“IoT is the rocket fuel Industry 4.0 needs to reach orbit”

Published by TelefonicaIoT IoT General, IoT Connectivity Hub, Industry

With people and machines being connected, empowered, and co-dependent like never before, communication is the key to companies successfully executing their Industry 4.0 strategies. UIB Founder and Chief Executive Officer and global IoT influencer Toby Ruckert sat down with us recently to share the importance of machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to companies over the coming years.

IoT needs AI

Without AI, we’d never get the full value out of IoT. Ruckert said, “IoT and AI truly need each other. IoT generates unprecedented amounts of new data. Data that, without insight, without AI, would be meaningless to us. Without understanding what the data is telling us, IoT is useless to society. Beyond volume, the data is also complex. Capturing, sharing, and analyzing it needs AI.” 

When asked about the trends driving industry 4.0, Ruckert said, “we hear the term ‘disruption,’ and that couldn’t be more accurate as the technologies of Industry 4.0 are disrupting society’s economics.” Ruckert focuses UIB on smart homes, smart cities, and smart enterprises, a revolution that is just beginning. He continued, “the focus to date in smart homes has been predominantly on home appliances. Manufacturers are figuring out how to build AI and IoT capabilities into their products. With smart cities, the focus is on creating new services and great digital experiences for both residents and visitors. And for smart enterprises, it’s split. Sometimes it’s a narrow focus on optimizing manufacturing and sometimes it’s transforming the entire business with digitization.”

When asked about the role of IoT in Industry 4.0, Ruckert answered, “Right now, there’s a disconnect between machines and people, between knowledge, consciousness, and awareness. The fundamental, contextual disconnect is between how processes are understood by machines and how they are understood by people. “It’s too soon to say if machines will ever experience that which we think of as our ‘human consciousness,’ but we do know that the knowledge gap and its contextual understanding will eventually go away.” 

What will be IoT’s benefits?

AI and IoT will make hard things easy, but Ruckert does not view this as positive. “People, who can afford it, are going to get even lazier. There are experts who say this is good, that we will be able to spend our time ‘doing more important things.’ But I’ve personally seen so many people who go into retirement telling themselves that they’ll ‘do more important things.’ The reality is they are just as busy as usual, just with other ‘non-important’ things.”

In spite of that, Ruckert welcomes the benefits. His company’s flagship technology, the UnificationEngine® intelligent IoT messaging platform, serves as “the universal translator between the different machine systems and protocols and the different ways (e.g., WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram, smart speakers, mobile apps, etc.) and means (e.g., languages, emoticons, text, voice, gestures) in which humans communicate.” The explosion in media types and channels makes human to machine communications as much of an art as it is a science, so Ruckert’s company’s tagline is “Simply communicate.”

He believes that in the process of making it simple, we will also learn how to communicate better with each other. “Humans’ growth is finite. Machines’ growth is not. The complexity arising from this imbalance cannot be resolved without intelligence on the machine side and simplicity on the human side.”

Who knows? One day, this approach may even prove itself useful when communicating with intelligent beings from other planets. Concluded Ruckert, “Someday, we may use the ability, to teach machines how to speak our languages, ourselves in order to learn other beings’ languages and forms of expression. While I would first like to see these processes and technologies used to help us to better understand each other and our own cultures, wouldn’t it be amazing if it indeed helped us to communicate with other worlds?”

Toby Ruckert, CEO of Unified Inbox Pte. Ltd.