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Adding Artificial Intelligence to IoT Solutions for a Stronger Proof of Value

The purpose of this article is to present the actual applications of combining AI and IoT being used in industry to generate strong value, and to demonstrate important trends that will create even more compelling future use cases.

So, there is a clear connection (no pun) between the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

If IoT is about connecting (usually wirelessly) machines and making use of the data generated from those machines (via visualisation platforms or App), AI is about adding an extra software layer, using that data to bring more intelligent behaviours in machines of all kinds.

IoT needs AI and vice versa: As IoT devices will generate large amounts of data from different sources and type of sensors, then AI will be functionally necessary to deal with these huge volumes to make more sense of that data. Data is only useful if it creates an action. With IoT, you can geolocate & monitor equipment, you can receive alerts if a sensor data is outside of thresholds, you can receive meter index…. But to make data truly actionable, it needs to be supplemented with context. IoT and AI together is this context, i.e. ‘connected intelligence’ and not just connected devices.

Traditional methods of analysing structured data and creating action are not designed to efficiently process the vast amounts of real-time data that stream from IoT devices. This is where AI-based analysis and response becomes critical for extracting optimal value from that data.

AI is beneficial for both real-time and post event processing:

In fact, it is machine learning (a component of the more generic AI term) that provides the ability to detect patterns in data presented. It learns from these patterns in order to adjust the ways in which it then analyses that data or triggers actions. With machine learning embedded into an IoT environment, you get more ‘connected intelligence’:

  • Predictive analytics – ‘What will happen?’

At the most basic level AI enables the power of prediction to forecast and mitigate risky events. This enables organisations to use real-time data to determine when machinery and equipment is likely to break down – so action can be taken to prevent failure and its associated cost via pro-active intervention.

  • Prescriptive analytics – ‘What should we do?’

A second level is the power of prescription. Equipping intelligent sensors with logic to drive action means outages or disasters can be avoided. For example, railway track sensors can warn against track failures, or autonomous vehicles can course-correct when the car veers away from the centre of the lane.

  • Adaptive/continuous analytics – ‘What are the appropriate actions or decisions?  How should the system adapt to the latest changes?’

At an even more advanced level, AI with IoT can deliver an adaptive or autonomous response. This means solutions can incorporate continuous data feeds – where the system learns to take the optimal action without human intervention. So, for example in Agriculture, soil monitoring let’s you determine the nutrients and water level of your soil, so currently farmer can precisely determine the level of fertilisers to be applied and in which areas. But with autonomous tractors, we could easily imagine that all this could be done automatically and precisely and even taking into account the weather forecasts from your own connected weather station.

To give another example that takes into account the 3 parts above, let’s have a look at HVAC monitoring. Predictive: by closely monitoring HVAC systems, you can establish patterns that will determine its over power consumption, malfunctioning or even failure if you wait too long. Prescriptive: the units could be serviced at the optimal time, not too early because it would be near pointless but just before it starts overconsuming, consequently saving on maintenance cost and energy consumption. Adaptive: Imagine, taking into account multiple sources of data such as weather conditions or traffic flow into the building, for even more precise HVAC usage & potential issues with a system that could also clean itself when required. We are not far but not there yet.

 

Potential Future Uses for AI-Powered IoT Devices

Today’s IoT applications are useful in understanding trends, as they lay out areas in which “traction” is proven and directions where big-company and venture money is already moving. Beyond driverless cars or predictive maintenance of equipments at the tip of the iceberg, there are other potential IoT+AI applications. Hereafter a few useful articles for insight into potential combinations of IoT and AI:

 

AI and IOT, complementary technology for value creation

IoT, augmented and enhanced by Machine Learning, is effectively multiplying the impact and benefit to businesses who are adopting these complimentary technologies.  In fact, AI can be an integral element for success in today’s IoT-based digital ecosystems.

The reason is simple. Combining IoT with rapidly advancing AI technologies can create ‘smart machines’ that simulate intelligent behaviour to make well-informed decisions with little or no human intervention.

As new technology applications emerge where IoT works hand in hand with AI – the resulting innovations are proving how IoT can create new markets and opportunities, disrupt traditional business models and dramatically change the competitive landscape. Thus, the companies looking to make the most of opportunities to positively impact revenues, safety, resilience and customer experience are being fast on the uptake of this powerful pairing of transformative technologies.

