Technology has played a significant role in gearing millions of businesses to be successful. It started off with the industrial revolution when the world was introduced to steam engines and prototypes of labor reducing machines. Then the telephones came in, connecting businesses and clients across the globe.
Following the arrival of telephones, the computers set foot in late 30s, enabling us to compute a wide range of data, thus increasing work efficiency. Finally, we bumped into the internet. The internet was introduced in the early 90s. It not only revolutionized the business world but also changed the way we perceive information.
Mailing and access to trillions of data were the prime functions of the internet that we got introduced to. Look at it now, you won’t recognize that it is the same platform, just expanded enough to include almost every sphere of life. The Internet has become an indispensable tool without which no business can function efficiently.
Basically, connecting any device with the internet is defined as the internet of things. It is when a physical object is connected to the internet, and it immediately gets the platform to send and receive data. Standing in the age of information, this is the fundamental process that drives businesses across the world.
Like the internet, we were introduced to programming, a tool that gave us the power of creation itself. With systematic coding, people could now create websites, applications, software, etc. It is this very concept of programming that led to the invention of AI [Artificial Intelligence].
Extremely sophisticated programming techniques ultimately gave us an intelligence tool that not only analyses data for businesses but also helps in decision making. That is the power of AI.
And finally, we have Blockchain. Usually, we come across this when studying the concept of cryptocurrency. But it is not limited to the financial sector only. After all, it is a data protection system and can be used to secure any kind of information.
When a business implements blockchain, it is basically securing its private information ranging from client deals to payments and business transactions, etc. You’re already familiar with the rise of cyber threats that came as a negative aspect of the information era. To ensure privacy, blockchain implements the network model to fight any cyber adversity that comes on its way.
For some years now, scientists are trying to create a synergy that has never been done before. They are trying to bring the idea of AI, Blockchain, and IOT together. They are on the verge of achieving a synthesis that will help businesses accomplish what seems impossible at present.
Of course, this technological fusion if executed properly can fetch tremendous advantages. One can only imagine the level of performance if IOT and AI are fused.
IOT will help in transmitting information, while AI will analyze that information, process vast calculations and make basic decisions for a business, government, etc. On top of that, if we can add Blockchain, then we will achieve the next level of data encryption and security.
It would be a massive technological innovation on a scale no one has ever seen before. Businesses, therefore, would have to exploit this new opportunity and pave the way for future growth.
The first great example of this synergy is Fujitsu’s stress level measurement algorithm. They employ IOT enabled sensors and wearable to track different factors related to workers’ health. This allows the company to avoid health issues originating from severe work stress, thus ensuring better performance and efficiency.
While the IOT system helps in transmitting all information related to worker health, the AI helps in determining and analyzing the status of the same. And finally, blockchain helps in encrypting and securing the information, so that no third party can tamper with them.
Suppose you’re planning for a trip. You build an account on a digital platform and record your information. Obviously, the device is IoT enabled. So it fetches all possible information related to travel; ranging from domestic, international destinations to hotels, cuisines, travel groups, etc.
The AI assists in choosing the right destination, travel agency and hotel according to your details. The AI analyzes your information and determines your preferences. Based on them, it will guide you through the entire process without you having to manually decide on every parameter.
And finally, Blockchain would help you to carry out digital transactions on a safe and secure platform. All the transactions would be recorded and encrypted for enhanced security.
It is obvious that the coming years will see self-driving cars populating the streets. But without a proper AI system, would it be possible? Not really!
A good AI can identify the destination and strategize good navigation across a city/highway/countryside.
Plus Blockchain would help in recording and securing the travel information and allows secure digital payments in fuel stations/workshops/etc. The IOT, in turn, would enable the car to receive all real-time data on traffic status, weather forecasts, road obstacles, etc.
So you see, Fujitsu has already applied this concept of synergy. Likewise, many other organizations are also trying to accomplish similar tasks by implementing this convergence.
Combining technical ideas is not a new concept. In the past, scientists have done the same, mainly by bringing together IOT and AI. Take for example Google this search engine is probably one of the best examples of AI and IOT fusion.
As you know Google is an IOT enabled service, and its smart search engine is one of the most developed versions of AI till date. The same concept is applied in Google voice search and Alexa. The synthesis has made the process so efficient, that it literally feels like you’re interacting with another person.
Adding the blockchain is yet to be done on a wide scale, though companies like Fujitsu have already implemented it. The key benefits of this three-way amalgamation are or will be:
It isn’t unnatural to be sceptical of this technological synthesis, despite its global appeal. Like every other innovation, this too has a downside to it. And if it remains unchecked for too long, it can result in negatives outweighing the positives. That is, of course, we all want to avoid.
Out of all, employment is that one thing which would be affected the most.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise since we’ve had employment disruptions in the past. The IOT, AI & Blockchain synergy too is no exception. With advanced intelligence and decision making power, AI threatens analysts and mid-level managers nowadays. All their strategic decisions will now be made by AI. It dilutes the weight of their designations in the company.
Coming to the data entry and processing department, the IOT has disrupted this area as well. Since IOT enabled devices can now process the desired information from a vast pool of big data, and can also transmit the processed information. So you see, it poses a serious threat to this department as well.
When talking about the jobs of chief security officers, it seems even they are not spared. Blockchain is gradually taking over the process and has proven to be more efficient as far as results are concerned.
So you see, almost every department is affected by this disruption some way or the other.
Yes, there is a way to stop this. Recall the part where we discussed AI disrupting different levels of management? There lies the key!
Since organizations would no longer require employees for data entry or information processing, they can shift their roles to more of software maintenance and decision making. There’s no doubt that every machine needs maintenance. AI, Blockchain and IOT are machines after all.
So if organizations train their existing employees in the maintenance process and help them develop the relevant skills, then this huge attrition rate can be avoided. Also, employees can be promoted to decision making posts, where they will decide on the data that is being allocated by IOT enabled devices, analyzed and decided on by AI and protected by Blockchain.
Despite the technological advancements, no organization can fully rely on a machine for arriving at a business deal or making big organizational decisions. It has to be a human to show the final green signal to any process.
It’s only a matter of re-shuffling the workers and changing the way we view employment. In a way, it is good, because people would no longer have to work long hours for data processing, and instead focus more on decision making, thus increasing the overall efficiency.
The main problem doesn’t lie as much in the after effect of this synergy, as it does in the term that has been consistently used to describe such innovations. The infamous word “Disruption” scares away most people because the term makes it look so apocalyptic.
Instead of looking at it as a ‘disruption’, you should take it as an opportunity.
As mentioned above, there are ways in which you can always convert the negative to positive. Any innovation for that instance will look disruptive should you view it that way. But if you take it as an opportunity of improvement and want to take your business to the next level of efficiency, then this IOT-Blockchain-AI synthesis and similar upcoming innovations would appear much more helpful and nourishing. And as always, a positive attitude towards a problem is the key to success.
Pratip Biswas is the Founder and CEO of Unified Infotech, a New York based tech-company which has been featured in Deloitte Fast 500| Fastest growing tech companies in 2018. His company is working with Enterprises, SMB’s and Start-ups to improve their efficiency through Digital Adoption and help them discover new possibilities through constant innovations.