Given all the hype and buzz around machine learning and IoT, it can be difficult to cut through the noise and understand where the actual value lies. In this Blog, we explain how machine learning can be valuable for IoT when it’s appropriate to use, and some machine learning applications and use cases currently out in the world today.
What is Machine Learning?
Machine Learning is not a novelty innovation. As early as 1959, Arthur Samuel defined the concept of machine learning as the ability of computers to learn to function in ways that they were not specifically programmed to do. Of course, the timeline from definition to implementation in everyday life can be a long one. Today, many factors have come together to make machine learning a reality, including large data sources that are great for learning, increased computational power for processing information in split seconds, and algorithms that have become more and more reliable.
What is Data Analytics? How is it different from Machine learning?
Data analytics can help quantify and track goals, enable smarter decision making, and then provide the means for measuring success over time.
Machine learning, on the other hand, is a process of continuous learning, to which the system can make immediate adjustments to improve processes, timelines, decision making etc.
Machine Learning Use Cases in IoT
The data models that are typical of traditional data analytics are often static and of limited use in addressing fast-changing and unstructured data.
When it comes to IoT, it’s often necessary to identify correlations between dozens of sensor inputs and external factors that are rapidly producing millions of data points.
In general, machine learning is valuable when you know what you want but you don’t know the important input variables to make that decision.
Some of the typical use cases of Machine Learning and IoT are given below.
Cost Savings in Industrial Applications
Predictive capabilities are extremely useful in an industrial setting. By drawing data from multiple sensors in or on machines, machine learning algorithms can “learn” what’s typical for the machine and then detect when something abnormal begins to occur.
A Large Equipment Manufacturer has installed Many IoT sensors on its equipment which continuously send data to be learned and any deviation above a threshold be highlighted and immediately triggered as a notification to the concerned person.
Shaping Experiences to Individuals
We’re actually all familiar with machine learning applications in our everyday lives. Both Amazon and Netflix use machine learning to learn our preferences and provide a better experience for the user. That could mean suggesting products that you might like or providing relevant recommendations for movies and TV shows.
Similarly, in IoT machine learning can be extremely valuable in shaping our environment to our personal preferences.
The Nest Thermostat is a great example, it uses machine learning to learn your preferences for heating and cooling, making sure that the house is the right temperature when you get home from work or when you wake up in the morning.
The use cases described above are just a few of the virtually infinite possibilities, but they’re important because they’re useful applications of machine learning in IoT that are happening right now.
But overall …. We’re Just Scratching the Surface. The billions of sensors and devices that will continue to be connected to the internet in the coming years will generate exponentially more data. Not only will we be able to
predict when machines need maintenance, we’ll be able to predict when we need maintenance too.
Machine learning will be applied to the data from our wearable devices to learn our baseline and determine when our
vitals have become abnormal, calling a doctor or ambulance automatically if necessary.
Beyond individuals, we’ll be able to use that health data at scale to see trends across entire populations, predicting outbreaks of disease and proactively addressing health problems.