We’re now seeing significant investment in the convergence of IoT and AI. Worth reading the article on the Top 25 IoT Startups To Watch In 2019. Those start-ups are concentrating on how to make IoT a growth catalyst for enterprises by designing in AI integration at the platform level. Also a good read is why are AI and IoT perfect partners for growth?

The result is an acceleration in innovation which can significantly boost productivity for the organisations involved. Little wonder then that the IoT and AI markets are developing rapidly and in tandem.

Conclusion

However, just as AI and IoT can ultimately empower organisations with strong value creation, so the same, strong combination is requiring a more adaptive strategic response from the management of those organisations. If data is the new oil and knowledge is power, most managers are still at the beginning of the learning curve, with few implementing small minor IoT projects before even thinking of adding AI capabilities, for the cases where AI indeed complements IoT.

This leads to teams without the real motivation (or committed resources) to drive an actual result. Businesses must pick a major problem to have a high likelihood of being solved. What mission-critical business information are you dying to know, but can’t currently access and that could be resolved by first, having IoT data and second, refining that everchanging data with AI? Then with that in place, how would you implement it in your business? IoT & AI often involved change of processes that must be embraced by staff as well as customers to be successful. This goes beyond value creation, this is digital transformation at its finest, but this is not for everyone…

One last word, we mainly talked about “Narrow AI”, where AI is used in combination with IoT to perfect one task, either perfecting HVAC monitoring or perfecting soil cropping. But the near future lays in “General AI”, where systems could adjust to solve any tasks, taking info from the web, humans or any IoT sensors talking to each other. Will the be the judgement day of the Terminator?


A Short Glossary of AI and IoT

This article has been written with the professional or executive in mind, rather than the researcher. So we provide hereafter a short broad definitions (and related links) of IoT & AI terms:

Internet of things: Network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment (Gartner). 2 main categories:

  • Consumer IoT: the fitbit style solutions attached or close to humans, to monitor their personal environment, behaviour or health. The devices are usually only linked to a personal App.
  • Industrial IoT (IIoT): This is usually referring to industrial or smart cities applications, connecting multiple devices to create efficiencies by better monitoring &/or geolocating equipment. The devices are usually linked to an IoT platform, which is usually integrated to CRM or ERP systems.

Artificial intelligence: an area of computer science that deals with giving machines the ability to seem like they have human intelligence and being able to identify some human senses such as hearing (eg speech recognition and interaction) and sight (eg visual or facial recognition). It is divided into different sub categories:

  • Machine learning: a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. Using algorithms that iteratively learn from data, machine learning allows computers to find hidden insights without being explicitly programmed where to look (SAS), eg. predictive maintenance.
  • Deep learning: a branch of machine learning based on a set of algorithms that attempt to model high-level abstractions in data by using multiple processing layers with complex structures, or otherwise composed of multiple non-linear transformations (Wikipedia), eg. IBM Watson debating capabilities

Want to know more about AI, read this article.

Inaugural Australia summit 2019 Morgan StanleyWatch recording of the Morgan Stanley Inaugural Australia Summit -June 2019 where Catriona Wallace (CEO @Flamingo AI), Cheesun Choong, (CTO @ Hyper Anna), Scott Helfstein (Global Co-Head of Market Research and Strategy @ Morgan Stanley) and Renald Gallis (VP Marketing & Ecosystem @ Thinxtra) were talking about AI & IoT as the new current disruptors.

 


About Thinxtra
Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Macao by operating the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as enabling a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services partners to connect the non-connected, to increase productivity, to accelerate decision making, to improve quality of service and quality of life, and to find more economical solutions to common problems with the ultimate aim to create more efficiencies in a carbon constrained world.

PR Contact: Renald Gallis – VP Marketing +61 404 894 960 renald.gallis@thinxtra.com

Sigfox opens radio specifications for connected objects

To celebrate the 8th World Radio Day, under the patronage of UNESCO, Sigfox, the world’s leading IoT service provider and first global 0G network operator, has publicly released the specifications of its radio protocol for connected objects.

