The term ‘Intelligent Connectivity’ is gaining popularity across the early adopters of Industry 4.0 technologies, as the future of human living gets reconstructed each day.
The concept is anchored on a robust combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, Virtual Reality (VR), cloud computing to form the Internet of Things (IoT), all depending on data analytics in the formulation of solutions for smart living and automation.
Data collected by computers, smartphones, cameras, sensors and other devices making up the IoT is analysed, and contextualized and modelled using AI through machine learning and presented to users in a more meaningful and useful way.
This improves decision-making and allows delivery of personalised experiences to users, resulting in a richer and more fulfilling interaction between people and the environment surrounding them.
This hyper-connectivity has been harnessed to provide home living and surveillance solutions that make life easier.
“The perfect blend of these technologies can result to smart living where all your equipment in your house are connected to the internet via 4G+ or 5G network to allow you control everything from your phones,” Dr Lilian Wanzare, a computer science lecturer at Maseno University, told Afcacia.
She says AI represents machine-based intelligence, that execute functions associated with the human brain.
“Several technologies involve AI. Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Deep Learning (DL) all make up AI as we know it. They use cognitive computing to self-learn processes by use of data mining and pattern recognition to copy the functioning of the human brain,” she expounds.
She mentions that ML gives user an edge on the extend to which they can benefit from IoT, especially in differentiating processes, in what is now commonly known as Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), the ability of a machine to perform any human task.
“You will need notifications about temperature levels in your house, intruders at your backyard, your gas running out, a broken cup, an understocked fridge or whether your house maid is harassing your child. These are enabled by AGI,” she exemplifies.
Imagine converting your home into a tiny smart living ecosystem where everything is automated and connected to the internet and controlled from your smartphone.
This ensures that your wall clocks, lights, fridges, gas or electric cookers, hot water heaters, iron boxes, televisions, subwoofers, cameras, windows, doors, chandeliers, beds, cars, gates, compound and offices can be managed from a smartphone.
“It is not science fiction but all these devices can be programmed to communicate to each other and send you information about what is happening to each of them, and follow your commands, only your commands. Face, fingerprint and voice recognition are reshaping device security,” says Mr Timothy Oriedo, Kenyan founder of data science training firm, Predictive Analytics Lab.
Cases of misplacing items in the house, devices malfunctioning without prior warning or disease causing organisms entering your living room without your knowledge are gradually being minimised, thanks to IoT.
Availability of real time data that tells you when you need to go shopping, where items will be delivered by drones after online payment, and what to top up to balance your diet will come handy in living a healthy life. Undercooked or overcooked food notifications will help you prevent diseases and save energy respectively.
Leveraging these emerging technologies for efficient solutions will require the use of a 5G network for higher data transmission speed and ultra-low latency (infinite delay) for the best functioning of visual technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR).
“VR allows you to enjoy a virtual environment in a head gear, a simulated reality regarding hearing and seeing. It can allow you to play a cricket match with an opponent via that head gear. You live life in 3D,” says Joachim Wuilmet, head of marketing at 5G company Nokia.
AR is different from VR in the sense that it is built on existing interfaces to make them more engaging to the human cognition.
“It is developed into mobiles apps to give images and motion commands a 3-D experience. It is usually embedded on holograms to make them appear real,” says Dr Wanzare.
All the data in this set-up is stored in the cloud, which accommodates several terabytes of storage and real-time access without limitations.
Even as developing economies seek to comprehend the dynamics of IoT, another phase of connectivity has sprouted – the Internet of Bodies (IoB).
“This will now make technology blow your head. When IoT connects with human bodies, that results to an IoB. The IoB simply extends from the IoT. It connects the body to a network of devices that are implanted to the body or ingested. Data can therefore be exchanged, all body data can be remotely controlled,” expounds Dr Wanzare.
IoB can be used to monitor body health, enabling family members to notice when you have a new infection, in real-time. Quick treatment could see human life spans being prolonged.
But within these super connection via internet protocols lie a huge threat, that could compromise human data privacy, leading to heavy financial loss and secret information going public.
“As IoT advances, cyber insecurity also increases. More connected devices attract even more cyber loopholes. The vendors of these devices capture your private data without your knowledge and this is a huge concern towards the future of smart living,” says Dr Wanzare.
She concludes that widespread awareness, budgeting for cyber threats and the adoption of more advanced cybersecurity kits could shield individuals and companies against the ever advancing methodologies of modern cyber criminals.