Using AI for IoT Applications: Benefits, Tech Aspects, & 4th Industrial Revolution
“IoT is the body that gives AI’s brain the ability to act. IoT also provides the data AI needs in order to make smart decisions…in return, some of these insights and decisions can then be acted upon by IoT and end devices such as robots, drones and industrial machines”.
We need smarter applications for a smarter world, and the convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) allows this vision to take a real-life shape. What is the nature of the relationship between AI and IoT? How are they connected logically? How do they function in manufacturing, robotics, healthcare, and beyond? In this piece, you will get an answer to these and some other questions. Keep on reading if you want to make sense of AI and IoT with the vision of a smarter world in mind.
AI and IoT: a Logical Continuum
What is the nature of the relationship between AI and IoT? Let’s take the analogy of human anatomy. The vessels provide blood to the brain but the processing takes place in the brain. Just like human vessels, IoT sensors collect big data and AI processes that information.
Take, for example, contact center applications. IoT sensors collect various data in various formats and from various sources. This data is structured and converted into a form that is comprehensible to the human brain by AI.
This is just one example of how the two interact.
Acting as the body to AI’s brain, IoT today provides both input (data) and output (action) for the smart computing and analytics function of a centralized AI system (Maciej Kranz, Cisco)
Using AI for IoT Applications: the Benefits
There are several benefits that AI and IoT convergence can bring. We will concentrate on a few important ones.
New and improved products and services
It’s beyond the human mind what the power of AI and IoT can bring to the world. More and more companies are keen to incorporate artificial intelligence into their IoT applications.
According to the IBM Global C-suite Study program, 19% of respondents are keen to incorporate augmented IoT with AI into their applications. The following graph illustrates that 19% already apply the new technology while 13% are aspiring and 31% are tacticians.
What does this mean in real life? This means smarter appliances, smarter cars, and even smarter cities. The world is going to change and the change may happen sooner than expected.
Increased business productivity
One example of increased productivity is the use of smart heating and lighting systems, like the use of Nest Thermostat. It is a smart device that learns your schedule and the temperatures you like and adjusts the program to save energy.
Automation of repetitive tasks normally held by employees is another good example. The employees themselves can have more time to do more complex work.
Not only will the employees have more free time but also they will perform tasks more easily. This relates to smart speakers like Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri. According to a 2019 survey, Google Assistant responds to 100 percent of the queries and answers almost 93 percent of them correctly. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa responses were 83 percent and 80 percent correct respectively.
Improved supply chain
Let’s take the transport and delivery sector. With AI and IoT applications, smart tasks and sensors help keep track of inventory levels and even track an item in a warehouse. Companies are managing stocks more efficiently and improving their cash flow. This means a business will never over-order and make sure the most wanted products are in stock. This concerns especially big businesses.
We may keep on listing the benefits but let’s get to tech aspects.
AI for IoT Applications: How Does It Work?
How do AI for IoT applications function? AI works with algorithms that learn repeated patterns or features in the data collected by IoT sensors. The human brain is not able to find so many patterns in undefined data. So, what AI applications do is that they structure the data into a meaningful format comprehensible to the human mind.
Here is the technology stack needed to build an AI application.
You also need artificial intelligence frameworks and APIs. An example is Microsoft CNTK which is an open-source deep learning framework. This framework provides algorithms and model descriptions.
Other examples of AI application building tools include Tensorflow, Caffe, Theano, Amazon Machine Learning, etc.
AI For IoT Applications and Industry 4.0
The transition to the digitization of manufacturing is so striking that it is termed Industry 4.0. The term denotes the adoption of computers and automation to process data and produce smart autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning. Sometimes it is referred to as Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) or smart manufacturing. The purpose is to create more holistic and better- connected ecosystems for manufacturing and supply chain management companies.
Let’s see how IoT powered by AI works in various industries.