Impact of Open Radio Specifications

By putting the specification in the public domain, everyone can now create their own Sigfox object. The release of these specifications will allow open source implementations, and more opportunities for developers and manufacturers of connected objects. As soon as all the tests are done, the manufacturer will only have to register its object on the Sigfox network to benefit from it.

Sigfox expects a boom in the number of objects connected to its network as new players in the IoT space take advantage of this opportunity, with global full support from Sigfox. The Sigfox ecosystem will expand further, as they democratise the technology beyond device makers.

The Sigfox standard

This move will apply to connected objects, rather than Sigfox’s base stations and infrastructure, as those are protected by patents. Until now, the specification of objects was shared under NDA upon request, while Sigfox wanted to control the number of objects applying to connect to its network.

The opening of the specification has always been part of Sigfox’s ambition and we’re excited for the thousands of new use cases that will emerge. Our partners all over the world are looking forward to being part of this development” says Christophe Fourtet, co-founder of Sigfox. (View the whole interview on youtube)

In the IoT market more generally, this opening is a so-called “classic” step in the establishment of a standard, like Bluetooth for example. This means that tomorrow Sigfox’s 0G network, in addition to the B2B markets already addressed to date, will also become a reference on local or more consumer-oriented use cases.

With more than 30 years of expertise in radiocommunication, particularly in defined by software and cognitive ones, Christophe Fourtet, invites the academic community and the research community to seize this opportunity, for the next generation of engineers to participate in the coming evolutions of the protocol.

To access the specification : build.sigfox.com/sigfox-device-radio-specifications

By opening its radio specifications to the public, Sigfox strengthens its position as the global provider of 0G connectivity


About Sigfox
Sigfox is the initiator of the 0G network and the world’s leading IoT (Internet of Things) service provider. Its global network allows billions of devices to connect to the Internet, in a straightforward way, while consuming as little energy as possible. Sigfox’s unique approach to device-to-cloud communications addresses the three greatest barriers to global IoT adoption: cost, energy consumption and global scalability.

Today, the network is available in 60 countries, with 1 billion people covered. Surrounded by a large ecosystem of partners and IoT key players, Sigfox empowers companies to move their business model towards more digital services, in key areas such as Asset Tracking and Supply Chain. Founded in 2010 by Ludovic Le Moan and Christophe Fourtet, the company is headquartered in France, and also has offices in Madrid, Munich, Boston, Dallas, San Jose, Dubai, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.


About Thinxtra
Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong by operating the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as enabling a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services partners to connect the non-connected, to increase productivity, to accelerate decision making, to improve quality of service and quality of life, and to find more economical solutions to common problems with the ultimate aim to create more efficiencies in a carbon constrained world.

PR Contact: Renald Gallis – VP Marketing +61 404 894 960 renald.gallis@thinxtra.com

EDF chooses Ticatag solution, designed by Thinxtra

EDF (first producer of renewable electricity in Europe) has chosen Ticatag and its ultra-low-power Internet of Things devices (designed by Thinxtra) to optimise some of its logistics flows.

After more than a year of experimentation with the technology, the EDF group launched a call for tenders last september to equip some of its low-consumption sensor maintenance containers. By responding with its latest range of Tifiz Xtrak and Xsense IoT devices developed jointly with the company Thinxtra (Asiapac Sigfox Operator and IoT device maker), Ticatag was able to seduce the EDF group and win against other players in the market. The contract was signed for a period of 4 years and targeting a specific fleet of equipment.

For EDF, This is the opportunity to partner with an agile partner and enjoy a pragmatic solution that meets the technical and economic challenges of the group.

In line with the EDF Pulse challenge and Electric Days, EDF is continuing its digital transition and taking advantage of new technologies that serve industry 4.0 jobs.

By choosing an innovative IoT solution, EDF aims for a quick return on investment by optimising its logistic flows as well as increasing security and improving the transport conditions of its equipment. By anticipating assets’ deteriorations and optimising their journeys , it will reduce the cost and carbon footprint of its maintenance activities.

Resulting from an internal approach, EDF teams innovate and fully commit to the digital transformation of the group by simplifying and optimising processes.

