What goes on inside will greatly shape what happens on the outside. More specifically, the inside of electrical and mechanical equipment, components and other materials will continue to shape their outside performance, aided by great technological achievements.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) will have a great impact on electrical systems and equipment in 2019.
AI is not easy to explain. For electrical contractors, it’s important to know AI is making the seemingly impossible possible.
With machine learning, humans can leverage the data-processing power of AI to further drive decisions and logic. For instance, AI can analyze maintenance data, electrical signal parameters, environmental conditions, iterations of human behavior, and other data to learn occupant preferences and respond.
While AI is complex, it is an important technological development to be aware of as it is shaping the way we work and live.
McKinsey Global Institute, in “Notes from the AI Frontier: Modeling the Impact of AI on the World Economy,” states AI will have incredible effects on our world.
“The role of artificial intelligence tools and techniques in business and the global economy is a hot topic,” the paper states. “This is not surprising given recent progress, breakthrough results, and demonstrations of AI, as well as the increasingly pervasive products and services already in wide use. All of this has led to speculation that AI may usher in radical—arguably unprecedented—changes in the way people live and work.”
The internet of everything
For anything electrical—high, medium or low voltage—the IoT continues to evolve as a very important technology. The IoT and AI work hand-in-hand in many ways to shape digital dashboards, automation, and cloud computing and build out a new descriptor in the industrial landscape: Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 brings the data from connected devices into a usable form to measure and monitor performance.
Sensors, data, connected devices, and all that goes into the IoT pose many concerns. Cybersecurity, for one, is paramount: digital devices in an IoT framework are ripe gateways for security breaches.
But the IoT is on the cusp of great improvement. New technology will aid its reliability, range and power transmission of connected devices and data. Specifically, long range (LoRa) technology will greatly boost IoT capability. Semtech Corp., Camarillo, Calif., owns this proprietary digital wireless data communication technology, which uses license-free sub-gigahertz radio frequency bands (169 MHz, 433 MHz, 868 MHz and 915 MHz). It enables very-long-range transmissions with low power consumption. Thus, rural areas are not out of range; power required for devices in an IoT network configuration have a sustained life of transmission.
“The benefits of integrating Semtech’s LoRa technology in industrial asset management solutions go beyond simply providing location information, as supply chain and industrial management companies are looking to more efficiently monitor their equipment health and predict maintenance,” said Vivek Mohan, director of IoT, wireless and sensing products at Semtech. “LoRa technology is the ideal choice for low power asset management, as the technology enables solutions that are scalable, proven and easy to implement into existing infrastructure and equipment.”
Another emerging technology that will greatly aid the IoT is 5G: the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications. 5G systems enable a higher data rate than 4G and, therefore, enable more widespread device connectivity.
Researcher IHS Markit listed 5G as a category already shaping the IoT; it will continue to “disrupt” the IoT marketplace with capability and capacity.
In “Top Trends Driving the Internet of Things in 2018 and Beyond,” IHS states: “5G builds upon earlier investments in M2M [machine-to-machine] and traditional IoT applications, enabling significant increases in economies of scale that drive adoption and utilization across all sectors of industry. Improved low-power requirements, the ability to operate on licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and better coverage will drive significantly lower costs across the IoT.”
The IoT and AI are only two of many technologies to watch in 2019. Both are worthy of lengthy discussion. It’s important to be aware that they are pervasive and disruptive, especially with regard to any new electrical control system or electrical installation.
Now and into the future, AI and the IoT will find their stride in 2019 with much more to follow.