Hybrid computing fabric
The world is being closely monitored, analyzed and controlled. Humans are talking to humans via mobile, email, social and instant messengers; humans are talking to artificial things, such as their homes, vehicles, websites and industrial gear. Artificial things are talking to other artificial things – for instance, a washing machine asking a remote server for a new wash cycle. But you didn’t think that cows would be texting humans, did you? A startup in Austria placed sensors in cows’ stomachs to transmit health data via Wi-Fi to identify when they are ill, when in heat and when pregnant . That’s an example of artificial things, natural things and humans embedded within a boundaryless compute fabric that extends well beyond offices and datacenters. In many ways it exemplifies Industry 4.0 that is opening the doors to new value generation opportunities.
Industry 4.0 is the trend towards data exchange between cyber-physical systems (CPS), the Internet of Things (IoT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Using IoT/ IIoT, CPSs communicate and cooperate with each other and with humans in real-time. Technologies, such as cloud computing, cognitive computing, analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are sandwiched in between, creating the ability to sense, analyze and control the interactions, defining the capability of an enterprise in the world of Industry 4.0.
By recombining these technologies, we are inventing exciting new ways to sense the world around us. These technologies work silently and unobtrusively, 24X7, listening to events, using APIs and algorithms to generate intelligence and initiate action.
The examples of creating new value via these technologies abound. These include capturing images from a remotely controlled drone over an oil and gas pipeline and allowing a cloud-based computer vision service to analyze them and generate automatic alerts for damage; getting Alexa to find a meeting room in office ; connecting your screen/s to a Netflix subscription and the subscription to your bank account; or even leveraging real-time data to control illness and breeding in livestock.
Towards the ‘Digital First’ model
These are delightful examples of what can be made possible in a digitized world. With the advent of ultra-reliable, low latency 5G networks in 2020, digital investments will begin to harvest benefits that are several magnitudes larger. However, to realize the new capabilities, infrastructure services must take their automation capabilities to the next level. Extremely large volumes of data must be processed in real time. Intelligence must be pervasive—extending from edge devices to networks and applications.
In addition to pervasive intelligence, decision management will acquire a new flavor. Humans will be required to continuously make strategic interventions in terms of tweaking models, advancing algorithms and changing product mix, etc. The platform requirement, compliance and network characteristics will set new information processing demands for the consumption of public cloud services, information processing in private secured data centers and at locations that are proximal to users.
Organizations must master these elements. Once they do, they will be able to pull off feats such as influencing an individual to buy add-on accessories and services. They could easily deliver fully customized products. Others could stop a pest attack on farmland or increase the success of livestock breeding. The list of such amazing outcomes is literally infinite.