For Ticatag, this contract is the first real contract with a reference player in the world of B2B. “Until today, we were mainly known for our mass market products with our connected keyring and our Tifiz tracker. Since the release in 2015 of our GPS beacon, many professionals had used our solution, seduced by the simplicity of the interface and the autonomy of the technology, to respond to new usages such as tracking low cost unpowered assets. This is simply what attracted EDF after having qualified for several months the products … we are very proud of it.” says Yann Mac Garry, CEO of Ticatag

TheTicatag device designed by Thinxtra: A unique tracking device (including GPS & WiFi sniffing for improved geolocation outdoor as well as indoor) with BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to set up device by maintenance crew and with the Sigfox connectivity to allow the device to work independently of anyone’s phone. Such simple Internet of Things device is the perfect tool for a new breed of business applications. Watch the video.

“We are moving from a world of manual management of assets to a world of wirelessly connected assets coupled with artificial intelligence. We see more and more things being connected because they simply bring real value to optimise usage of assets. Ticatag is leading the market in this field, and we are delighted to have been chosen as their manufacturing partner of choice for low cost IoT devices to support their expansion and act as catalyst for global growth and carbon footprint reduction.” Said Loic Barancourt, CEO of Thinxtra.


About EDF (Electricite de France)

EDF is a French electric utility company, largely owned by the French state. Headquartered in Paris, with €71.2 billion in revenues in 2016, EDF operates a diverse portfolio of 120+ gigawatts of generation capacity in Europe, South America, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
The company’s operations include the following: electricity generation and distribution; power plant design, construction and dismantling; energy trading; and transport. It is active in such power generation technologies as nuclear power, hydropower, marine energies, wind power, solar energy, biomass, geothermal energy and fossil-fired energy.
In 2011, EDF was the world’s largest producer of electricity, supplying 22% of the European Union’s electricity, primarily from nuclear power.


About Ticatag

Ticatag, a French start-up founded in 2013, competes in the market of connected objects and the Internet of Things focused on Location Based Services. Spin off from the Alcatel-Lucent Telecom supplier, Ticatag has gained comprehensive experience in various communication technologies that enable it to develop a range of products and a complete solution system (including device and platform).

For more information, www.ticatag.com
Contact: Yann Mac Garry – CEO +33 6 08 45 23 83 yann.mac-garry@ticatag.com


About Thinxtra

Thinxtra was founded by IoT and network experts who share a common passion for connecting things to improve business processes and people lives.

Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Asia Pacific by deploying the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as building a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services to enable the non-connected to connect.

Thinxtra is backed by NZX-listed high-tech company Rakon Ltd, which has a history of innovation in communications technology going back some 50 years as well as the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation), an Australian Government fund with a mission to accelerate local transformation towards a more competitive economy in a carbon constrained world.

Contact: Renald Gallis – VP Marketing +61 404 894 960 renald.gallis@thinxtra.com

Thinxtra at IoT Asia 2018

Sigfox was a platinum sponsor of this year’s edition of the biggest Internet Of Things event in the AsiaPac region with a central booth that was showcasing 100+ solutions across different vertical markets (Agtech, Smart Cities, Smart Industry, and Smart Home) from the different local solutions makers based in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan as well as 25+ from Australia and New Zealand.

Roswell Wolff, President, Sigfox Asia Pacific “IoT Asia is a platform for us to communicate with new partners (network partners, operating and ecosystem players, from devices makers to platforms suppliers) and present our capabilities to attendees from Asia. Equally important, Sigfox considers the show as a showcase for the use cases of IoT around the region.”

The show was a clear success for Sigfox and its partners (watch the short video), as the main LPWAN technology presenting by far the most solutions there and a large audience of 6000 IoT visitors keen to trial them.

Thanks to all our Thinxtra local partners: 37South, Abibird, AirTracker, ATF, Bee Inventor, CCP, Defond, Digital Matter, Eden Worth, Ellenex, GPS Engine, Motiv, PiP IoT, Silicon Controls, TuckerBox, Truesense, Waterwatch…  for making it happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, see you at Fieldays in NZ and IoT Impact in Sydney


About IoT Asia

For the past 5 years, IoT Asia has been at the forefront of bringing global collaboration and partnershipopportunities to governments, businesses and communities in Asia. IoT Asia is an award winning stage that brings together technology heads, design architects, solution architects, engineers, academic institutions, investors and start-ups to assess the latest trends and partnership models in Asia.
6th edition returns on 27 and 28 March 2019 at Singapore EXPO. For more information, visit www.internetofthingsasia.com/

About Thinxtra

Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Asia Pacific by deploying the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as building a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services to enable the non-connected to connect, to increase productivity, accelerate decision making, improve quality of service and quality of life, and find more economical solutions to common problems.

