Adam Bogobowicz Director Azure IoT Product Marketing

Five AI and IoT trends Intel and Microsoft see benefiting solution partners in 2022 

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Momentum behind adopting AI and IoT solutions was already accelerating, but the past year showed how these technologies can help businesses monitor and manage supply chain disruptions, staff shortages, and pandemic-related challenges.

Between 2020 and 2021, organizations accelerated investment in IoT technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Microsoft IoT Signals report, 44 percent of organizations said in 2021 they will invest in IoT more. Of those businesses surveyed in the report, approximately 80 percent indicated they are working to integrate AI, edge computing, and related technologies into their IoT solutions.

Intel and Microsoft continue to engage and enable partners incorporating the latest AI and IoT technologies into customized, end-to-end solutions for customers across various industries and use cases. As we enable more connected environments that bring the physical and digital worlds closer together, especially at the edge, here are some of the key trends we see as 2022 unfolds:

1. More computer vision and sound capabilities

Older, passive monitoring technology is being replaced by more capable and less complex computer vision hardware and software. With the Innodep Vurix solution, for example, computer vision and AI can integrate input from thousands of cameras to provide AI driven insights in addition to efficiently monitoring, recording, and managing massive datasets. The increased capability of computer vision can also help to diagnose diseases, watch in real time for employee safety, inspect products for defects and manufacturing welds for quality and consistency, and monitor inventory levels in retail stores. This advancing technology also is a keystone for the future of autonomous vehicles.

At the same time, devices that capture speech and sound—along with AI to analyze audio— empower the automation of better customer service responses and allow employees to speak instructions to control equipment. Capturing machine noises and comparing those with audio models can help to diagnose or predict maintenance needs. By processing and storing this audio data at the edge, businesses can avoid potential privacy issues, latency, and costs that can arise when sending video or audio data to the cloud or remote servers.

2. New insights from better data analytics

Machine learning algorithms are getting better at making AI decisions and predictions based on collected data. By using artificial neural networks that imitate the way human brains work, deep learning advances offer the ability to process vast amounts of unstructured data, including images and video. When paired with data-collecting IoT devices, these AI technologies can create deeper insights and actionable outcomes on a large scale. It’s what allows Hitachi Smart Spaces, as well as other smart spaces solutions, to improve security, efficiency, and even customer experiences on multiple levels.

3. Rise in AI-enabled automation

AI also is directing more sophisticated automation from factory floors to the office environment. With its capabilities to make or inform actions, AI can perform continuous, intense tasks, which can redirect human resources to more productive areas. That includes automating training and tracking applications at a manufacturing company, or automatically updating pricing information on a daily basis. Intel and Microsoft technologies also are powering automated inspection processes for crucial quality details and even helping companies check employees for signs of COVID-19.

4. Widening use through low and no-code deployment

While AI and IoT technology are able to achieve more, especially when integrated in end-to-end solutions, the industry is trying to simplify the deployment of devices and apps to make them easier for even small enterprises to use. Gartner forecasts that low-code app platforms will represent 65 percent of all app development by 2024. Intel hardware and Microsoft services are helping to realize that trend, with platforms such as Azure Percept, which supports computer vision, AI, and other IoT-related use cases in an easy-to-train and easy-to-deploy package.

5. Growing integration of high-speed 5G

The rollout of 5G infrastructure means faster connections for places where Wi-Fi isn’t feasible, which can boost performance and unlock new possibilities for IoT and edge devices. The potential for adding large, fast bandwidth in a wide variety of spaces is pushing forward autonomous vehicle development and better telemedicine, as well as better pinpointing supply chain assets and potential delivery delays. Microsoft already has introduced Azure multi-edge compute services to help operators use the advantages of this emerging technology.

Learn more about our AI and IoT developments

As we progress into this new year, we know businesses will continue to deploy AI and IoT to address a variety of tasks at the edge, provide new insights from previously hidden data, and improve productivity. As the technology and connectivity advance, so will the solutions. Intel and Microsoft are striving to develop complementary hardware, software platforms, and cloud-based apps that make it easier for solution builders to solve complex challenges.

We also continue to help partners who are developing and offering IoT solutions based on Microsoft Azure and Intel technologies, through co-marketing initiatives such as TheIntelligentEdge.com, which highlights dozens of market-ready solutions for a range of industries and scenarios. In addition to creating a visible ecosystem of partners, we’re raising awareness among potential customers through webinars, white papers, and other targeted efforts. See how to partner with Intel and Microsoft to create and promote cutting-edge intelligent edge solutions.