Sensors can become the eyes and ears of appliances and devices, increasing their in-built intelligence and enabling them to interact with us
Consumer appliance, electronic and telecoms firms Whirlpool, Panasonic and Nokia have teamed up with IBM to show how the cognitive computing capability of its Watson IoT platform could “drive a new wave of innovation” in the home.
During a keynote address at tech trade show IFA, the companies presented a range of scenarios where consumer products and appliances could connect with and interact with one another and their users.
For example, a Whirlpool washing machine could instruct a dryer as to what kind of laundry load it has washed and the optimum drying program to use both saving time and helping to reduce home energy consumption.
Meanwhile, Nokia is exploring opportunities to integrate Watson with wearables and smart devices for home care. The aim is a system that helps to detect and alert caregivers to potential problems such as: deviation from daily routines; abnormal vital signs; and sudden changes in the home environment. The companies are also jointly exploring the role of predictive analytics to learn from historical data, spotting correlations, which can then be used to predict future issues and trigger actions for carers.
Finally, Panasonic is investigating how Watson’s machine learning and natural language processing capabilities can help transform the services it provides, for instance, offering greater peace of mind to customers knowing that their homes are safe and secure. In the area of home security, its cameras and sensors can detect movement, glass breakage, door and window opening. Coupled with Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities and using video analytics, a security system would then be able to differentiate between benign behavior and potential threats and automatically alert police, if necessary.
“Millions of sensors are giving appliances and devices eyes and ears, increasing their in-built intelligence and enabling them to interact with us better. The challenge is that over next few years, the Internet of Things will become the biggest source of data on the planet,” said Harriet Green, global head of IBM Watson IoT.
“That’s where IBM’s Watson cognitive computing system comes in. Watson uses machine learning and other techniques to understand this data and turn it into insight, which can help automate tasks, enable manufacturers to design better products, innovate new services and enhance our overall quality of life – especially in the home. And with cognitive technologies, interactions with ‘things’ through natural language and voice commands will dramatically improve.”
A recent report by Frost & Sullivan, prepared in collaboration with GITEX Technology Week in October, found that global shipments of wearables will grow from about 90 million in 2016 to over 200 million in 2020 and they could replace smartphones as a seamless gateway between citizens and smart cities.