Introducing AI, Blockchain and IoT: The Power Combo of a Data-Driven Era

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Introducing AI, Blockchain and IoT: The Power Combo of a Data-Driven Era

As we move towards a digital-first economy, the lines between Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are rapidly blurring. Today, these technologies represent an unprecedented opportunity for enterprises, startups and the public sector.

Organizations capable of leveraging this opportunity can streamline and enhance their existing business processes, create new business models, and develop innovative products and services.

That said, while most organizations look at AI, Blockchain and IoT individually, they need to understand that the real value comes from combining these technologies together.

To attain maximum business value, businesses need to set up an end-to-end digital foundation (or backbone).

Let’s take the supply chain business for instance.

Autonomous Supply Chain: AI, Blockchain and IoT in Action

The IoT platform allows supply chain companies to create a digital twin of a piece of equipment or serviceable asset. Businesses can use IoT’s sensor information to identify the shipment location and monitor shipment condition while moving through the supply chain. In addition to this, they can monitor the condition of the vehicle’ system.

Plugging AI into this helps businesses derive actionable insights from assets moving across the business ecosystem. Whether it’s analyzing transactional data to determine the best performing trading partner, or analyzing sensor data to determine if a piece of vehicle equipment is about to break down. AI helps companies optimize and enhance efficiencies across the end-to-end supply chain.

Blockchain, a relatively new technology, is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. From a supply chain standpoint, Blockchain helps with the ‘track and trace’ operation — knowing the source and movement of equipment, goods and raw materials.

Now you know how AI, Blockchain and IoT can do wonders holistically. Together, these technologies can help supply chain companies establish a smarter, connected, self-aware and trusted environment.

Moreover, each one of these technologies come with ample space for continuous innovation. Businesses need to up their research and development capabilities in order to explore business opportunities and tap into their full potential.

Want to explore these technologies individually?

Let’s dive right in.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The Technology Think Tank

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way in the past few decades.

What was once called ‘science fiction’, is now becoming ‘science fact’.

AI is driven by data. The technology processes large volumes of information, which it converts into actionable insights by detecting underlying patterns and connections. It is an umbrella term for Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Deep Learning, and more.

Sophia, the human-like robot created by Hanson Robotics in 2016, is a great example of AI close to its peak of evolution. Thanks to AI’s seamless capabilities, Sophia can hold conversations and act almost like a real person.

Machine Learning — AI’s widely used subset — enables systems to automatically learn and improve from data, without being programmed. ML algorithms can apply what is learned from past data to new data. It supports AI’s goal of stimulating and demonstrating intelligence.

YouTube is a great example of Machine Learning in action.

It deploys ML algorithms to learn your viewing/browsing behavior from historical data. The service then recommends content that they (the algorithms) think you will be interested to consume.

Blockchain: The Trusted Bookkeeper

Blockchain is considered as the foundation of highly trusted computing. It offers reliability, transparency, and security to all types of data exchanges — such as financial transactions, legal agreements/contracts, and ownership transfers.

The technology uses a distributed peer-to-peer network to keep a record of every data exchange and makes it unalterable. This consequently removes the need for any other trusted, third-party accounting solutions.

Business Benefits

  • Faster processes
  • Real-time transaction visibility
  • Reduced operational costs.

According to Gartner, by 2023, blockchain will be scalable technically and will support trusted private transactions with the necessary data confidentiality. The research giant also estimates that blockchain could generate US$ 176 billion of value-added revenue by 2025.

Internet of Things (IoT): A Connected Ecosystem of Smart Devices

As we know, the Internet of things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Even today, IoT is impacting a wide array of industries. This includes the public sector, automotive, manufacturing, transportation, consumer goods and healthcare. The technology helps organizations extract new data and improve existing business processes, develop innovative products and services with faster time-to-market, and seamlessly collect/monitor data on consumer trends and preferences.

International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts — by 2025, there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices, or “things,” generating 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data.

In order to put IoT to practical use and realize its business benefits, organizations must:

  • Build a robust ecosystem of IoT-enabled devices
  • Source, store, and manage massive volumes of data
  • Deploy and manage end-to-end security
  • Utilize advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities
  • Integrate IoT with existing business applications and workflows
  • Constantly monitor and manage the overall value chain

Business Benefits

  • Better operational efficiency
  • Efficient risk management
  • The emergence of innovative products and services

Into the Smart Future: 2020 and Beyond

Looking at the approaching data storm, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and the Internet of Things is poised to grow rapidly. These technologies, as we know, will bring transformative changes in our personal and professional lives, organizations (large and small), and our society.

Their impact is massive, immediate, and far-reaching.

Take full advantage of these technologies to strategize your business processes, solve complex problems, make faster decisions and see the true impact of smart automation on your business.

That said, it is equally important to identify, understand and tackle complex security challenges before you integrate them with your business.

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