Contact: Renald Gallis – VP Marketing +61 404 894 960 renald.gallis@thinxtra.com

AbiBird: world-first, Australian technology to support elderly

Introducing AbiBird: world-first, Australian technology to support older Australians being trialled in Perth

Families in Moreton Bay (QLD) will be the first in the world to benefit from a new technology that has the potential to transform the lives of older people by giving their families peace of mind that they are ok.

“AbiBird” was invented in Australia to support people who want to retain their independence as they age. The AbiBird sensor contains technology that understands and tracks ‘normal’ day and night activity within a home and is paired to the smartphone of a family member or carer.

A quick glance at the AbiBird app will confirm that someone is going about their routine as usual. If activity exceeds normal routines, or motion stops for a period of time, AbiBird will immediately send an alert.

The sensor is placed on a wall or shelf and does not have a camera or microphone, allowing people to go about their daily lives without being watched or listened to, or dealing with a wearable device. AbiBird takes just a few seconds to install and families and carers have full control over how alerts are set up, configured and shared.

James Tucker, AbirBird’s General Manager said: “AbiBird is a perfect antidote to the normal worries people have about the wellbeing of their older parents. My mother is one of the 3.7 million Australians who are aged 65 and older. She is fiercely independent, has lived an incredibly active life and is perfectly happy in her own home. AbiBird’s app lets me check that mum’s up and about as usual, without being a nuisance to her. If something unusual does happen, like activity at the front door late at night, or a change in routine, it will send me an alert. It also means that when I call, mum knows I’m calling to chat rather than check up on her. The reality is that falls are a leading cause of injury for older people and most happen at home while getting in or out of bed or a chair or in the bathroom. Each year, one in three people aged 65 and over has a substantial fall, and half of people over 80 have multiple falls. When you consider that thirty per cent of people who fall need medical attention, and one in four people over 65 live alone, the risk of not being able to get help if needed is actually very high. The beauty of AbiBird’s technology is that your family’s privacy is protected, but if something does happen and they need help, they can signal AbiBird to send an alert from wherever they are in the house.”

Ahead of its international launch, AbiBird is looking for 500 families to participate in a free two-month trial. Participants must:

  • have a family member who is 65 or older and lives alone or with a partner in Moreton Bay.
  • have a family member(s) who lives elsewhere and is willing to download and use the app on their smartphone
  • be willing to complete a short, anonymous survey after six weeks with any feedback they have
As seen on 7 News: and on TodayTonight:

Key Facts


About Abibird

AbiBird is a small, unobtrusive device that can be placed on a wall or a shelf. It uses world-first intelligent technology and a discreet motion sensor to track ‘normal’ day and night activity that is displayed on paired Smartphones via an app. A quick glance will confirm that your loved one is going about their routine as usual. If activity exceeds normal routines, or motion stops for a set period of time, AbiBird will immediately send you an alert.

A key difference between AbiBird and alternative products is that AbiBird offers wireless, unobtrusive monitoring without the need for a wearable device or a telephone or Internet connection.  AbiBird’s technology operates over the global Sigfox IoT network which allows secure, low cost, low power, high-frequency connectivity between the sensor and the app (included as part of the AbiBird service).

For more information, www.abibird.com.au
PR Contact: Chris Williams, Boxing Clever  +61 403 514 773 cwilliams@boxingclever.net.au


About Thinxtra

Thinxtra was founded by IoT and network experts who share a common passion for connecting things to improve business processes and people lives.

Thinxtra is empowering the Internet of Things in Asia Pacific by deploying the world-leading Sigfox LPWA network as well as building a full eco-system of IoT solutions and services to enable the non-connected to connect.

Thinxtra is backed by NZX-listed high-tech company Rakon Ltd, which has a history of innovation in communications technology going back some 50 years as well as the CEFC (Clean Energy Finance Corporation), an Australian Government fund with a mission to accelerate local transformation towards a more competitive economy.

Contact: Renald Gallis – VP Marketing +61 404 894 960 renald.gallis@thinxtra.com

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