Will cognitive analytics make the IoT smarter?

Will cognitive analytics make the IoT smarter?

Will cognitive analytics make the IoT smarter?
(Graphic: BusinessWire)

The Internet of Things (IoT) could get a whole lot cleverer, here’s why

As we already know, the devices that populate the Internet of Things are often comparatively dumb units in their own right. From low-power sensors to rudimentary wearables, it is only once we start to apply analytics and provide a means of viewing the data generated that we can start to use words like intelligence.

Also read: 5 reasons why Internet of Things needs data analytics

Extra layers of intelligence

But could the IoT be about to get a whole lot smarter once the true intersection of cognitive computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are brought to bear? Shouldn’t we be talking about the IoT in relation to how the devices within it react to (and are augmented by) speech recognition through Natural Language Processing (NLU) — and how about image analysis too?

In short… isn’t the IoT about to graduate from high school and come right out of its adolescence now?

CEO of ‘decision engineering’ firm Absolutdata Anil Kaul argues that cognitive analytics is about have a significant impact upon the IoT. Speaking to Internet of Business on this issue he suggests that cognitive analytics will soon change the way IoT machines behave.

“Right now, there are systems being designed to adapt without human interference. They can draw on past data, their own information reserves and human training too to make a decision. For instance, they can lower the temperature of your house when everyone leaves for work in the morning through the use of technologies like motion detection and time-based analysis planning. As the technology driving cognitive analytics improves – and as these systems are given more data to analyse – it’s only logical to expect their performance to become more sophisticated,” said Kaul.

Also read: Making sense of Internet of Things with Big Data analytics

Possible futures

Looking at where application growth could develop here, Kaul suggests three areas where a more intelligent Internet of Things could flourish.

Smart cities, smart buildings — Entire commercial buildings will be monitored by sensors; inside, air temperature and humidity will be automatically modulated based on the weather and time of day (working time vs. quitting time). In the future we will see connections made to sensors in the clothing we wear to modulate individual work area temperatures. In the next future we will submit our DNA and vital signs to the building monitors so that our office can tell us whether we have drunk enough water or about to get ill.

Even smarter retail — Stores will automatically analyse foot traffic patterns and suggest the best layout for goods and service promotions in order to optimise the flow of customers and ultimately increase profits. In a radical future-world store, the internal format of shelving will move without human intervention via robotics.

Smart medicine — Implanted medical devices collect data about their own functionality and usefulness, which is used to build better, safer and more effective further devices.

We can expand this kind of ‘data cognition’ outward to almost every industry vertical from leisure to food production to travel. It is easy to talk about ‘intelligent automation’ as a throwaway term, but this is what it is i.e. it is our devices knowing how to behave before we tell them to.

Also read: Why the UK is playing catch-up with Big Data

Talking to robots

But it’s not a total severing of our connections with the machines. Yes, we will enjoy disconnected automation where it suits us, where it helps workplaces become more profitable and where it saves lives — but there will also be instances where we will want to communicate with the robots more directly. Perhaps not always speaking to them directly (although sometimes that too), but talking to robot-based messaging platforms that allows people to talk to business systems as if it were another person.

CEO of bot-based messaging platform company Kore is Raj Koneru. The future of work is robots he asserted speaking to Internet of Business i.e. our entire industrial structure is about to be reinvented.

“There has been much discussion on whether or not robots will take over our jobs. But in actuality, they won’t take your job; they’ll help give it back to you. With new technology like AI, machine learning and natural language processing, robots (aka bots) or virtual assistants are becoming commonplace,” he said.

“This technology is helping change the way we work. With bots, mindless work gets done instantly and leaders gain visibility into their team’s activities without micro managing. Teams can also collaborate more effectively and businesses reach customers even faster with the products or services they want. Overall, by taking advantage of bot-technology people can get back to doing the jobs they love and businesses improve employee engagement and customer service,” added Koneru.

Also read: IBM guru says Internet of Things business models still being worked out

Is it a win-win for IoT?

For the bot-focused commination and collaboration specialist, this is a win-win for all involved. But the question of where robot intelligence through cognitive computing connects with human beings is far from over. In reality though, this is just the beginning.


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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.