We have therefore produced a series of easy-to-read articles explaining key technologies such as the internet of things, data streaming, cloud services, digital twins, advanced data analytics, machine learning, edge computing, and virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR).
If you have read all the articles, you will probably have noticed that all the technologies are interconnected and can be mutually beneficial. This is not to say, however, that you will need to use them all. Let us briefly run through each technology, highlighting how it relates to the others:
is a network of physical 'things' and sensors that are connected to the Internet. These things are called IoT devices and can be almost anything. The sensors send out data, and the internet of things is an important driver for the enormous increase we are now seeing in data volumes. All this data can be used to create new, innovative and better solutions.
refers to the continuous streaming of data from various sources to a single location. A data streaming platform is an efficient way of making data easy to manage and more accessible - in real-time. Data streaming can actually be called the foundation stone of modern IT architecture.
provide organisations with a wealth of options with everything that could be wished for from a modern IT system - and this all via the internet. Advanced data analytics, machine learning and digital twins are examples of this. Organisations only pay for what they use. The popularity of cloud platforms is increasing in line with the growth in data volumes and the availability of high-quality services that organisations do not have to operate themselves.
provide a digital copy of reality. In other words, a digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object, place, person, system or process. This technology is particularly relevant to organisations that want to get the most out of the data they have from their internet of things devices. Digital twins exploit data by using a range of cloud services and often also use advanced data analytics and machine learning. In combination with data streaming, this can take place in real-time, and the digital twin can also change as what it represents changes.
refers to processes that help us to learn something from the data available to us, either from IoT devices or other sources. We can solve problems and understand relationships on the basis of observations. Using software from the cloud makes it much easier than before to analyse and gain greater insight into complex data sets. Data streaming makes it possible to carry out such analysis in real-time.
involves computers learning to identify patterns in large data sets, including data from IoT devices, server activity, customer activity, social media, and other private and public data sources. Such data can be used for speech, text or facial recognition purposes, for example. However, machine learning is most often used to take predictions to the next level, often in real-time through the use of data steaming. Once all the data has been processed, information is output. This could, for example, be a message indicating that essential maintenance is required.
involves processing data as close as possible to its source. Now that the volume of data produced by the enormous number of IoT devices is exploding, it is important to be aware that edge computing can help reduce the load on broadband connections and both cloud and local IT infrastructure. In addition, this technology is crucial when extremely quick responses are required.
transport the user into a simulated digital world (VR) or to an augmented reality (AR) by means of special glasses, headsets, handsets, motion sensors, loud-speakers, tablets and/or smartphones. Virtual reality and augmented reality are closely related and are used for educational purposes, training on critical tasks, gaming and entertainment, for example. They are not particularly closely related to the other technologies but provide efficient ways of visualising data.
The winners of tomorrow will be sustainable digital organisations that use data and technology in ways that benefit society, their own activities and their customers. If your organisation succeeds in making use of some of these technologies, or ideally a combination of them, it will have a good chance of succeeding. However, you will obviously have to make active choices and to ensure that your organisation does not simply stand and watch while new and old competitors alike speed into the future.
And don’t forget – the important thing is not the technology itself but what it can do for you!