The Role of AI in IoT

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The Role of AI in IoT

In this article, take a look at the role of AI in IoT and see the benefits of integrating the two.

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Have you ever wondered how everything around us is becoming so smart? 

How the gadgets possess the to make human-like decisions?

And how are we able to change our surrounding in just the click of a button?

Well, the answer to all these wonders lie in the buzzwords IoT and AI, which are the most powerful technologies today and when blended, lead to the emergence of even more powerful technology that possesses the ability to change the world around itself.

Now, before discussing how IoT and AI are help organizations and people and the need of blending the two, I would like to brief you with AI and IoT as two different technologies and their relevance in the present world for better understanding.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Have you ever wondered how smart air conditioners gather all the data regarding outside temperature and adjust the room temperature accordingly?

Well, the answer to this question lies in the term Internet of Things, which was coined by Kevin Ashton in his presentation of Procter and Gamble in the year 1999.

Internet of Things refers to things or devices that are connected to the internet, and can collect and process data to make smart decisions. These devices can be as simple as air conditioners at our homes to complex stuff like wearable devices and smart cars.

The importance of internet of things lies in the fact that they help to collect real-time data based on which organizations or people can make more practical and intelligent decisions as theoretical information and knowledge is never considered enough for effective decision making. Thus, the popularity of IoT is growing exponentially and this fact can be verified from a survey conducted by Business Insider which projected that by 2027, there will be more than 41 billion IoT devices compared to 8 billion in 2019.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, also called Machine Intelligence refers to the process of simulating intelligence in machines which resembles human intelligence thereby making the machines think and act like humans. 

The three main phases in AI are:

  1. Learning
  2. Reasoning and
  3. Perception

These phases make the use of AI algorithms which are designed to help the machines make intelligent decisions often using real-time data and then act accordingly.

An example of AI is self-driving cars that have the ability to act like humans by making decisions like whether to turn right or left, whether to stop or not, detecting traffic, adjusting speed etc.

The Power of Blending AI and IoT

Having understood the power of IoT and AI individually, we can now move forward to understanding the need of blending AI and IoT. When artificial intelligence is combined with internet of things, we get something called Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT)

The main reason behind combining AI with IoT is, while IoT devices serve the purpose of collecting all the data and transferring it to usually cloud or any other space where data can be accumulated through the internet, AI, which is considered as the brain of AIoT is what actually helps in decision making and simulating the machines to act or respond.

For better and in-depth understanding, we can again consider the example of smart air conditioner that we discussed above. The smart air conditioners have sensors installed in them which are actually responsible for detecting the outside temperature. But a sensor can only collect data and mere collection of data does not serve the purpose of a smart device. It is the artificial intelligence component blended with IoT devices that actually helps in making intelligent decisions. Thus, the AI component in the air conditioner is what helps in adjusting the room temperature ultimately. One such AIoT enabled air-conditioner is being manufactured by a company, ASHARE. You can click here to get a better insight of their product.

The steps followed by AIoT devices are elaborated below for a better understanding of the decision-making process of these devices. 

1. Data Collection

Data is collected with the help of sensors installed in the IoT devices. These sensors are a part of the actual devices and there can be multiple sensors attached to a single device for collecting different types of data. 

For example, a device can have multiple sensors like a camera, GPS, accelerometer etc. for collecting different kinds of data.

 2. Data Transmission

The collected data is then transmitted for storage usually to cloud because of its huge volume. Cloud helps to lower the cost of storage because organizations do not have to spend hefty amounts on installing hardware for storing huge amounts of data.

 3. Data Processing

The data stored in the cloud serves no purpose if it is not processed. Processing the data comprises of various phases like extracting the relevant data from the cloud, cleaning the data and making it free from all anomalies, converting it to a standard format and then applying algorithms to derive insights.

 4. Data Prediction

Machine learning and deep learning algorithms are the keys to predicting future events. After building relevant models, predictions can be made on the basis of obtained results.

 5. Action

After making predictions, the last step is for the machines to act as per the generated insights.

The steps discussed clearly describe the relevance of blending IoT with AI. While the former helps in collecting data from different resources, the latter helps the devices to draw meaningful insights from the collected data and act smartly.

So, we can say that the value of IoT is determined in its analysis and acting phase which has no meaning without AI.

Benefits of Integrating AI with IoT

1. Improved Customer Experience

Customer experience can be greatly improved with a plethora of AIoT devices available to us because these devices have the ability to learn the user preferences and adjust accordingly.

For example, thermostats in smart homes have the ability to adjust temperatures all by themselves without any human intervention.

 2. Connected Intelligence

With AI embedded in IoT, we can experience more “connected intelligence” due to the fact that predictive analytics (what will happen?), prescriptive analytics (what should be done?) and adaptive analytics (what are the appropriate actions to be considered? How should the system adapt to new changes?), all are handled by a single device.

 3. Low Unplanned Downtime

In the industrial setups, machine failures and breakdowns are a common problem and this unplanned downtime can cost a huge amount of money as operations can suddenly come to a halt. But this problem can be solved with the help of AIoT which helps in consistently monitoring all the equipment and identifying patterns which ultimately help to predict machine failures well in time.

Deloitte in a survey found that in manufacturing units, predictive maintenance of machines helps to increase equipment availability by 10-20% and reduce the overall maintenance costs by 5-10%.

