Raw Data - The Cornerstone for IoT- and AI-solutions

2018-04-25, 16:46 Posted by: Jussi Laakso & Tomi Asp

First day of Hannover Messe is now behind, and it was full of surprises – both good and bad. We thought we had prepared ourselves for the huge fair area, but it really struck us with a surprise: it took us 30 MINUTES to walk the area from end to end.

On the other hand, the planning we had done beforehand really paid off – we got to attend several interesting lectures filled with first-hand knowledge on the field as well as on couple of intriguing technologies.

Tomi started his day with IoT-, AI- and Machine Learning lectures, while Jussi concentrated on the supply of Hall 8, where companies presented their products and solutions concerning digital factories and integrated automation. Unfortunately, he didn’t come across anything worth blazing.

Dashboards are A-Okay!

One might associate Internet of Things (IoT) projects with questionable end result of a user interface filled with graphs and numbers. IoT as a concept strucks with its vastness, and the interpretation often varies depending on the person dealing with it. The concept carries the huge weight of expectations on its shoulders, since the common opinion seems to be that IoT will be the one to revolutionize our daily lives.  Adding to this, when the results of a proof-of-concept project are mainly those said graphs, the expectations might not be realized and disappointments could happen.

IoT doesn’t provide us with a shortcut to happiness and success: above all, it should be seen as a profound change in the way companies operate and design and manufacture their products – it is a change in the paradigm of what are seen as vital ingredients for the company’s operations and equipment. IoT is an undisputable part of the businesses of the future.

This was realized already on the first day of Hannover Messe: it is clear how major part of the companies here are beginning to assimilate the importance of IoT – at least when looking at the charts and graphs and numbers presented all over the place. The graphs and dashboards are seen exactly as they should be seen – as an important stepping stone on the road to the ultimate goal that lays within machine learning and analytics. 

The first day of Hannover Messe was filled with very intriguing panel discussions on the relationship between IoT and machine learning, as well as on the expectations on where the value creation happens on that path. When one of these has been resolved, it doesn’t result in an immediate reward – it rather enables an iterative process, where these two components act as important tools for achieving the ultimate goal. 

The advantages of IoT and its numerous graphs and charts concretizes when they enable and enhance the utilization and usage of machine learning. These graphs and charts also support more efficient data exploitation: visualized data is easier to digest and take advantage of. It is also easier to spot the possible use cases that are aimed to boost business operations. Visualization also helps with validating the  data, therefore providing the companies with a tool for building better training sets for machine learning algorithms. 

Raw data as a cornerstone for the possibilities of AI

After a short lunch we returned to see couple of lectures and short demos. Probably the most fruitful lecture was held on the topic “Artificial Intelligence Joins the Internet of Things” by a quartet comprising of four professionals from IBM, Toshiba, ABB and Industrial Internet Consortium. It was comforting to see, that a prevailing consensus among the panelists equated with the basics that we discuss with our customers on a daily basis.

It might not come as surprise that Artificial Intelligence screams possibilities. According to the panelists, Dr. Stephan Biller (IBM), Yukio Kamatani (Toshiba), Dr. Benjamin Klöpper (ABB) sekä Dr. Richard Soley (Industrial Internet Consortium), the most important factor behind these possibilities is nothing less but raw data. In order to be able to continue the further processing of this data, it is vital that the data is valid. The raw data should be sorted and cleaned up carefully and take the time the process needs, in order to properly utilize AI and analytics.

The common opinion also seemed to be that, for the time being, the existing data is not exploited to its full potential besides the utilization of the basic metrics as dashboards. Our field experience with our clients backs up this argument – it seems that the World is not quite ready yet and there is so much more the data available could do if utilized to a wider extent.

So, summa summarum, do not fear to throw the frustration aside – the numbers, graphs and charts act an important role on the digitization process of the companies. However, it is also vital that the company’s strategy promotes continuous development towards new technologies such as machine learning and AI.

Amazing Products, Distinctive Showcases and Top-Notch Resources

Before Night of Innovations, we visited Siemens’ massive exhibition area. We have to admit, that their top-notch resources and the amazing showcases and products presented on the section just blew us away. 

We tried out an educational game executed with VR and virtual hands teaching the player about the possibilities of digitization, harmfulness of carbon dioxide emissions as well as about the prevention of different threats that we might face in the future. Siemens had also effectuated a tool for maintenance with the help of Hololens: in addition to presenting the possibilities of Hololens, this tool also pointed out the restrictions it has with the field of sight and focus points.

We also had a very interesting discussion with Siemens’ representatives about Digital Twins. Siemens has collaborated with different car manufacturers for years and has developed an extensive software for simulating cars as a result. We’ll tell more about Digital Twins and the Siemens model later on.

Slight Disappointments

So, the first day was almost over. There was only one more thing for us to do, a thing that we had been waiting for: visiting the Night of Innovations.

It was a total buzz kill.

It was basically just an extension for the regular opening hours: the farthest part of the fair area was now sanctified for couple of states of Germany and other exhibitors from the public sector. After a short round, we left, disappointed and without anything proper to report.

Luckily we still have two more days to go.


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