The impact of Covid-19 on the Internet of Things
Curating M2M, IoT and the Universe of Smart Environments
According to IoT Analytics’ latest “State of the IoT & Short-term outlook” update, the number of connected devices that are in use worldwide now exceeds 17 billion, with the number of IoT devices at 7 billion (that number does not include smartphones, tablets, laptops or fixed line phones).
IoT Analytics, a leading provider of market insights & competitive intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT), M2M, and Industry 4.0, today published a comprehensive Market Report, focusing on sizing the quickly developing market for Connected Streetlights during the period 2018 to 2023. It is estimated that there will be 41 million IoT connected Streetlights installed globally by 2023. The overall streetlights market will surpass US$3.6B in 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 21% from 2018. Deployment of connected streetlights is gaining traction globally as the technology is one of the key pillars for Smart City initiatives. The growth is fueled by government policies and increasing awareness on the benefits of connected Streetlights which go beyond energy savings.
The original conception of the Internet of Things (IoT) was of a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity to enable objects to exchange data with a centralized operator and/or other connected devices.
Smart grids, smart homes and smart cities were all representations of what an IoT could be/do.
The IoT equivalent of the human brain is the cloud-based analysis of the data rising up from sensors to generate insights and decide on actions. Much of the benefit of the Internet of Things lies in our ability to leverage the (useful) data we collect with it. This is the “analytics of things,” and this area has, in many ways, received the least attention of all. This is unfortunate, because it is analytics that can add the most business, lifestyle, and health value to the IoT. It has been said that “data without meaning, without soul, will not move people to change their behaviors over the long term.”1 Value-added analytics are what many early adopters of activity trackers believe has been most missing and disappointing.
Sensor data have some unique attributes, so related analytics are unique as well. The data are typically continuous and fast-flowing, so there must be processes for continuous analysis of the data. Technologies such as “complex event processing” and “event stream processing” bring the data to the analysis capability, where they are processed in real time, and then results are sent back where they are needed. Because there is so much data, a major focus of the analytics of things is anomaly detection. Is something broken in our operational network? Does a bike ride appear to be in the middle of a corn field? Are you about to end the day without reaching 10,000 steps? Analytics can identify situations that require some form of human intervention.
Some other typical analytical applications for the IoT include the following:
The analytics of things is often a precursor to cognitive action—taking action based on the results of analyzed sensor data. Comparative usage statistics, for example, might motivate an energy consumer to cut back on usage, while smart thermostats can monitor and optimize the household environment. Predictive asset maintenance suggests the best time to service machinery, which is usually much more efficient than servicing at predetermined intervals. A municipal government could analyze traffic data sensors in roads and other sources to determine where to add lanes and how to optimize stoplight timing and other drivers of traffic flow.
Data mining can be considered a superset of many different methods to extract insights from data. It might involve traditional statistical methods and machine learning. Data mining applies methods from many different areas to identify previously unknown patterns from data. This can include statistical algorithms, machine learning, text analytics, time series analysis and other areas of analytics. Data mining also includes the study and practice of data storage and data manipulation.
The main difference with machine learning is that just like statistical models, the goal is to understand the structure of the data – fit theoretical distributions to the data that are well understood. So, with statistical models there is a theory behind the model that is mathematically proven, but this requires that data meets certain strong assumptions too. Machine learning has developed based on the ability to use computers to probe the data for structure, even if we do not have a theory of what that structure looks like. The test for a machine learning model is a validation error on new data, not a theoretical test that proves a null hypothesis. Because machine learning often uses an iterative approach to learn from data, the learning can be easily automated. Passes are run through the data until a robust pattern is found.
Deep Learning combines advances in computing power and special types of neural networks to learn complicated patterns in large amounts of data. Deep learning techniques are currently state of the art for identifying objects in images and words in sounds. Researchers are now looking to apply these successes in pattern recognition to more complex tasks such as automatic language translation, medical diagnoses and numerous other important social and business problems.