4. New Products and Services

Embedding AI with IoT can directly help in creating new and powerful products and services possessing the power of collecting and analysing data to make smart, human-like decisions as per the situation.

For example, iRobot Roomba, developed by 3 members of MIT’s Artificial Labs used IoT and AI to clean a room efficiently. This robotic vacuum cleaner has a set of embedded sensors that help it to detect obstacles in its way and all the dirty spots on the floor. It uses the most economical movements for cleaning by essentially remembering the layout of the house.

 5. Real-Time Monitoring and Actions

AI enabled IoT devices can also help in strict monitoring activities. An example of real-time monitoring is Google Maps that come to our rescue when it comes to choosing routes. They monitor real-time traffic and provide us with all the information like estimated time to reach a place and suitable routes.

6. Enhanced Risk Management

A large number of applications pairing IoT with AI can also help organizations to predict and well manage a variety of risks and threats such as worker safety, cyber threats, financial losses etc.

 Real-World Examples of AI Embedded IoT Devices

1.Traffic Management

Traffic is a real problem in urban areas and there is a consistent need for efficient traffic management to avoid congestion. Traffic management can be difficult if it has to be done by humans as it would only lead to chaos and confusion. AIoT, however, is a smart solution to this problem. Real-time traffic can now be managed efficiently using drones that can monitor large areas and transmit the traffic data which can then be analysed using AI for final decision making like adjusting traffic lights without human intervention.

An example of this system is ET City Brain, a product developed by Alibaba cloud. This system possesses the ability to detect accidents, illegal parking and can also possesses the power to change traffic lights as required.

A research paper was also published by IJETSR to explain the working of how drones use AI to manage traffic and the future of traffic management drones. You can click here for the in-depth understanding of the same.

 2. Self- Driving Cars

Self-driving cars are another use case of IoT devices embedded with AI. Tesla’s self-driving cars are the best example. With the help of installed sensors and the power of AI, this car has the ability to make human-like decisions by determining the conditions of the surroundings. For example, they can determine the optimal speed, weather and road conditions to make effective decisions.

 3. Smart Homes

IoT blended with AI has also lead to the emergence of smart homes concept. Smart homes have all the devices connected to each other with the help of IoT and these devices also possess the ability to make smart decisions with the help of AI. Smart homes tend to make our lives easier by giving us the power to control our devices even remotely. For example, we can pre-decide the time of switching on the television or making a call to the fire department in-case of fire. We can also turn our appliances on or off as required even when we are away from our homes.

 4. Body Sensors

Maintaining a good health is a big challenge for people today. Due to busy schedules, visiting doctors every now and then for regular check ups is also difficult for a huge chunk of population but this problem can also be solved with the help of wearable devices such as fitness trackers that help in tracking blood sugar levels, heartbeat, cholesterol levels and much more thereby helping in health management.

These sensors can also be used by construction companies to detect the posture of their laborers in order to avoid any kind injuries while working.

A paper was published by International Journal of Innovative Technology and Exploring Engineering (IJITEE) to explain how IoT blended with AI helps in posture recognition. You can click here for the in-depth understanding of this technology.

 5. Robots for Manufacturing Industries

Manufacturing Industries also make use of robots for manufacturing processes and these robots are nothing but another kind of AI embedded IoT devices. They help in enhancing the manufacturing processes by saving time and cost of processing.

An example is the use of robots by eye wear manufacturers for manufacturing lenses with a great precision.

 6. Face Detection

Face detectors are another important use case of AIoT. Face detection becomes important for crime investigation departments and even in offices for detecting the faces of employees for the purpose of attendance.

Another interesting area where face detectors are being used currently are shopping malls and other public places to keep a check on whether people are wearing masks or not and punishing the defaulters accordingly.

7. Retail Analytics

Management of staff in retail outlets is an important task because both over staffing and under staffing can lead to inefficient operations. With the use of sensors and AI, however, people entering the outlets and their movement inside the outlet can be observed in order to estimate the time they will take to reach the checkout line. The staff at the counter can then be increased or decreased accordingly to reduce the checkout time and increase productivity.

The captured data can also be used later for determining the peak hours and formulate management strategies well in advance.

 8. Smart Buildings

Another area of intersection of IoT and AI is smart office buildings. So, not only homes but a whole building can also have AIoT installed for better operational efficiency and management cost. Some companies for example, install a network of AIoT devices in their buildings and these devices can detect the presence of personnel and adjust the temperatures accordingly or turn off appliances where no one is present thereby increasing energy efficiency which ultimately leads to lower costs. 

There can be other devices too that help to detect fires or any other failures that can occur in the building.

 Key Takeaways

  1. Blending IoT and AI leads to the formation of a very powerful technology, AIoT, that helps make lives easier and smarter by providing devices the ability to collect data and then make human-like decisions by analyzing the data.
  2. AIoT tends to make human lives easier by giving people an access to control everything like the appliances at their homes, their cars, heath, etc. without physical intervention, in just the click of a button.
  3. AIoT is equally capable of making businesses effective and smart which leads to maximized profits and improved efficiencies with the help of robots, smart buildings, and other wearable devices for employees.
  4. It also possesses the power to help and manage a large number of people around the globe together with the help of technologies like maps for real-time traffic detection, traffic management systems, face detectors, etc.
ai artificial intelligence, ai iot integration, blending ai and iot, internet of things, iot

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