As AI and IoT grows, the way industries and companies do business has been changing rapidly. IEEE Senior Member Qusi Alqarqaz  weighed in with his thoughts on the ways that AI and IoT and machine learning will be a constant presence in our lives.

IEEE Transmitter: How is AI and IoT impacting industry?

Qusi Alqarqaz: Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial intelligence (AI) are changing how industries and customer-oriented companies are doing business. They’ve come to the conclusion that AI and IoT are shaping the future and will create a trend of success or failure. That is why, as stated in a recent report for Strategy & PWC, companies are investing heavily in such advanced technologies and making significant changes to their operating models and structures. They are even hiring new talent so they can be in the best position when the shift happens to the IoT and AI era. For example, big computer technology companies started investing in IoT hardware components such as sensors, actuators, connectivity, and real time analytics. This will increase their access to massive amounts of data generated by their customers which they can use toward improving their services and products.

IEEE Transmitter: As greater investment in AI and IoT flows into the Power Systems and Energy Markets, what changes do you see happening there?

Alqarqaz: Advanced technologies found their way into the power and energy sectors decades ago. Many of the power utilities companies already used analytic software and smart meters in their transmission and distribution networks. Customers already enjoy real time mobile energy management and billing apps. But with the introduction of more smart home devices, power utility companies found themselves forced to enter the era of digital technologies heavily. Microgrid and smart substations are on their way to the grid. Power companies started acquiring data science companies that have energy management services to collect the huge amount of data available from their customers. The customers already started using smart home devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, as well as smart appliances and heating systems. The new home and business installations are more of gateway hubs now and utilities can benefit from this feedback data to develop customer relations.

IEEE Transmitter: With the rapid expansion of devices and sensors in IoT devices, how are artificial intelligence and machine learning going to be responsible for rounding up massive data sets to make positive decisions on behalf of buying consumers?

Alqarqaz: Data science is the core of machine learning (ML), a form of Artificial Intelligence that, with the aid of special computers and huge amounts of pre-labeled data, helps to identify future customer demands. This massive amount of data can be collected through browsing data or streaming. For example, ML algorithms can identify the needs of customers for certain products or services at lower prices. That is why big corporations that have access to massive customer data from their various interactions with online apps and websites, are investing heavily in data science. For example, Google just announced last March the acquisition of an online data science and ML company, which will give them access to one of the largest databases in the data science community.

IEEE Transmitter: What are some ways, or examples, that machine learning is already upon us? (examples: Pandora music uses it to determine what other songs you may enjoy, or Amazon to suggest books and movies you may also like)

Alqarqaz: From the collection of massive data from customers’ web browsing or clicking, companies will be able to match customer demand with goods and services at lower prices. Engineers can access research and papers much easier. Education, health care, law enforcement and many other sectors will benefit from ML applications. Just think of identifying risks from certain drugs or better medical assessment based on data collected on a large scale of previous studies and research.

IEEE Senior Member Qusi Alqarqaz is an electrical engineer with more than 27 years of experience in the power industry. He writes about technology, works as a technology consultant, and mentors students. He is a contributor to The InstituteEE Times, as well as the Analog, a newsletter for the IEEE Central Texas Section. He previously worked in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkmenistan and Jordan.

Written by IEEE on May 19, 2017