Power Trio: AI, Big Data and the IoT

Wednesday Apr 19th 2017 by Carl Weinschenk
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The IoT and artificial intelligence, often supported by Big Data, will combine, overlap and in other ways systematically drive telecommunications and enterprise IT forward during the coming years.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), often supported by Big Data, will combine, overlap and in other ways systematically drive telecommunications and enterprise IT forward during the coming years.

Today, IBM Watson and Harman Professional Solutions unveiled an offering that illustrates the potential of these new tools. Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms, which are outfitted with IBM Watson IoT and Harman speaker capabilities, respond to spoken questions and commands.

The AI element will expand its functionality over time as an individual uses the room more often. The system is in use at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, where patients can do such things as operate lights and window blinds.

The changes that the IoT, AI and Big Data portend are so fundamental that an entirely new approach is necessary, according to Samsung. Machines are now smart enough to do the heavy lifting. Samsung has introduced Bixby, an intelligent agent that will adapt the devices upon which it sits to users’ needs:

[I]nstead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us.

The company says that Bixby differs from intelligent agents available today because it will support almost all the tasks of the host device. It will also be context-aware and have “cognitive tolerance,” or the ability to deduce what the user is asking for from incomplete or fragmentary commands.

Expect the investment and innovation to continue. Today, technode reported that Lenovo plans to spend more than $1.2 billion on AI, IoT and Big Data research and development during the next four years. The news, based on reports from Chinese media, suggests that Lenovo is pushing back against the troubles being experienced by the smartphone and PC businesses. The investments will represent more than one-fifth of the company’s annual R&D investment by March 2021.

The IoT and AI are deeply linked. IoT Evolution used autonomous vehicles to illustrate the deeply linked and complementary nature of IoT and machine learning, a sub-discipline of AI. In this world, a car venturing out on the highway for the first time already knows the ropes (as well as the roads):

A Tesla, fresh off the production line, will have all the information collected by all the other Teslas that are currently on the road. Any new variable that is encountered can then be learned and shared with all connected cars, making the autopilot mode that much safer for all Tesla drivers.

The bottom line is that new and very powerful applications and uses are possible with these three standing as discrete technologies. Even more interesting products will emerge as they pool their talents.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

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