AI and IoT in healthcare
Today billions of IoT devices are generating health-related sensor data. IoT in combination with AI serves the following functions:
Given the importance of automation of tasks in healthcare, AI algorithms in IoT devices play a significant role in improving operations efficiency.
Let’s take patient monitoring. Studies show that 30% of patients return to a hospital after surgery because of a lack of monitoring. Today remote patient monitoring can be possible with AI-powered Iot devices. IoT sensors can monitor a patient’s condition the whole day long and the doctors will be up-to-date about a patient’s condition all the time.
An example is asthma. Symptoms of an asthma attack can be notified to the patient half an hour to eight hours before with the Internet of Things. Patients carry a sensor connected inhaler that notifies about air pollen, temperature well before the actual asthma attack.
Another example is a blood clot. Information about blood clots is important for the treatment of various diseases like diabetes, stroke, etc. IoT in healthcare sensors can monitor blood coagulation and keep track of the patient’s condition lowering the risk factor.
AI and IoT in manufacturing
According to MarketsandMarkets, AI in manufacturing is likely to reach USD 16,7 billion by 2026. The driving forces for the expansion of AI in manufacturing are big data, IoT and automation, computer power, and venture capital investments.
An example is quality checks in factories. Today cameras equipped with AI high-resolution capacities can detect defects far more reliably than the human eye. These devices are integrated with cloud-based data processing framework that flag the defect and coordinate the response automatically.
Similarly, smart factories use Azure Machine Learning to detect any deficiencies in the machinery. This may save thousands of dollars as defects are spotted right away without delays.
Another example is customer service. Nokia is leading in this field creating systems that allow them to identify key customers and troubleshooting points.
AI and IoT in transportation
Tremendous changes are going to happen in the field of transportation. In fact, many projects have been already tested and massive adoption is on its way.
One example is self-driving cars like Tesla, BMW, and Mercedes. According to April 2021 data, there are already 1400 cars on the road in the USA. This number was predicted several years ago to be a lot higher but Covid-19 affected the manufacturing process as most of the factories were shut down.
Another example is autonomous trucks. These vehicles are not completely driverless but they resemble the auto-pilots of today’s planes.
Warehouse management is another sector positively affected by AI and IoT. For example in Amazon’s e-commerce warehouses, robot workers pick faster and detect warehouse inventory more efficiently.
In short, the future of transportation is already approaching and very soon we will see fascinating things on the roads.
AI and IoT at home
There is a high interest among consumers to purchase things that have process automation. E.g., they can automatically turn off the water tank if it is overfilled or decrease speed once they reach a certain level.
These robots act according to a set of instructions given to them. The request is input into the dataset of the robot. E.g. If you give an instruction to the robot to make tea when it is set for the creation of coffee, it will not understand you.
We already have smart connectivity devices in our homes like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. These advanced home security systems can be controlled through voice.
Other examples include smart locks, smoke alarms, and surveillance systems.
A lot of tasks are automated, such as turning off lights when the door is locked from the outside, running the robotic vacuum in the owner’s absence, and turning on the air purifier before the owner reaches home.
Samsung’s SmartThings family of products and Bixby voice control can recognize people in the house and make adjustments according to a person’s preference. Family members can control any smart device with Samsung TV and family hub refrigerator.
The new industrial revolution is not the future anymore. AI-powered IoT devices are everywhere — on the roads, in the factories, and at home. AI and IoT are like the brain and the body.
How much impact will they have on an ordinary person’s life? E.g., will that take away from privacy? This ethical question still needs to be answered as these devices collect lots of information — even your social media behavior data.
One thing is clear. We want it or not, we are stepping into a new era where computers and robots will play a much bigger role than ever. Of course, it takes a gradual approach and it is a matter of the combination of human decisions and autonomous decisions. We have to be very cautious of when it makes sense and when it doesn’t.
If you have an idea in your mind and want to give it a real-life shape, we recommend dropping a note to Addevice, a mobile app development company that has built dozens of applications like yours. Don’t trust our words. Read our portfolio and let’s talk about real things.