Convergence with AR/VR to drive IoT growth

Francesco Radicati/Ovum
18 May 2016

Hitachi will invest nearly $3 billion in IoT activities and is forming a new division, Hitachi Insight Group, to drive its strategy in IoT. The company announced the new division at the Internet of Things World 2016 conference in Silicon Valley, where delegates also heard projections of how the IoT will work with other innovative technologies, including augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and machine learning.

Making sense of IoT through other technologies

IoT World presented two different snapshots of the IoT industry – the first encompasses businesses attempting to make sense of the technology and integrate it into their existing activities, while the second involves companies and entrepreneurs joining IoT with other technologies to offer new products and enable new activities.

Hitachi’s announcement is an example of the former, as it calls the new Hitachi Insight Group the “tip of the spear” in its attempt to capture market share. The company has created a core platform for IoT, called Lumada, which will help accelerate the development of IoT solutions and facilitate co-creation with partners and customers such as Intel, Microsoft, and SAP. Hitachi Insight Group is targeting the four key market segments of smart cities, smart energy, smart healthcare, and smart industry, and it will work with Hitachi’s newly established Centers for Social Innovation – labs established in multiple regions to solve local challenges in areas such as energy, transportation, and healthcare.

Yet the use of other technologies will also be a key enabler of IoT adoption, as attendees of the main keynote and of the Wearables World Congress track heard. Electronics distributor Arrow gave a presentation on the importance of technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence in consolidating the data points that IoT collects in the cloud. The company noted that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day, and as more sensors come online this amount will only increase. Increasingly powerful computers will be needed to make sense of the data and will help mediate interaction between devices, such as autonomous cars and smart cities.

Meanwhile, computer vision applications such as augmented or virtual reality will also converge with connected devices, speakers at Wearables World Congress predicted. As products become smaller and more networked – like smart clothes, smart watches, and smart glasses – processing power will be distributed among them, making the network the computer, and as they become more numerous, devices capable of creating displays using computer vision will replace screens in smartphones.

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