Intelligent things, as manifest in smart cars, IoT-enabled industrial systems, and more, represent the future. However, the future still has to be realized, and it requires considerable effort before tempting possibilities translate to real-life workable solutions.
The Mainstreaming of Intelligent Things
Intelligent things interact smartly with its surroundings and the wider ecosystem. However, not all intelligent things are equal. Different intelligent things have various levels of autonomy. For instance, drones are capable of dodging objects autonomously, whereas self-directed vacuum cleaners have very limited autonomy. There is also a long way to go before such autonomous things prove its worth in an at-scale, business environment, and permeate into our day-to-day lives.
As of now, the biggest application of intelligent things is in controlled settings and geofenced zones, such as in warehousing, mining, and farming operations. Smart driverless vehicles perhaps hold the biggest promise for intelligent things to break the shackles of operating in a controlled environment, and impact every single human being connected to civilization. However, even here, the actual position on the ground does not match the hype. Estimates suggest the use of autonomous vehicles being limited to well-defined, geofenced and controlled areas. There is also the legal requirement in many geographies for a person in the driver’s seat should anything go wrong, considering the accidents such vehicles have encountered over the last couple of years.
The onus is on the stakeholders of the emerging technology, such as industry leaders and solution providers, to develop workable solutions that would push autonomous cars and other intelligent things into the mainstream. Embedding Artificial Intelligence into everyday use things require greater interactions between the digital thing and the human consumer. Three technologies which contribute to the purpose are conversational platforms, immersive experience solutions, and blockchain mesh technologies.
Conversational Platforms to Bring Intelligent Things Closer to Mainstream
Propelling intelligent things to mainstream requires enabling the “thing” to have greater interactions with humans, and here the stakes of conversational platforms run high.
Conversational platforms represent a shift in approach, from the conventional technology-literate people to the forward-looking people-literate technology. In other words, it entails shifting the burden of translating intent from the user to the computer.
The basic feature of any conversational system is the system taking commands in the user’s natural language. The different conversational system basically translates the natural language to computing language, to execute the user’s intention, in many different ways. With maturing technology, providers seek to offer differentiation through co-opting advanced capabilities such as emotion detection capabilities through facial expression analysis, human health status through olfactory analysis, and more.
Amazon Echo, a simple speaker connected wirelessly to an assistant, powered by machine learning, is the most common manifestation of conversational interfaces, as of now. The future holds potential for developing several such systems, and expand its scope, both in scope and breath.
Immersive Experience Unlock Newer Possibilities
The immersive experience, manifesting in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) solutions, offer a paradigm shift in the way in which people interact with the digital world. VR’s computer-generated 3D environment encompasses the user, and offers natural overtones to the engagement. AR solutions interlay or annotate a digital layer atop the natural layer, to offer greater clarity and deeper insights. The best immersive experience builds on the visual aspect of the experience and co-opts other sensory aspects such as haptic feedback (touch) and spatial audio (sound).
Interest in immersive experience is growing by the day, as its potential to offer viable solutions outside the entertainment sphere becomes manifest. Providers are developing Immersive experience-based solutions to deeper customer engagement, to deliver better field service capabilities, and to offer viable solutions for several other real-life scenarios.
The VR and AR market attracted funding to the tune of $2.09 billion in 2016, and investments are rising every year. In 2017, Apple introduced ARKit 15 and Google introduced ARCore, both delivering an immersive experience in mobile computing devices.
The Blockchain Mesh Brings Control and Sanity to the Innovations
Amidst the nearly infinite possibilities in the artificial intelligence enabled digital sphere, the question of trust and security often acts as a dampener in the works. However, blockchain and other distributed-ledger technologies rise to the occasion, offering the promise of trust in untrusted environments, and eliminating the need for a central authority.
Blockchain, by making the ledger independent of individual applications and users, facilitates distributed trust architecture, and enable untrusted parties to undertake commercial and other transactions, with a high degree of safety and reliability.
The potential to remove business and technology friction, the promise of enabling native asset creation and distribution, and the facilitation of a managed trust model makes blockchain a very powerful and sought after tool. However, here again, the onus is on smart providers to offer consumable products to the customers. The most manifest application of blockchain as of now has been in bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. It is only when industry players leverage the technology to develop viable solutions in other niches, related to healthcare, government, manufacturing, supply chain, content distribution, identity verification, title registry, and more, will the real benefits and potential of the model become manifest, and the technology will enter the mainstream.
The onus is on industry leaders like us to leverage the emerging technologies, and develop cutting-edge innovative solutions which will bring Artificial Intelligence to the masses, and make it mainstream. We at Theory-Y is up to the task, delivering robust Artificial Intelligence based solutions to facilitate startups and others make day-to-day use appliances, hospital equipment, and many other “things” smart.