Edge computing, 5G and AI will drive value for the connected enterprise this year
Intelligent connectivity spread in 2021 as COVID-19 strangled the traditional working environment and demanded that enterprises find new ways to maintain productivity.
Now, with nearly 60% of increased confidence in IoT’s ability to generate business insights according to Omdia, there is ample runway for next-generation IoT applications and sensor-driven analytics.
Many drivers were present behind this change last year. Artificial intelligence models like TinyML were already in vogue. Edge computing architectures can easily sync factory, retail and venue IoT networks to the cloud, while connectivity protocols ranging from 5G to LoRAWAN and NB-IoT give enterprises a full range of options.
But it takes time to deliver and implement the products. Last year some impressive IoT came from big companies trying new things. Deployed to private 5G nodes Smart Driver Notifications and Connected Security in underground mines There were notable examples.
More of these concepts will expand as we enter 2022.
On the supply side, hyperscale cloud efforts like Amazon Web Services and Azure will reduce the cost of implementing edge-powered IoT, prompting more enterprises to upgrade.
“As AI and edge technologies converge in IoT with 5G in 2022 and beyond, cloud service providers and enterprises cannot ignore the role of hyperscalers. [clouds such as Amazon Web Services and Azure],” John Canali, senior analyst for IoT at Omedia. told IoT World Today: “While hyperscalers are particularly important partners around cloud and edge computing, they are competing against CSPs with their own connectivity solutions and services, and against enterprises with vertically positioned products. “
This paves the way for the full impact of IoT to enhance the decision making process across the workforce. No longer limited to C-suites, technicians and managers, the power of IoT insights will extend directly to the front lines of industry, city services, medicine, environmental protection and more.
More IoT stakeholders will adopt AI/ML
According to Omdia, the convergence of AI and edge computing is set to drive the impact and value proposition of IoT. Edge capabilities on devices available in the field offer lower latency, power consumption, and costs associated with ferrying data to the cloud. This paves the way for analysis of more complex data types. Omdia highlights three main bands for deploying AI and machine learning at the edge.
First, ambient AI algorithms extract IoT sensor data without using audio or video as reference points. Due to the low latency at the edge, these algorithms can make finer decisions from noisy data avalanches that would otherwise freeze in storage.
Meanwhile, low-cost computer vision and natural language processing video and audio will bring IoT capabilities to more enterprises, helping to detect wake words or distress sounds in lonely worker scenarios, for example, or from a factory floor. Will identify broken items before exiting.
5G to move forward
According to Gartner, 5G is currently primarily employed for consumer use cases, but that is set to change in the next two years. This is because it strengthens key IoT operations such as cameras and asset sensors by making them more reliable. The US is also one of a handful of countries developing 5G on mmWave frequencies, although connections are currently very few. The approach is set to strengthen 5G connectivity for large-scale machine-type communications where data generation, exchange and implementation are handled by vast IoT fleets, with minimal human involvement. But mmWave 5G’s benefits will take some time to activate, according to Gartner, which predicts it won’t reach maturity until 2025.
Enterprises want to eliminate latency from IoT networks
The above trends will be particularly beneficial for enterprises that want to implement real-time applications. For use cases ranging from live predictive maintenance to venue management and security, the value of IoT increases by reducing the limitations associated with cloud data relay.
According to the ESG Global Survey, nearly three in 10 (29%) enterprise decision makers cite the need for low-latency networks to support real-time applications as one of their three biggest concerns. In addition, the acceleration of edge computing technologies and next-generation connectivity means that enterprises that nail implementation will have more disruptive potential. Gartner recommends that product leaders responsible for IoT should accelerate the adoption of edge- and AI-enabled solutions with a view to creating a long-term technology roadmap.
Hands-free, secure edge protocols to turbocharge medical things and smart homes
Medical technology retailers can expect to offer hands-free IoT products that use edge computing and advanced sensor technologies like radar to monitor chronic health issues. According to Blake Kozak, Omdia Senior Principal Analyst for Smart Homes, some of these applications may be controversial due to privacy concerns related to the handling of sensitive medical data.
Processing more information on the edge can help prevent this, as long as the device manufacturers design the endpoint’s protocol flawlessly.
Away from medical devices, hands-free operation is set to span a full range of smart home technologies as vendors look to implement “more holistic” use cases, Kozak said. At CES 2022, key highlights included Kohler’s self-filling bathtub and Panasonic’s hands-free microwave cooker.
“The smart home is like the opposite of the iceberg analogy right now, there’s a lot going on above the surface and not a lot below the waterline,” Kozak told IoT World Today, “CES 2022 will reflect what’s happening below the surface. This, provided a glimpse of it, means that some brands want to go beyond hardware and focus on the added value that can come from smart home devices.”
Consumers will adopt smart security devices
Another big trend in smart homes is the proliferation of security devices such as video doorbells and smart camera systems. Kozak says CES this year was filled with product briefings like this one, including Belkin’s Secure Video doorbell and floodlights integrated with Eve’s outdoor camera.
“There were even a few surprises like Eufy’s video doorbell that has two separate cameras and a door lock with facial recognition from U-Tech Group,” Kozak said.
Interoperability at home and office
A wild card matters interoperability standard in the pack for smart home devices launching later this year. After the launch of Matter, consumers will no longer need to figure out whether a certain lightbulb and sensor go well together as it will automatically pair multiple devices in the ecosystem. It’s easy to see the potential of a smart office environment that could use some of the same technologies.