Processing at the edge
You might ask why you need the AIoT, given the convenience and popularisation of the cloud. For many businesses, digital transformation has simply meant a shift of their services and networks into the cloud infrastructure, and it’s easy to assume that you could send data to and from that invisible resource without any issues.
The truth is that the cloud simply cannot keep up with the growing scale of the IoT. Communications infrastructure are bandwidth limited, data centres cannot deliver the compute. This results in a myriad of problems with network bandwidth, latency, compute scalability, energy management and security. Relying on existing cloud architectures is simply not a realistic option on anything more than a localised, private scale, which would in turn limit the scope and the potential for AIoT applications.
With Business Insider Intelligence suggesting that there will be 64 billion IoT devices as early as 2025 – an explosive increase of more than 600% on 2018’s 10 billion – the AIoT is in need of devices with incredible processing power at the very edge in order to meet users’ expectations.
Rather than sending data to and from colossal cloud networks, the AIoT sees processing power being moved towards or directly on to the devices generating the data itself. This takes the strain away from overloaded networks and power hungry and costly data centres groaning under the weight of requests, distributing the workload in a way that greatly improves performance.
However, there are clear financial difficulties here. For many businesses looking to take advantage of AIoT, the required investment in high-end CPUs to comprehensively cover their network endpoints is completely unrealistic. But without the ability to seriously boost processing power, AIoT is essentially a pipe dream.