You’ve probably heard of smart cars, smart homes, smart cities and smart energy. In this article, we explain why “everything” is becoming smarter. And, not least, how this will affect us as individuals going forward.
Written by Kristian Enger, Innovation & Own Brands
The internet of things (IoT) is a collective term for the billions of sensors we now have for gathering data. Cars, houses, factories, coffee machines, loud speakers, clothes and light bulbs - there is no limit to what we can measure, manage and get data on using sensors. Developments in this area are being driven by the low cost of gathering and recording data and the value of this data when used in the right way. We live in an ever-more complex information society where the ability to access data is increasing exponentially.
Limitless amounts of data can be stored in the cloud, and it is data that forms the basis for what we describe as "smart" concepts. Data-driven business development and machine learning mean we can tailor our systems, processes, routines, products and services and so make them more "intelligent". This means that systems can predict faults before they happen, solutions can provide proactive notifications and services can adapt to their users – ideally without users even noticing that this is happening. This is often referred to as artificial intelligence (AI), but in reality it is only using data in a systematic and learning way. The major platform providers (Microsoft, Google, Amazon etc.) have in recent years developed a broad range of ready-to-use services for data processing, and Itera works closely with all of these providers to make use of the framework they provide.
As users, we have probably all encountered smart concepts that in reality do not add any value: map services that take you to the wrong place, smart speakers that do not give you the answer you needed, and automatic watering systems that do not detect moisture properly. The ability to access large amounts of data is not in itself enough for something to be called “smart”. For us, “smart” involves developing intelligent systems or services that are closely related to the digital transformation we are undertaking together with our customers and partners. We take an interdisciplinary approach to concept development, design, programming, security and sustainability. This is central to creating digital value.
Smart concepts versus smart users
At Itera, our primary concern is for the users of smart concepts, regardless of whether the concepts are for use in a professional or personal context. The ultimate test of whether a solution is truly "smart" is the user experience. We therefore applaud OBOS, which talks about “smart living” rather than “smart homes”, Cognite, which is using data platforms to make the oil industry more efficient, and Agder Energi, which is committed to its customers being able to store and distribute solar energy they have themselves generated.
For us at Itera, developing smart concepts is synonymous with taking a user-centric approach. We are passionate about engaging users and understanding their problems. When we can then use data to solve these problems and to create good user experiences, we really get excited. For us, this is the very essence of working smartly.