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IoT: How bright is the future, really?

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible)

Jonathan Luse, General Manager of the IoT Group at Intel, discusses the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) projects, the challenges facing the IoT industry, as well as the overall possibilities of this new and exciting technology.

What are some of the most interesting IoT projects Intel is working on at the moment?

Here are a few examples of partners using Intel technology in IoT:   Agent Vi is a global video analytics software provider whose technology is used to improve security, safety and incident response time in cities using AI.

Intel’s software toolkit OpenVINO, has helped Agent Vi scale its AI solutions across a wide range of applications including public safety and city surveillance, traffic management, waste collection and many more. Specifically, the software has allowed the company to deploy a neural network, using existing cameras, that knows when city street bins are full and alerts someone to empty them.

Another example is RESOLVE’s TrailGuard AI anti-poaching camera. RESOLVE is a non-profit organisation using cameras with Intel-powered AI technology to detect poachers entering Africa’s wildlife reserves and alert park rangers in near real-time to stop poachers.

TrailGuard AI uses Intel Movidius Vision Processing Units (VPUs) for image processing, running deep neural network algorithms for object detection and image classification inside the camera. If humans are detected among any of the motion-activated images captured by the camera, it triggers electronic alerts so the park can mobilise rangers before poachers can do harm.

The technology has been deployed in around 100 reserves in Africa including the Serengeti, with plans to expand to South East Asia and South America as well.

What steps need to be taken to ensure the world's network infrastructure is able to cope with the increasing width of IoT?

The volume of data being generated is enormous, so the first thing we need to do is manage the bandwidth economically. We have to make sure we have the ability to tag and compress that data with relevant information and not send meaningless data up to the cloud for analytics. The first order of business is making sure that we use the network infrastructure properly, and process the right data in the right locations.

The second task is evolving the network infrastructure itself to take advantage of emerging technologies.   Integrating technology such as 5G network infrastructure will give us the ability to expand the network performance, bandwidth all while keeping critical data moving in low latency environments. 

How is Intel planning on encouraging its partners and customers to integrate more IoT hardware?

The first thing we do is ensure it’s easy to activate the technologies. We’ve been investing in a lot of IoT centric technologies in our processors including real time systems, time sensitive networks with deterministic performance, manageability engines and functionally safe devices. 

It’s important for us to work with our ecosystem and our partners to make sure that they can easily activate that technology and enable it for their customers. If we have all these powerful technologies inside the processor and the system, but developers have a hard time activating it, then it just doesn’t get deployed on a large scale. Part of the approach that we’ve taken is to produce tools, software toolkits such as OpenVINO and the Intel Developer Zone to make it easy to receive, activate and deploy the technology not just to a few set of large customers, but making those technologies scale to hundreds and thousands of customers worldwide.

Customers and partners also have access to pre-created Intel Market Ready Solutions for their developers. It’s important for us to use our ecosystem to give our customers to have different levels of integration ready to go.

Are there any particular sectors that the IoT could especially help push forward?

Each market sector we work with presents its own challenges and whilst there are common elements, some require bespoke solutions.

The sectors we work with include visual retail and transactional retail devices, industrial systems and control systems helping in manufacturing, robotics, smart cities activities, transportation logistics, digital learning classrooms, healthcare devices, financial services and automotive.

Given the wide range of areas that we cover, it’s important for us to pull together all those different tools, RFP Ready Kits and Market Ready Solutions to give customers choice and flexibility depending on their specific application needs.  

How big can the IoT really be? Are the possibilities really endless?

The opportunity is Massive, and growing fast.  According to some of the market reports that we’ve seen AI just by itself is going to stimulate the economy by $13 trillion worldwide by 2030. Studies have shown that this will impact jobs in a good way with around 58 million new jobs being created in the next five years because of these deep learning and AI technologies. It’s an exciting time for us and the sheer amount of data being generated is creating plenty of opportunities for Intel as well as the wider ecosystem that we partner with and our customers.   I’m excited about the future of IoT and Intel’s participation in the market segments.

Jonathan Luse, General Manager of the Internet of Things Group, Intel