Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, @CloudExpo, @DXWorldExpo

@ThingsExpo: Article

AI and IoT in the Kingdom of Robots | @ThingsExpo #AI #IoT #M2M #BigData

Combining digital technologies with strategy for success

Fingerspitzengefühl is a German word used to describe an ability to maintain attention to detail in an ever-changing operational and tactical environment by maintaining real-time situational awareness. The term is synonymous with the English expression of "keeping one's finger on the pulse." The problem with traditional fingerspitzengefühl, in addition to pronouncing it, is it is hard to scale. Today, however, in a world of sensors, GPS and mobile devices, having real-time situational awareness is far easier than ever before. In fact, today the challenge is not how to do it (answer: sensors), but what to do with all the information.

There are many dimensions of data that are available for work outside the four walls, which is mobile, remote and dynamic.  We all know about 3 dimensional (longitude, latitude and altitude), but there are many more.  We contrive:

  • Time
  • Start and stop tasks times
  • Travel times
  • Traffic conditions
  • Available workforces and associated costs
  • Available equipment
  • Activities
  • Events
  • Business process steps
  • Expenses
  • Security steps
  • Transactions
  • Compliance tasks
  • Performances against KPIs (key performance indicators)
  • Actors (customers, partners, suppliers, contractors, employees, etc.)
  • Relationships
  • Contract/Agreements
  • Supplies, materials and equipment tracking
  • Etc.

All of these data points can be bundled together as Performance Impact Variables (PIVs).  PIVs are the data points that can be used as inputs to algorithms that can be used by AI systems to optimize and manage the performance of the business in real-time.

All of this data can be used as overlays to simple GPS coordinates on a map.  Each of these additional layers of information exponentially increases the complexity, decision-making options and possible combinations.  This enormous volume of data quickly overwhelms humans.  That is why non-humans (AI/software robots) can be used to such great effect to maintain productive situational awareness and strategic advantages in complex environments demanding real-time decision-making and action.

During the period between WWI and WWII, Western countries all developed new tanks and military aircraft to support their infantry.  The Germans, however, went three steps farther by developing strategic advantages in:

  1. Radios and frequencies for communicating between forces (tanks, infantry and aircraft) in real-time
  2. Strategies for coordinated actions between the three groups
  3. Mission oriented command structures - Commanders define the mission "intent", but the details of how to accomplish them were left to frontline officers.

In today's world, companies seeking strategic advantages in field services operations can learn from these three additions.

The modern equivalent of "radios and communication networks" is OILS (optimized information logistics systems) that sense, collect, securely and wirelessly transmit data, analyze and report on it, and support artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.

The modern equivalent of "strategies for coordinated action" is the ability to collect and analyze vast quantities of real-time data to automatically and dynamically manage and adjust (using AI and software robots) a whole series of activities and events such as: schedules, tasks, jobs, orders, transactions, etc.

The modern equivalent of "mission oriented command structures" is an algorithm.  Once the algorithm is developed, it can operate without human intervention.

When massive amounts of real-time data are automatically collected and analyzed, they can feed algorithms and AI systems to optimize real-time activities and events.  The speed at which data can be processed through OILS and AI systems today far exceeds human decision-making capabilities - so automation that works in digital-time is required.  This is where AI excels.  AI can analyze all the inbound data in nanoseconds and instantly adjust and optimize operations.

AI does not just impact field services.  It impacts many business processes by supporting:

  1. New ways of selling
  2. New business models
  3. New ways of managing
  4. New business processes
  5. New ways of collaborating
  6. New ways of making decisions
  7. New ways of engaging customers
  8. New ways of working with products
  9. New marketing and growth strategies

My mantra is, "Digital technologies without digital strategies are wasted."  Having digital technologies without a digital strategy is like having tanks, mobile infantry and aircraft, but no coherent plan for combined action.  In a recent report, 40 Months of Hyper-Digital Transformation, digital laggards were found not to receive as good of return on investments (ROIs) on their digital investments as digital leaders do.  The difference I believe is in their digital strategies, or lack thereof.

In the book, Stray Voltage, War in the Information Age, author Wayne Michael Hall defines two more PIVs - cyberspace and cerebral.  "Information superiority is firmly connected to making decisions that are superior to an adversary's and combines information technology and intellectual power to create conditions with which to make better decisions...human beings will need to improve their thinking capabilities to cope with the increasing complexities of the world...people will depend more on visualization to help understand complexity quickly. Visualization will fuse data and information and display the result in a multimedia format.  Visualization will allow the integration of data, information and knowledge from all sources and will allow for the integration of numerous contributors."  Visualization, although helpful to humans, is far less relevant once algorithm-consuming AI systems take over.

Sensors, already powerful, are being developed with more capabilities to sense more things every month.  Each year when I attend GSMA's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I am astonished to see what additional capabilities sensors have added.  Here are some examples:

  • Sensors able to identify and classify vegetation - natural and artificial
  • Sensors able to identify and pinpoint distressed crops
  • Sensors that can identify soil moisture content
  • Sensors that can detect heat sources and leaks
  • Sensors that can detect movements and changes in defined objects
  • Sensors that can detect the chemical make-up of make-up

Each of these sensors and their real-time data collection capabilities adds to decision-making complexity, but they can also be the very PIVs that give you the competitive advantage you need to win.

Watch my latest video on digital technology trends:

Download the full report with charts and data sources here.

Follow Kevin Benedict on Twitter @krbenedict

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict serves as the Senior Vice President, Solutions Strategy, at Regalix, a Silicon Valley based company, focused on bringing the best strategies, digital technologies, processes and people together to deliver improved customer experiences, journeys and success through the combination of intelligent solutions, analytics, automation and services. He is a popular writer, speaker and futurist, and in the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries. He has over 32 years of experience working with strategic enterprise IT solutions and business processes, and he is also a veteran executive working with both solution and services companies. He has written dozens of technology and strategy reports, over a thousand articles, interviewed hundreds of technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
Whenever a new technology hits the high points of hype, everyone starts talking about it like it will solve all their business problems. Blockchain is one of those technologies. According to Gartner's latest report on the hype cycle of emerging technologies, blockchain has just passed the peak of their hype cycle curve. If you read the news articles about it, one would think it has taken over the technology world. No disruptive technology is without its challenges and potential impediments t...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Bill Schmarzo, Tech Chair of "Big Data | Analytics" of upcoming CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York (November 12-13, 2018, New York City) today announced the outline and schedule of the track. "The track has been designed in experience/degree order," said Schmarzo. "So, that folks who attend the entire track can leave the conference with some of the skills necessary to get their work done when they get back to their offices. It actually ties back to some work that I'm doing at the University of San...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...