From Smart City Buenos Aires 2017: Converging AI, IoT, Blockchain
I had the pleasure to attend and speak at the recent Smart City Buenos Aires event. At this first event in the city’s new convention center, many technology and industry experts discussed how to accelerate adoption of digital services and transform customer and citizen experiences. In my session, I talked about three topics: AI, IoT, Blockchain. These are usually covered separately, but I talked about how the fast convergence of these technologies is adding tremendous value to the businesses and people using these new services.
There is clearly a lot of buzz around AI (Artificial Intelligence) and automation is top of mind to deliver better experiences while driving higher levels of efficiency for businesses. IoT on the other hand has been discussed a lot over the last few years and its role is to bring real-time analytics output to the automated framework (which AI is part of). IoT triggers a sophisticated workflow to personalize and customize the customer and user experiences enterprises deliver.
So, why Blockchain? As you start delivering personalized services it is likely you will need to access or store a lot of personal information, which requires a much stronger security architecture than what we have seen in the past with a centralized model. Blockchain, being a distributed architecture using cryptography and a concept of “write a record once,” provides enormous value to the use cases required as part of digital transformations. All of these combined provide a very powerful solution and I see these being jointly implemented a lot more in the near future.
A Use Case Shows the Benefit of Converging AI, IoT, Blockchain
Imagine wearing a device that monitors your heart rate and level of exercise every day. You have loaded all of your personal info (identity—including fingerprint and facial recognition, contact info, doctor, medications, allergies, etc.). For security, this info is stored in a Blockchain database architecture. Your personal medical insurance company takes your health seriously and is constantly monitoring various aspects of your health throughout the day through the wearables you have registered with them.
While attending an event, your wearable device reports an abnormal heart rate. The AI, through its analytics, determines the abnormality is a precursor to a heart attack. An event is immediately triggered to notify your doctor and provide any concerning data gathered over the last few days. Your doctor sees something serious and orders an ambulance to pick you up and take you to a hospital.
Your wearables determined your exact location, which is sent to the emergency response team with all the necessary data for them to assist you. When you get to the hospital, the system tied to your personal digital currency (let’s say bitcoin), which also uses Blockchain, enables you to upgrade and pay for a private room.
The AI-enabled framework provided a complete automated experience which may have just saved your life.
Endless Use Cases are in the Works
As people continue to envision scenarios like this, I see AI, IOT, and Blockchain converging at a very fast pace to bring highly valued experiences to customers and citizens. This isn’t the stuff of the future. All of this is technically possible today—there are limitless use cases being created right now that will change how we all live.