A new report from Forrester advises CIOs to leverage machine learning to turn the tsunami of data obtained in Internet of Things (IoT) deployments into actionable insights.
Successful companies in the industrial sector that are doing this are not only predicting problems and opportunities before they occur, but are also developing new revenue streams during their digital transformation.
Large volumes of data are required to train and then exploit machine learning algorithms, and fortunately that data is now easily accessible, especially as IoT gains traction in industries. According to Forrester’s Paul Miller, senior analyst serving CIO professionals and lead author of the report, “Put Data to Work in the Industrial Internet of Things,” machine learning is becoming a powerful tool in efforts to win, serve, and retain customers.
“It’s easy to focus on automating or augmenting existing processes with IoT, and this can deliver real cost savings and efficiency gains. But the bigger opportunity is using IoT and machine learning to drive entirely new business models, with far-reaching implications for the way in which your products are built, sold, used, and maintained,” explains Miller in the report.
Some organisations are already seeing good results by combining machine learning with IoT:
- Ocado, one of the UK’s online-only grocers, has augmented its human packers with robots that swarm and cooperate. Average picking times have dropped significantly from two hours to just 15 minutes.
- HUK-Coburg, a German car insurer, has partnered with IoT and telematics company Robert Bosch to develop a usage-based insurance and rescue solution which monitors driving patterns and rewards safe driving habits. Good drivers have seen premiums drop by as much as 30 percent.
- Siemens’ claimed that shortly after giving control of the turbines to a set of machine learning algorithms at a gas-fired power station, emissions of nitrogen oxides reduced by almost 20 percent beyond the best engineers could achieve.
Miller also points out that Forrester currently identifies three core scenarios driving IoT adoption: designing connected products and experiences; operating connected business processes; and consuming connected insights. He also says that Forrester is now observing three broad classes of adoption for IoT.
Asset monitoring and control
Although basic asset monitoring and control is rarely exciting, the report points out that this is often the first experience of IoT within the industrial sectors. Moreover, Miller writes that when the experience is done right, its return on investment could free up the resources to pay for future developments.
Some examples of these uses include smart meters to monitor energy usage; keeping track of movable assets in the transport sector; and managing temperatures in smart buildings.
Prediction and action
The report acknowledges that the migration from asset monitoring and basic control to prediction and action is a big step, particularly for manufacturing firms that have typically focused on the physical aspects. Forrester advises that in order to succeed, companies must gather data from their own systems and from the environment in which those systems operate. They should extract insights from that data, (perhaps using the digital twin concepts that most IoT platforms support), and then interpret those insights and take action.
According to Miller, data and the insights extracted from it, are key to digital ecosystems that so many organisations now try to control. IoT devices are an important source of data, but it’s vital that organisations understand and use the data in a timely and effective manner. Forrester believes that this is an important juncture where machine learning begins to play a real part in an organisation’s use of IoT.
Some examples where this next step in the IoT / machine learning can benefit companies include: Smart buildings which monitor weather and adjust temperatures in anticipation; transport companies anticipating failure as a means to better manage moveable assets; and building supply chains which are able to adapt to allow for customisable production, but still retain efficiencies and optimisation of resources.
Powering new business models
While the progressive use of IoT and machine learning is helping drive efficiencies as described above, Forrester believes the truly digitally minded CIO can make use of IoT and machine learning to imagine and implement entirely new business models.
Some examples of these new businesses models include: train-as-a-service offerings where the manufacturer owns and maintains the trains and simply sells their services to the rail companies; and compressor manufacturers selling compressed air by the litre to buildings. In both these instances, the manufacturer can monitor equipment, predict failures and ensure less downtime, while the customer gets exactly the service they need at a more competitive rate, without carrying the asset on their books.
Finally, Forrester cautions that while companies make the transition from physical to digital organisation, CIOs will need to ensure that they facilitate the transition and avoid putting a chokehold on the evolution – which could, ultimately, damn the organisation to irrelevance.
Tech promotes connections across groups in emerging markets
Digital technology users say they more regularly interact with people from diverse backgrounds
Smartphone users – especially those who use social media – say they are more regularly exposed to people who have different backgrounds. They are also more connected with friends they don’t see in person, a Pew Research Center survey of adults in 11 emerging economies finds.
South Africa, included in the study, has among the most consistent levels of connection across age groups and education levels and in terms of cross-cultural connections. This suggests both that smartphones have had a greater democratisation impact in South Africa, but also that the country is more geared to diversity than most others. Of 11 countries surveyed, it has the second-lowest spread between those using smartphones and those not using them in terms of exposure to other religious groups.
