Digitization of the Physical World is changing business

The era of cloud computing has simplified how organizations develop, deploy and run applications that power their businesses by transforming complex IT infrastructure into simple building blocks offered as a service. When combined with economy of scale efficiencies, this simplification has redefined the legacy IT sector and practices and accelerated innovation in business applications. Enterprises now focus on applications and the data they generate, turning them into insights, which in turn enables smarter applications and even more useful data to be generated.

The IoT phenomenon is taking the world by storm but the importance of IoT is only now coming to light. With computing powering getting less and less expensive, IoT is effectively digitizing every aspect of the physical world. Every interaction in the physical world is generating data and providing a means for applications to take action. This is naturally prompting cloud developers to create their

applications to take advantage of the data and optimize business performance. But the true power of this new cyber-physical world comes through with applications using the data and taking action in real-time. Businesses can not only change behavior in real-time but they can become true “real-time businesses” by allowing systems to react without human intervention in real-time.

Whether retail, manufacturing, medical, or energy organizations, “real-time businesses” are developing operations that incorporate real-time data and run real-time applications. These applications require specialized computing not only for harsh environmental condition but to run securely, reliably, and even autonomously if necessary at the location of service (the edge) in order to avoid latency, bandwidth constraints, as well as dependence on potentially unreliable Internet connections, and all at a cost that scales with need.

What does a real-time business look like?

  • Industrial manufacturing floor with robots that need to adjust to unknown conditions. These manufacturing robots can use sensors to react to human interaction for safety, leverage real-time sensor data for quality control, even determine and direct employees to areas of concern to improve productivity.
  • Transportation organizations that are leveraging real-time data to determine if variances in precision equipment may cause dangerous conditions and adjust course/speed/etc. to ensure safe operations.
  • Mining operations using robots to produce instant 3-D mapping to guide exploration in real-time for an on-board AI model.
  • Public Safety organization requiring recognition of dangerous situations and deploying mitigation measures (locking doors, providing real-time situational awareness, identifying where suspects are leveraging existing video streams, etc.).
  • A manufacturing device that can leverage real-time sensor data and instant modelling to provide extremely precise quality control and predict quality of the output while manufacturing is underway.
  • Smart Cities that can dynamically react to traffic conditions and efficiently change traffic for public safety/emergency situations.
  • Automotive is likely the most well known future as self-driving cars are already in test. AI models are in fact cyber-physical applications interacting with sensors in a car. Automotive companies will soon move to selling apps instead of options to consumers and this will be a boon to profits and customizability of cars along with low-pressure sales at the dealership.

The road ahead (also, by the way, the name of Bill Gates’ first book!) is going to be very interesting indeed.