and integrate new functionalities.
In general, integrating AI into IoT has allowed ‘things’ to do stuff by themselves rather than just give us yes/no information. With the Intelligence of Things we don’t just get notifications, we get solutions. So instead of just having a smart refrigerator that can tell us when we are running out of milk, we can now have one that can do the same and additionally give us a recipe of what to do with what we have available. Even more impressive, this same technology can be applied at a macro level. We can now have entire cities that can operate under the principles of IoT 2.0.
An example of how traffic lights function in an ‘intelligent’ city can shed some light on how IoT 2.0 works. In a regular city, traffic lights use certain algorithms to determine how they should work. This is based on statistical calculations based on mobility throughout the day. There is nothing surprising up to here. The magic comes in when AI is added to the traffic data. By pairing up these two elements it is now possible to determine how traffic lights should function under particular circumstances. Is there an unexpected traffic jam? Did a car crash collapse the main street? No worries, IoT 2.0 is able to optimize vehicle flow in real-time to help solve the problem.
AI tools like Machine Learning and Deep Learning have great potential to change many aspects of our lives. As more data becomes available, so will practical applications. This is the case not only of consumer goods but also of enterprises.
From Consumer to Enterprise
One of the main characteristics of IoT 1.0 is that it focuses on consumer goods. At the time of its appearance, household electric appliances were the ideal devices to test connectivity functionalities. With AI and Big Data in the digital ecosystem, it is now possible to integrate more complex systems. This will have a major impact on how businesses and industrial processes work.
Take for example agriculture. Few activities have benefited so much from industrialization, and yet, thanks to IoT 2.0, there still seems to be a whole new universe opening up. It is estimated that the planet’s population will keep increasing in the next 30 years, making it necessary to increase food production output. This problem seems to be partially solved thanks to the new IoT technologies. By using drones that are able to retrieve data from the soil and crops, farmers can know in real-time what actions to take. As a matter of fact, machines are able to do so themselves. The automation of food systems seems to be one of the next big things.
Something similar happens in the HiTech auto industry. Self-driving cars were a dream a couple of decades ago, but they now seem to be on the verge of a tipping point. Thanks to improved sensors and the ability to process data in an intelligent way, self-driving cars are starting to become more of a reality. As more and more devices are connected to the intelligent ecosystem, we may have safer roads with fewer accidents and less pollution.
Retail is not exempt from this powerful disruption. Take the example of Amazon Go, a supermarket in which customers use a ‘just walk out’ technology to check out their supplies without having to go through a cashier. Sensors determine through AI tools the products being taken, adding to your list and debiting the amount from your account. Although a prototype, it portrays how the future of grocery shopping might function once the IoT 2.0 technology is totally deployed.
The Ecosystem of the Future
The past decade consisted of centralized systems where all the information was processed in one place. Now it is possible to integrate state of the art technologies in a local manner. More powerful devices and the amount of available data make it possible to design more complex ecosystems around us.
We are rapidly moving from a notification based approach to a solutions-based one. Many aspects of our lives will change in order to optimize processes that have not changed since the past century. Although this transition entails major risks, like a potential massive failure that can collapse an entire city’s infrastructure, we are very optimistic about the future. There is more to gain from new technological adoptions.
If you want your business to stay relevant don’t just sit there and wait for a solution to pop up. At Koombea we have the experience to deliver impactful IoT 2.0 solutions so that your business can also become intelligent. Contact us for a free consultation!