It’s a critical moment in the history of the Earth in terms of environmental action (or non-action) and climate change. It’s also an important time in what will become the history of the IoT (Internet of Things)—particularly robotics, machine learning, and AI (artificial intelligence). Innovative robotics and AI-based solutions aimed at addressing challenges related to climate change represent the culmination of these two realities colliding. Could AI technologies, including robotics and machine learning, help scientists, governments, and society at large solve looming, planet-wide issues?
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to remain profitable, manufacturing is accelerating digital transformation. Companies are investing an average of 36% of their global budget for all factory-related initiatives toward smart manufacturing. Wow, but it seems to be paying off.
It’s been a challenging year. Circumstances in 2020 have exacerbated certain business problems already at play in industries like construction, including skills gaps. The COVID-19 pandemic will also create the need for cities to look at different ways to design and build the smart cities of the future. After all, past pandemics—from the bubonic plague in the Middle Ages to the Spanish flu in the early 20th century—have prompted many changes to how cities are designed and built. Why would this one be different? Modular construction techniques will play an important role in helping not only the construction industry but also smart cities as they move forward into a post-COVID era.
Deaths. The number of deaths is up 17% in June, but not for the reason you think. The surge in deaths has nothing to do with COVID-19. We are all traveling less, but our roads are not any less dangerous. Even with the rebound in VMT (vehicle miles traveled) relative to January, driving is still well short of normal for June and July, because those months are normally much heavier traveling months than January. Again, that doesn’t mean those who are driving on the roads are any less distracted.
In some industries, the pandemic has cast a shadow on the future. How will sectors like hospitality and retail recover from the pandemic-driven recession? Will industries still feel the economic effects of COVID-19 in 10 years’ time? While the smart-city sector will undoubtedly also be affected, it may also become a more urgent focus for governments that want to ensure they represent the cutting edge in technology that enhances quality of life. From healthcare and first response to transportation and infrastructure (both physical and digital), smart city solutions are going to be as needed, if not more needed, than ever. Smart city startups will help fill this need in the coming years.
With the pandemic, a lot of companies have had to loosen some of the restrictions on remote work and that has unleashed havoc on many industries, particularly those that have a supply-chain of partners such as manufacturing. This is leading to an uptick in attacks. In fact, new research shows four in five firms have had a cybersecurity breach caused by a third-party vendor.
With the move to 5G, so too comes the next generation of hardware and software for network infrastructure. In fact, the next wave of network transformation represents a $25 billion silicon opportunity by 2023, as industries look to benefit from 5G, edge, and AI (artificial intelligence).
First responders are getting a new way to ride, as one company is moving away from conventional commercial vehicle concepts and is developing an electric solution for fire trucks. Electric fire trucks are already on their way to fire departments in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dubai, offering these firefighters a ride in the ladder truck of the future.
If we want young workers—both those considered millennials and those considered gen Z—we need to better understand them and what they bring to our work environments. Then, perhaps most importantly, we need to craft our jobs, processes, and working environments to enable them to thrive. I am not sure if enough manufacturers have taken these steps.
There is a lot to gain when it comes to smart, connected transportation infrastructure, including better quality of life and safety, as well as enhanced technical efficiency (e.g., reduced travel times) and control (e.g., autonomous infrastructure or infrastructure-related systems like city lighting).
The market for AI (artificial intelligence) technologies is going to expand tremendously in the next decade. Grand View Research says the global AI market will reach $733.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 42.2%. One of the many sectors that will increasingly look to leverage AI technologies between now and 2027 (and beyond) is first response. In fact, in some cases, the first-response industry is already engaged in piloting AI technologies for use on the front lines. What AI-related innovations are to come, and how will they make first responders’ jobs easier?
2020 has proved that just about anything can happen at any time, and first-response agencies need to be adaptable and technologically prepared to handle new situations as they arise. IoT (Internet of Things) technologies can help first responders be ready when the unexpected happens. Not all change is unexpected, though. A couple of trends that will intersect with first response in the near future are 5G deployment and urbanization. What challenges can the space expect to face as these trends unfold in the next five, 10, and 20 years?
Here at Connected World and over on The Peggy Smedley Show, we are talking about first responders—and the technology that can help them do their job—all month long. With 240 million 911 calls every year, we need to make sure our first responders have the data they need when they need it. With all the information that currently exists, sifting through the noise can be challenging. That is where AI (artificial intelligence) and the IoT (Internet of Things) can help. Technology can help shuffle through all the data and discern what information is needed to respond faster and save more lives.
There are no “normal” workdays anymore thanks to COVID-19, disrupted supply chains, newly emerged customers, and vanished historical customers. Businesses, employees, customers, and suppliers are in a daily struggle to adapt, to adjust, and to continue to have their businesses exist. The one item that every business group needs more of are new, innovative ideas.
Startup activity is often a good measuring stick for gauging innovation in a particular industry. In first response, some exciting startups could help shape the sector in the coming years. ResearchandMarkets suggests first responder C3I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) equipment spending through 2025 will be driven by things like major international sporting events, border and area security, and disaster and emergency management. The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted investment in first-response solutions, particularly those in the medical realm.