Cristina Ferrero Castaño
The Artificial Intelligence of Things
Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two popular acronyms that have become disruptive forces in technology, transforming the way people, businesses and governments interact. Today, these technologies continue to advance thanks to an innovative combination of the two, called Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT).
December 9, 2021
So far, AI is broadly defined as intelligence-driven machines that are able to perform human-like tasks: virtual assistance, self-awareness or automation activities. IoT, on the other hand, is based on the interconnection of computers and devices that can collect, transfer and communicate data in real time over networks and without any human intervention. When combined, these two technologies are capable of multiplying their benefits, improving the operations, interaction, data management and analytics of organisations.
IoT systems, which bring together connected devices and equipment, are designed to control and trigger signals. For example, by feeding data into a health app, it will be able to return other meaningful information from the monitoring of heart rate, blood pressure or temperature carried out by those devices, triggering responses that feed back into things. In the case of AI, machines learn from data algorithms, from a set of rules or by processing information. As a result, they are able to make decisions and complete tasks.
By merging AI and IoT to get AIoT, IoT devices will be able to analyse data on every device or equipment to make proactive, intelligent and accurate decisions without any human involvement. Gradually, these devices will gain intelligence and will be able to process information and act more quickly and accurately.
It is understandable and natural that we are reluctant to trust machine intelligence more than human intelligence, but the advent of AIoT may help to bridge that gap. Not surprisingly, there are already real cases where AIoT is being applied in a natural way.
Security, vehicles and intelligent buildings
For example, AIoT is already used for surveillance tasks in retail establishments, analysing data and images in real time in order to detect unusual situations and people with suspicious attitudes within a given location.
Similarly, AI and IoT also interact in smart office buildings, helping to manage energy through sensors that control lighting, or in security tasks, capturing the physical movement of people or controlling access to the building. These technologies are able to create patterns for each employee, identifying the path that each one usually takes from the moment they enter the building until they arrive at their workstation. By analysing people's movements, it is also possible to improve building design and facilitate entry and exit flows.
AIoT applications can also be found in new autonomous vehicles. Tesla is a good example. It uses radar, GPS and cameras to enable the vehicle to make real-time decisions based on the driving conditions at any given moment. The data is collected through interconnected IoT systems and analysed with the aim of generating an action.
Examples such as the above demonstrate that IoT is already getting smarter with the integration of AI, and that it is only a matter of time before organisations integrate these two technologies in a natural way so that machines and systems are able to identify and gain intelligent insights from data to make accurate decisions without the need for human intervention.