By Corey Moss

Part 1 can be found here.

I believe that while AV has continued to touch on the prospects of IoT inside the industry, solutions outside the realm can certainly apply to industry company growth as well as future business prospects. It seems there are certain conversations that take place which show true relevance, and others that you can potentially take with a grain of salt. It’s really ours to discern, one way or another.

There was an Internet of Things Pavilion at InfoComm last year, although it seemed to be more of a conglomeration of manufacturers across the show, and I wasn’t 100% sure if they were all bringing true IoT solutions. I do though have a question where those exhibitors were concerned – why wouldn’t we see a company like IBM (who I referenced with an AV industry related solution in Part 1) at the show? The case in the first part was a collaborative effort with Ricoh and IBM Watson, and in fact there are so many Watson business solutions and cases now, why would we not be seeing them? I certainly would.

Here’s another that some may already be aware of – back in late 2016 IBM partnered with HARMAN to bring a groundbreaking prototype, tested in the healthcare market. A segment of a blog * I had written:

jbl-prototypeIn the hospital environment, IBM and HARMAN have worked to bring voice-activated technology to patients’ rooms at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. A prototype JBL smart speaker was tested at the hospital (picture right) which showed how, with voice commands, a patient can control their environment, answer questions, and alleviate demands on already overtasked hospital staff. The cognitive system is able to respond to their inquiries based on the huge depth of built-in knowledge about the hospital itself, the room, the connected devices within the room, the employees and much more.

On April 19th, it was announced HARMAN and IBM Watson Internet of Things Introduce Cognitive Rooms that Bring Connected Experiences to the Consumer, the two companies collaborating at IBM’s Watson Internet of Things Headquarters in Munich Germany – using IBM’s Watson AI technology and HARMAN AKG microphones, JBL speakers and AMX AV control and switching systems. Spoken requests are sent to the Watson cloud and Watson IoT services, which work with HARMAN’S technology to allow people to easily control their in-room subsystems without having to physically perform any manual tasks or try to figure the new systems out. These capabilities are currently on display at IBM’s Munich office, and at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the plan is indeed to deploy this solution in hospital rooms giving patients the opportunity to interact with the in-room speakers connected to the IBM Watson IoT Platform.

“We’re solving a very distinct problem in hotel, hospital and conference rooms, where people experience unfamiliar environments yet need to perform very simple tasks, such as changing room temperature, adjusting the lighting, opening the blinds, initiating conference calls or launching a presentation,” said Kevin Morrison, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions for HARMAN Professional Solutions. “Voice-Enabled Cognitive Rooms by HARMAN make for a natural and intuitive experience, especially for weary travelers or patients with special needs.”

While there are those talking about how voice control may fit with the office environment, here is the true representation we are certainly looking for presented by IBM and HARMAN. I am hoping this will be present at the show, and potentially reps from IBM to be present as well.

I did mention in part 1 about how taking a hard-focused look at voice control in the office might represent missing out on a wider landscape view, however voice here becomes an element of a multiple market solution – one being healthcare where revolutionary technology advancements occur regularly these days. The cognitive component escalates the conversation to another level, that of greater technology intelligence.

According to Merriam-Webster:

Cognitive skills and knowledge involve the ability to acquire factual information, often the kind of knowledge that can easily be tested. So cognition should be distinguished from social, emotional, and creative development and ability. Cognitive science is a growing field of study that deals with human perception, thinking, and learning.

When we look at the human element to go along with true intelligent interaction, we see the basis for what IoT and cognitive computing can bring to enterprise level technology transformation.

The two other tech giants I pointed to in part 1 are Microsoft and Cisco, referring to advancements in IoT that both have brought to business as well. Microsoft IoT – from increasing process efficiencies to delivering better customer experiences to generating new revenue streams. Cisco IoT – connecting everything drives positive business results. Create new revenue opportunities and lower operational costs by managing your connected devices.

In their IoT Blog, Microsoft recently published Three ways Microsoft helps companies use big data, cloud and AI to accelerate digital transformation and the Internet of Things. Here is the opening statement:

The age of intelligence is here. According to IDC, the worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will grow from $130.1 billion in 2016 to more than $203 billion in 2020. Today there is an immense opportunity for enterprises to differentiate themselves from the competition by leveraging big data and advanced analytics solutions. If you’re already capturing or plan to capture IoT data, you can mine your data for unprecedented insights that may change the way you do business.

Analytics, data insights. What the prospects of IoT can provide for business are truly remarkable, and Microsoft is creating advancements to accelerate transformation – from optimizing manufacturing to faster decision making to reliable cost cutting through intelligent forecasting.

Here is the link to an excellent presentation, Microsoft Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie’s Keynote at Microsoft Data Amp 2017 on what the cloud has to offer, as well as using data to fundamentally transform one’s business (which involves AI as well).

So what does this have to do with the AV industry? First, hopefully you watch the video to learn more about Microsoft Cloud and the prospects of what the technology can bring in terms of digital transformation. A great many companies are running their businesses on the Microsoft Cloud, enabling Azure in their environment for cloud workflow. An example of Azure cloud deployment in the industry was evidenced by Pexip’s ver. 12 deployment to Azure in 2016. More evidence? Crestron Room Scheduling cloud deployment (vs. on-prem option), hosted by Crestron in Microsoft Azure cloud.

When discussing Azure, one’s business can capitalize on what Microsoft has to offer with Azure IoT in terms of connected industrial device efficiency, remote monitoring, predictive maintenance and more. In short, connecting devices, assets, and sensors to collect untapped data. Bring Microsoft IoT solutions to end users? Here’s their partners page.

Why don’t we bring Microsoft back to InfoComm, this time to show the array of cloud and IoT solutions (and enterprise mobility), along with UC and collaboration – widen those horizons.

As for Cisco, they are at InfoComm and this begs the question – why don’t we see their IoT solutions and services, to go along with their award-winning (at Enterprise Connect) Spark Board?

Business, analytics, insights, intelligence. Time to really expand the IoT conversation in the industry beyond voice and the office, smart building, control and remote management solutions that we have. With tech giants like IBM, Microsoft and Cisco (along with AWS), the opportunities presented can truly take business, as well as other markets, to the next levels of transformation and outcomes. We can certainly follow along with that footprint in the industry.

Next: The security discussion in enterprise IoT

*The IBM/HARMAN blog.


Me InfoComm 3

With almost 20 years in audio visual integration and IT/computer sales and consulting, Corey Moss is the owner of Convergent Tech – online publications Convergent Tech Blog and Convergent AV, and consulting. Corey writes for the publications and hosts/produces podcasts – Convergent Tech Blog Discussion (on Convergent Tech Blog) and The AV Life, The Edge of AV, EdTech Focus and The Show Corner all on Convergent AV. He has written for numerous industry publications about AV, IT, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), cloud and software, IoT, cybersecurity and more. He has also conducted interviews with AV and IT executives and global influencers.

Find out more about Corey on LinkedIn and on Twitter @Cbmoss.