Solving the World’s Biggest Problems ─ Possible with IoT, says Doug Davis of Intel

Solving the World’s Biggest Problems ─ Possible with IoT, says Doug Davis of Intel

By Deborah Geiger, SEMI

Doug Davis, senior VP and GM of the Internet of Things Group at Intel, presented a keynote at SEMICON West 2015 on July 14 “The Internet of Things and the Next 50 Years of Moore’s Law.” Davis presented about how the Internet of Things (IoT) doesn’t just expand the possibilities of computing, but “fundamentally redefines it.”  He believes IoT is a game-changer for almost every part of the economy ─ “The Internet of Things has the capacity to solve the greatest social and business challenges of our time.”

Three Waves of IoT

“Every overnight sensation is 20 years in the making,” said Davis, who described the three steps to where we are today with IoT:

  1. Embedded: IoT started about 40 years ago as we began to extract more and more data from embedded devices; this set the foundation for the first step of IoT.
  2. Connected: About 10 years ago, the emergence of cloud computing altered the industry; the economics of scalable computing power changed dramatically as access to servers and storage in a cost-effective way.
  3. Smart: The third step is evolving today. The change is that now we can harness data and analytics from embedded connected devices. Previously unavailable information is now available through big data analytics.

Davis believes that IoT is “Intelligence Everywhere.” He showed a video of a Swedish firm Yanzi that uses Intel solutions for a next-generation office. Yanzi truly has a “smarter office” with sensors on copy machines, trash bins, projectors, restroom dispenser, and more. Push notifications allow managers to make efficient and smart business decisions.

Solving Society’s Four Major Problems with IoT

But Davis stressed that the ability to create smart buildings, connected machinery, or even intelligent cars is only part of what we should expect from the Internet of Things.  He argued that we need to set higher ambitions for the IoT because society needs to solve these four major problems:

  1. Caring for an Aging Population
  2. Retooling the Industry’s Carbon Footprint
  3. Managing the Urban Boom
  4.  Feeding the Planet

With all the real-time, actual information we can produce, it is reasonable to start thinking about how smart and connected systems can tackle these problems.

Caring for an aging population is the first issue. Davis said that by 2050, 40 percent of the world’s population will be over 60 years old. More people will be over 60 than under 14. In the U.S., 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day and by 2020, there will be 8 million people over 80. Society is not prepared to deal with the increase in caregiving but IoT could make a dramatic difference by transforming homes and making them smarter: motion sensors, fall detection, and more. The focus of the systems is “actionable data.”

The second major issue is retooling the industry’s carbon footprint. Davis stated that the U.S. is responsible for about 80 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and that by the end of the century, the world will be 7 degrees warmer. 

Davis said that “IoT is a game changer for the industry.” Intel has done predictive analytic pilots in fabs involving vacuum pumps in a diffusion area. It is clear that predictive analytics can make a factory more efficient and that will reduce the carbon footprint, as well as reduce unscheduled downtime.

The third issue is the “Age of Urbanization.” Davis said that the world is experiencing the “fastest rural-to-urban migration ever occurred in history, with seven new Chicago’s every year.” 

Intel works with local governments around the world to begin to address the challenges of an urban environment. Pilots are currently going on in London, where looking at air quality, noise, water distribution, gas, and traffic, with an overlay of police and fire department data. He said that as data is captured across the city and “systems of systems.” Davis said that the focus is on “data types that we can look at across big data analytics and consider the city as a holistic system as opposed to silos.”

The fourth, and final, problem that Davis addressed is global hunger. He said that it is a myth that there’s not enough food to feed the world’s population. While there’s hunger in certain areas of the world, up to a third of all food is wasted -- “that’s four billion metric tons of food” -- while millions of people are going hungry. This is due to inadequate market systems or food distribution systems, according to Davis.  However, we “produce 17 percent more food per person today than we did just 30 years ago and agricultural productivity is increasing faster than the population.” Davis said that we have to get better at growing and distributing food. “Solution? Cutting waste, improving logistics, sustaining productivity gains are all important. But we also need to think about other things associated with agriculture… like GHG because of all the processing and packaging and transporting.”

How does Intel apply technology to farming? An example is Abacco and rice farmers in Malaysia applying “Smart Agriculture” technology.  In a video, Chang Yeu Cheong talked about Abacco partnering with Intel to transform the inefficient water supply management system to an efficient and smart water demand management system.

Farmers now can get accurate status of water flow in real-time, increasing farming efficiency. Control of water gates is now automated, with minimal intervention.  Cheong concluded that “Successful deployment of the water demand system has transformed the life of rice farmers.” Precision agriculture can save more than 10 percent of water and increase the rice harvest by 50 percent, a powerful impact.

“Start Thinking Big”

Davis urged companies to “think big” and answer these questions:

  1. What business am I really in?
  2. How does IoT make new cross-industry collaboration possible?
  3. Who do I need to partner with to solve the problems that matter most and capture the biggest opportunity?

He talked about how partnerships are critical to build standards in the industry and that it is critical to work together ─ academia, government and companies. He mentioned two consortiums ─ Industrial Internet Consortium which has 200 members and Open Interconnect Consortium with 80 members.

Still, Davis said that the key element needed is VISION. With vision and the IoT, society can tackle huge problems and make a difference.

Davis reminded the audience of the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law and said that “the genius of Moore’s Law showed us what’s possible” ─ setting the pace for the industry. In the next 50 years, we need to “think about the revolution that’s ahead in silicon, interconnect... materials now joined by the power of software, data and analytics… we can tackle these huge problems worldwide.”  He said that much is possible just in the next five years:

  • The world’s healthcare systems could save about $36 billion by implementing more remote patient-monitoring technology.
  • Predictive maintenance could have a 1,000 percent return on investment in an industry setting.
  • Smart-city traffic management and parking systems will reduce cumulative global emissions by 164 million metric tons.
  • Improved data collection, weather forecasting, and precision agriculture could reduce agricultural losses by as much as 25 percent.

Davis concluded, “These challenges are the ones that Intel aspires to solve, and work together with other partners on . . . Think Big.”

Attend an upcoming SEMICON event: SEMICON Taiwan (September 2-4) and SEMICON Europa (October 6-8) and SEMICON Japan (December 16-18).  

August 4, 2015