New concepts in an IoT world: datafication and edge autonomy

Article By : Nitin Dahad

Datafication and edge autonomy are going to become megatrends in the IoT-driven age of data.

After edge computing became the key highlight in the IoT arena, two new concepts have emerged in the IoT-driven data world: datafication and edge autonomy. These new concepts will be explained in depth at the Boards and Solutions 2020 virtual conference to be held on 13-14 October 2020.

According to Charbel Aoun, EMEA business development director for smart cities at Nvidia, 8,000 new IoT devices are connected every 60 seconds. “IoT could turn the world into data that could be used to make macro decisions on resource utilization,” Aoun said. “Intelligent information is a great way to reduce waste and increase efficiencies, and that’s really what the IoT provides.”

What is datafication

While talking about datafication, Aoun gave the example of smart cities and one billion cameras worldwide that are recording 24/7 and generating massive data. “It is impossible for humans to process such amounts of data,” he said. There are a million-plus CCTVs in Shanghai, 500,000 in London, 200,000 in Moscow, 25,000 in Los Angeles, and 20,000 in Berlin.

A 1080-pixel camera operating at 34 frames per second (fps) generates 47 gigabytes of data in 24 hours and 17 terabytes of data in one year. Now a CCTV operator can focus for 30 minutes while looking at 4-16 video streams simultaneously. In other words, for every 100 screens or 100 streams you want to monitor, you need six operators.

Figure 1 AI offers city managers new solutions to 21st century urban challenges. Source: Nvidia/Boards and Solutions 2020

At the event, Aoun’s paper “How AI Can Make Cities Smarter – Powering AI City with IVA” will explain how AI helps make sense of the information overload. It will provide insights on datafication and how real-time decision-making based on this data pile can enhance citizens’ lives.

The pile of data generated by connected devices like cameras—embodied by datafication—will need to be processed and analyzed to provide insights and enable actions. That’s where edge devices enter the scene to help make intelligent decisions.

Future of edge: Autonomy

Jim Liu, CEO and founder of ADLINK Technology, says that the edge is where the actions should be decided because that’s where most data is collected. That’s also going to be the premise of his paper “Insights into Edge Autonomy – the Future of Edge Computing” at the virtual conference.

“We believe the future of edge is autonomy since the value is achieved at the edge,” Liu said. He also segmented edge autonomy into two sub-divisions: core autonomy and swarm autonomy. Core autonomy is focused on making a single machine smart and intelligent; however, it’s not enough to have an individual smart machine.

“If you want to fix the efficiency issue, or you want to get benefits, you have to consider how you can make sure all these machines, and people, and even utilities, connect together and ‘co-work’ together,” he added. That’s what Liu calls swarm autonomy.

It’s about making sure that all the information collected by edge devices can be transparent and shared, referring to the ‘swarm’ of intelligent machines. If edge devices can share information and data between themselves, that creates a shared intelligence and hence more autonomy at the edge.

Autonomous decision making

Autonomous decision making is also going to be a key part of the future in industrial automation projects, as highlighted in the paper presented by John Heinlein, vice president for high-performance IoT, automotive, and IoT at Arm. The paper, “Accelerating Innovation in Industrial Automation,” will talk about three distinct segments in smart manufacturing and warehousing: classic automation, industrial IoT, and robotics.

In all these segments, Heinlein sees more and more autonomy and more and more autonomous decision-making, which will be important in the future. “We believe with a couple of key challenges addressed, we can get to the smart manufacturing and warehousing of the future,” he said.

Figure 2 The journey to autonomy comes with industry challenges. Source: Arm/Boards and Solutions 2020

“There is no industry that will not favorably benefit from better data capture and better data analytics,” he added. “That’s why datafication and edge autonomy are going to be the vital ingredients in driving the smart cities, smart factories, smart homes, and the smart everything of tomorrow.”

For more details about the Boards and Solutions virtual conference taking place on 13-14 October 2020, and to register for free attendance, click here.

Covering three tracks over two days, the Boards and Solutions virtual event, will look at trends and products in industrial automation, smart cities, and edge computing. The topics and speakers include:

  • Accelerating Innovation in Industrial Automation, John Heinlein, vice president, high performance IoT, automotive and IoT line, Arm
  • Embedded Processing Solutions at the Edge: not your Father’s MCU, Philippe Magarshack, technology R&D group vice president and general manager of central CAD and design solutions, STMicroelectronics
  • Fundamentals of Success for Industrial Automation Innovation in the 5G Era, Hitoshi Shirakabe, vice president, marketing, enterprise infrastructure business division, IoT and infrastructure business unit, Renesas
  • How AI can make cities smarter – Powering AI City with IVA, Charbel Aoun, EMEA Business Development Director, Smart Cities, Nvidia
  • Evolution of Cybersecurity Legislation Across IoT, Haydn Povey, CEO, Secure Thingz, and general manager embedded security Solutions, IAR Systems
  • Why Zero Touch Onboarding and Provisioning is Vital for Secure Smart Cities, Bobby Vale, head of IoT platforms and ecosystem, Advantech
  • Insights into Edge Autonomy – the Future of Edge Computing, Jim Liu, CEO and founder, ADLINK Technology
  • AI Edge Streamline Solution into your Embedded Platform, Gian Claudio Lolli, sales director Aaeon South Europe, AAEON
  • Industry 4.0 at the Edge – A Crucial Move for Manufacturing, Jeff Sharpe, director, IoT & 5G embedded solutions, Supermicro

This article was originally published on EDN.

Nitin Dahad is a correspondent for EE Times, EE Times Europe, and also Editor-in-Chief of

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