By Shannon Davis, Web Editor
Fifty years of technological developments following Moore’s Law has changed our world in some phenomenal ways, but Intel’s Doug Davis believes the time has come to change the way we think about developing new solutions.
At SEMICON West 2015 on Wednesday morning, Intel’s Internet of Things Senior Vice President and General Manager challenged attendees to broaden their thinking on the potential of the IoT and examine their own roles in bringing about global change through new, innovative technology.
“The question is not how do we make these devices smart? The question becomes what are the problems that we can work together to solve?” Davis said.
Davis’ presentation addressed four complex issues the world is currently facing: an aging population, climate change, the urban boom, and how we feed the planet, offering real IoT solutions that could impact these growing concerns.
IoT and an aging population
Since 1950, the average lifespan has increase by more than 20 years. By the year 2050, more people on the planet will be over the age of 60 than under the age of 14.
“As we’re all living healthier, longer lives, we also have to reflect that as a society we’re unprepared to provide care for these kinds of numbers,” said Davis.
Even if the infrastructure were available, if you talk to seniors, they’d rather live out their lives at home, Davis pointed out. How can the IoT help us with this challenge? Davis offered up MimoCare as an example pioneering technology that addresses this.
MimoCare is an IoT technology currently available that uses analytics to provide the caregiver with a unique monitoring solution. Using a network of motion, door, and presence sensors, MimoCare will unobtrusively provide data on what is normal in the home and what changes are occurring, which allows the caregiver to make decisions if they are concerned. The result: seniors are enabled to live in the comfort of their own homes longer.
IoT and climate change
No matter where you stand on global warming, there’s no arguing that air quality is becoming a serious issue in an increasing number of cities in the world, Davis said.
He challenged his audience to also think about this problem differently, posing the question, “What if we reduced emissions at every point in the supply chain?”
Davis cited Intel’s own predictive analytics solutions, which have been used in a number of their fabs around the world.
“Engineers at one Intel fab have used this data to reduce maintenance time by 50%, parts replacement by 20%,” Davis said. “They were able to reduce non-genuine yield loss by as much as 20%.”
With this kind of increase in efficiencies, Davis said Intel believes this also helps to reduce their carbon footprint.
IoT and the urban boom
“We’re undergoing the fastest rural to urban migration in human history,” Davis explained. “City populations are growing by 65 million people per year – that’s seven new Chicagos every year.”
And there are a lot of growing concerns that go along with this boom, from traffic problems to pollution. To address these issues, Davis said Intel has pilot programs now in the UK that are beginning to capture data on traffic patterns, air quality, water supply and more, and overlaying that data with public service agencies, which would allow these agencies and eventually citizens to make real-time decisions and changes.
IoT and how we feed the planet
Davis argued that the real problem the world is facing isn’t how to feed the planet, but the amount of food wasted while so many people go hungry.
“The World Bank says that we’re currently wasting 1/4 to 1/3 of the food that’s being produced on the planet today,” said Davis. “We have to get better at distributing food.”
Davis shared one example of improved agricultural performance through IoT solutions installed in rice fields in Malaysia, where farmers used ground water and weather forecasting analytics to monitor and make decisions about crop management. In the end, Davis said, farmers were able to see water savings of up to 10% and rice production increase of 50%.
What’s possible in the next five years?
It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like after another 50 years of technological developments, so Davis concluded his presentation with market research that demonstrates the dramatic impact these Internet of Things systems can have in just five years.
According to recent studies by Juniper, he reported, the world’s healthcare systems could save $36B by implementing remote patient monitoring technologies. Predicted maintenance could have as much as 1,000 times return on investment, when we think about the total impact those solutions could deliver. Smart city traffic management could reduce cumulative global emissions by 164 million metric tons, the equivalent to taking 35 million cars off the road. Improved data collection, weather forecasting, and precision agriculture could decrease agricultural losses by as much as 25% percent.
“The genius of Moore’s Law showed us what was possible and set the pace for us,” Davis said. “Over the next 50 years, think about what’s possible – think beyond just the device and into the end-to-end solutions we can create, and we can tackle these huge challenges worldwide.”