What is AIoT and what can it do? Those are the questions we’re tackling in today’s blog.
Essentially, we’re talking about the convergence of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). They are independent technologies which are transforming myriad industries around the world – but combine them, and we enter a new era of continually learning, self-correcting systems, powering industrial automation on a scale we have never seen before. As Forbes has reported, ‘while IoT is the digital nervous system, AI becomes the brain that makes decisions which control the overall system’.
Combining AI with the IoT means that the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence can be brought to bear on the vast amount of data generated by a typical IoT ecosystem – and in turn, that IoT ecosystem can be enhanced and optimised over time, thanks to the insights generated by the AI. In theory, it should work as a powerful symbiotic system, the IoT generating the data for AI to feed on, and the AI then passing back tangible instructions and improvements to the IoT.
But this is all very theoretical. What does it actually look like in practice?
Many examples can be found amid that favourite of IoT topics – the smart city. Consider, for example, traffic monitoring. If an ecosystem of connected devices or cameras – perhaps even attached to drones – can monitor traffic flow in a particular area and send that information to an AI engine in real-time, then said AI can analyse the data and make dynamic decisions as how best to manage the traffic flow. Decisions might include introducing variable speed limits or rerouting particular traffic – all achieved by transmitting the AI-powered decisions back out to an IoT-enabled network of traffic lights and signage.
Smart office buildings are another great example. A series of environmental sensors deployed throughout an office buildings can be invaluable in detecting how many people are in the building at any one time, how they are moving around it and using the space, and which facilities they are using. Analyse that information using AI, and you can generate a raft of valuable insights in terms of both how to manage that particular space, and how to design future spaces. This can drive efficiencies in terms of the resources within an office building, and ultimately develop spaces which are better adapted to the needs of the people within them.
Any organisation which needs to manage a fleet of vehicles – from taxi firms and bus operators to logistics and delivery companies – can benefit from AIoT. Location sensors attached to attach vehicle can provide an AI platform with a real-time view of the location of the entire fleet – combined with data pertaining to, say, bus timetables, driver shifts, delivery schedules or taxi requests – then intelligent, real-time decisions can be made as to the most efficient and appropriate allocation of vehicles.
Autonomous delivery robots are not yet a mainstream reality but they too will be powered by AIoT, in similar ways to driverless vehicles. In these use cases, AI is used to intelligently analyse the environments around the vehicle or delivery robot, and then make near instantaneous decisions as to where it moves next.
The possibilities of AIoT are truly huge – watch this space!