Across every country surveyed, those who use smartphones are more likely than those who use less sophisticated phones or no phones at all to regularly interact with people from different religious groups. In most countries, people with smartphones also tend to be more likely to interact regularly with people from different political parties, income levels and racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The Center’s new report is the third in a series exploring digital connectivity among populations in emerging economies based on nationally representative surveys of adults in Colombia, India, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam. Earlier reports examined attitudes toward misinformation and mobile technology’s social impact.
The survey finds that smartphone and social media use are intertwined: A median of 91% of smartphone users in these countries also use social media or messaging apps, while a median of 81% of social media users say they own or share a smartphone. And, as with smartphone users, social media and messaging app users stand apart from non-users in how often they interact with people who are different from them. For example, 52% of Mexican social media users say they regularly interact with people of a different income level, compared with 28% of non-users.
These results do not show with certainty that smartphones or social media are the cause of people feeling like they have more diverse networks. For example, those who have resources to buy and maintain a smartphone are likely to differ in many key ways from those who don’t, and it could be that some combination of those differences drives this phenomenon. Still, statistical modelling indicates that smartphone and social media use are independent predictors of greater social network diversity when other factors such as age, education and sex are held constant.
Other key findings in the report include:
- Mobile phones and social media are broadening people’s social networks. More than half in most countries say they see in person only about half or fewer of the people they call or text. Mobile phones are also allowing many to stay in touch with people who live far away: A median of 93% of mobile phone users across the 11 countries surveyed say their phones have mostly helped them keep in touch with those who are far-flung. When it comes to social media, large shares report relationships with “friends” online who are distinct from those they see in person. A median of 46% of Facebook users across the 11 countries report seeing few or none of their Facebook friends in person regularly, compared with a median of 31% of Facebook users who often see most or all of their Facebook friends in person.
- Social activities and information seeking on subjects like health and education top the list of mobile activities. The survey asked mobile phone users about 10 different activities they might do on their mobile phones – activities that are social, information-seeking or commercial in nature. Among the most commonly reported activities are casual, social activities. For example, a median of 82% of mobile phone users in the 11 countries surveyed say they used their phone over the past year to send text messages and a median of 69% of users say they took pictures or videos. Many mobile phone users are also using their phones to find new information. For example, a median of 61% of mobile phone users say they used their phones over the past year to look up information about health and medicine for themselves or their families. This is more than the proportion that reports using their phones to get news and information about politics (median of 47%) or to look up information about government services (37%). Additionally, around half or more of mobile phone users in nearly all countries report having used their phones over the past 12 months to learn something important for work or school.
- Digital divides emerge in the new mobile-social environment. People with smartphones and social media – as well as younger people, those with higher levels of education, and men – are in some ways reaping more benefits than others, potentially contributing to digital divides.
- People with smartphones are much more likely to engage in activities on their phones than people with less sophisticated devices – even if the activity itself is quite simple. For example, people with smartphones are more likely than those with feature or basic phones to send text messages in each of the 11 countries surveyed, even though the activity is technically feasible from all mobile phones. Those who have smartphones are also much more likely to look up information for their households, including about health and government services.
- There are also major differences in mobile usage by age and education level in how their devices are – or are not – broadening their horizons. Younger people are more likely to use their phones for nearly all activities asked about, whether those activities are social, information-seeking or commercial. Phone users with higher levels of education are also more likely to do most activities on their phones and to interact with those who are different from them regularly than those with lower levels of education.
- Gender, too, plays a role in what people do with their devices and how they are exposed to different people and information. Men are more likely than women to say they encounter people who are different from them, whether in terms of race, politics, religion or income. And men tend to be more likely to look up information about government services and to obtain political news and information.
These findings are drawn from a Pew Research Center survey conducted among 28,122 adults in 11 countries from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 2018. In addition to the survey, the Center conducted focus groups with participants in Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Tunisia in March 2018, and their comments are included throughout the report.
Nokia to be first with Android 10
Nokia is likely to be the first smartphone brand to roll out Android 10, after its manufacturer, HMD Global, announced that the Android 10 software upgrade would start in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Previously named Android Q, it was given the number after Google announced it was ditching sweet and dessert names due to confusion in different languages. Android 10 is due for release at the end of the year.
Juho Sarvikas, chief product officer of HMD Global said: “With a proven track record in delivering software updates fast, Nokia smartphones were the first whole portfolio to benefit from a 2-letter upgrade from Android Nougat to Android Oreo and then Android Pie. We were the fastest manufacturer to upgrade from Android Oreo to Android Pie across the range.
“With today’s roll out plan we look set to do it even faster for Android Pie to Android 10 upgrades. We are the only manufacturer 100% committed to having the latest Android across the entire portfolio.”
HMD Global has given a guarantee that Nokia smartphone owners benefit from two years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates.