IoT Agenda

Jun 24 2019   3:35PM GMT

Artificial intelligence is devouring the internet of things

Francisco Maroto Francisco Maroto Profile: Francisco Maroto

Artificial intelligence
enterprise ai
Enterprise IoT
Internet of Things

For those who don’t know Goya’s “Saturn Devouring a Son,” it belongs to his series of Black Paintings — and also serves as the best comparison I can make after IoT World Europe Summit, part of TechXLR8, in London last week.

In the painting, the god Cronos, who immutably governs the course of time, is devouring a son. The act of eating your child has been seen, from the point of view of psychoanalysis, as a figuration of impotence.

To relate this to the conference I attended, Saturn is AI and his impotent son is IoT. Sure, there are other brothers waiting their turn to be devoured by their hungry father — augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain, digital twins .., not even 5G will be spared.

If you’re still waiting for the IoT boom, this event confirmed the fact that IoT is badly wounded — at least in Europe. The few IoT companies that exhibited their products and services showed nothing could overshadow the big winner: the ubiquitous father AI. Although augmented reality and virtual reality presents itself as a great rival, it has yet to beat its competitors.

‘Saturn Devouring a Son’

The speaker lineup this year included a mix of vendor presentations and client success stories, but neither was able to raise the event. The few large IT firms present, including Microsoft, SAP and Oracle, were on the side of the father AI.

Discussions of the first years of the IoT boom revolved around connectivity, security, IoT platforms and even business models. Today, nobody is interested in these topics. I am sorry for those advising in these areas, but it seems that all the fish has been sold in Western Europe.

It was also apparent that the great integrators weren’t present either. Those that should have implemented IoT for years but never risked investing continue to squeeze clients with digitization projects, cloud migration projects, products updates and customized developments. And I believe most of them have done a disservice to the acceleration of IoT.

Also, there was no great IoT news during the event. Perhaps the most important announcement was given by Marc Overton, who took advantage of his presentation to announce the recent collaboration agreement between Sierra Wireless and Microsoft as the industry’s first full-stack IoT offering — something that happened far from the event.

As for my session, it mixed IoT and blockchain, something that would have guaranteed success for attendees over the past two years, but did not arouse enthusiasm this year. It’s evident it is becoming a commodity — something that’s not bad, since we can finally stop speculating about use cases and start using it in our lives and business.

Don’t worry, the life of IoT events will continue; this week alone there are three more:

Organizers and exhibitors need to reinvent IoT events to make them more attractive to visitors and generate qualified leads. We need IoT events where IoT is present in every corner of the floor, on every stage and in every service, including the cafeteria, restrooms, transportation and so forth. We need to breathe IoT every minute. Otherwise, IoT events will continue driving away visitors and exhibitors, and Saturn — AI — devouring a son — IoT — will become a reality.

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  • Tim Panagos

    I love the analogy! To extend it (perhaps a bit too far), the grandfather Uranus (snicker, snicker) is Data. IoT (and most of the other techs you mentioned) exist to generate new and better data. AI exists to process data into insights. AI challenges IoT because it is fairly good at deriving insight from unexpected, preexisting data sources. A little goes a long way, particularly in this period where low-hanging fruit for analytics remains to be picked. It turns out that data is much more fungible than human intuition suggests.


    If the world needs less data to get the insights that it needs, that is good. Yes, it means that technologies that generate new data will grow more slowly than expected. But, it also means that solutions to pressing problems may already be at hand. I suggest that our focus should be on sharing data that is already being collected to harvest new value rather obsessing over collection of new data.


    But, keep the faith! Better data DOES lead to deeper and more trustworthy insights. As time goes on, the fruits will be further up the tree, and we will need more and better data to reach it.  But, we also need to be realistic that the need for new sensors will likely never reach the hyped, heavenly heights that analysts have been throwing around.

    5 pointsBadges:
  • Francisco Maroto
    Thanks Tim. Great comment.
    425 pointsBadges:

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