The AIoT revolution - for the experienced and the brave

Hangzhou, China

The new garbage sorting regulations took effect from July 1 this year in Shanghai and are causing confusion amongst residents, most of whom had had no previous experience with garbage classification standards. To address these issues, according to Dahua, some companies are looking at developing intelligent trash cans that are smart enough to identify garbage types through information gathered from cameras and sensors.

That is just a glimpse into some of the life empowering benefits that IoT could offer. The city, the traffic, the home, nowhere would be as safe if, for instance, a wanted man shows his face but is then not identified, so no alarm is triggered and no indication is sent to the police in time.

Whilst it has been a buzzword in the tech world for many years and an even hotter topic today that permeates into everyday conversations, IoT is now literally a big deal. Research shows that the global market was valued at $190.0 Bn in the year 2018 and is anticipated to reach $1111.3 Bn by 2026, according to a recent report by Fortune Business Insights, entitled Global market analysis, insights and forecast, 2019-2026. The analysts in the report predict that the global market will expand at a ferocious CAGR of 24.7% throughout the forecast years.

The rise of AIoT

The rise of IoT requires multiple advanced technologies, including 5G, cloud computing, big data and AI, with AI being maybe the most important one. Thus IoT is now often directly referred to as AIoT, perhaps a more precise term indeed, since it is not just about connecting things/machines, but connecting things/machines that are smart enough to operate on their own, in a swift and spontaneous manner when put to work in a complicated system, such as a security system.

AIoT smart security solutions not only save manpower but also in various ways outdoes man’s work. Security cameras, for example, are sharper eyes than security guards when connected with a database. Each day a huge amount of visual information is collected by high definition cameras and transformed, through advanced AI algorithms, back into structured data, which can be computed and compared. In this way, AIoT makes it possible for cameras to not only record what a person does but also recognise who that person is immediately.

In addition to convenience and efficiency of crosschecking afterwards, AIoT security systems can also deal with an emergency when or even before it occurs. In short, it expands protection into prevention through pattern analysis. Since cameras are connected to other devices in AIoT, such as alarm ring and access control, the security system is in fact endowed with the power to take actions according to the information gathered and analysed. Nowadays, cameras often work with various types of sensors that can provide instant information other than images and videos, such as temperature and humidity, which are crucial to the safety of places like museums, drug stores and farm houses. And as you can tell, the AIoT solutions in those cases will also simultaneously take care of these situations by automatically adjusting the equipment concerned, like air conditioning and humidifiers.

AIoT & smart solutions in security

In more complex situations in which there are more variables, AIoT, though still far from replacing the majority of human labour, offers great help in terms of saving the time & cost, and rearranging resources to the most efficient degree, resulting in various smart solutions like the smart city, smart traffic, smart retail, smart home, etc.

The city today is usually a very complicated organism consisting of many elements and departments, which, if not connected in the most efficient way, could handle neither the unexpected event nor daily operation. Since the police force as well as other manpower is limited, it’s critical to use them smartly, which is why smart city solutions supported by AIoT become inevitable.

The concept of the smart city was first proposed by IBM in 2008. Since then, countries have started to develop smart city projects worldwide. But city is a complex and huge system in which it is impossible to realize sustainable development overnight. Different cities have their own unique features and spatial layouts due to the differences of economic development level, political system and culture, which means that the pattern of success cannot be replicated. For example, Sao Paulo is the biggest industrial city of Brazil, and Hangzhou is an e-business centre in China, we cannot just apply the same solution to these two cities.

With its rich experience from hundreds of smart city projects, in 2018, Dahua Technology put forward a concept called “Dahua Heart of City (Dahua HOC)” based on 1+2+N architecture. “1” refers to a big data platform. All data in the city level will be integrated into this big data platform for smart analytics. “2” means two centres - operation & management centre and security centre. Based on this architecture, Dahua Technology can serve “N” applications for smart city development. For example, safe city, smart traffic, smart banking,smart industry park and so on.

The same real time information collecting and sharing also applies to smart transportation solutions. For example, many cities around the world have problems with insufficient parking spaces. In China, there were 80 million parking spaces but 50% of which were still unused or vacant according to a report co-released by China Business News Business Data Center (CBN Data) & ETCP Intelligent Parking Industry Research Institute. If, through AIot smart traffic solutions, real time information collected and big data from various departments shared and analysed and resource rearranged accordingly, it is estimated that the vacancy rate could be reduced to 10%, which would be of great help to urban traffic controlling. Aside from car parks, many other complex traffic scenarios are in great need of AIoT solutions, such as buses, road traffic, airports, harbours, subways, etc. Dahua Technology smart solutions have been applied to Yarmouth Harbour in the UK, Recife’s Subway in Brazil, Ulaanbaatar city road in Mongolia, amongst others. 

AIoT smart solutions can certainly be adopted by private sectors as well, such as smart retail solutions, which, for example, can automatically calculate the customer flow by security cameras that can tell people from objects and backgrounds and thus optimise employee scheduling. With more information, the store can make smarter business decisions.

And then, there is smart home solutions. While safety may still remain the top priority for family users, it will not be the only valuable aspect. Smart home solutions make cameras do more than surveillance when they are connected with other house pieces through AIoT, such as the locks and telephone. Users can remotely authorise other people to enter simply through cellphone activation. And the video recorded will not just be about safety but also for entertainment purposes, such as checking out the live performance of your pets.

AIoT versus cyber security

The arrival of the AIoT era has brought unprecedented attention to network security and privacy protection.

On May 25, 2018, the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was officially implemented to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union, imposing stricter requirements on data processing by controllers and processors. Companies across the world, including security vendors, have taken various active measures, such as conducting data protection impact assessments, strengthening data protection training, upgrading data protection technologies, and standardising organisational compliance requirements.

As a result, the business of third-party certification companies is booming globally. In order to minimize the negative influence of GDPR to their business, companies like Dahua Technology, Hisense and Deutsche Telekom have been actively working with companies like TÜV Rheinland, making sure that their related products and services are in compliance with IoT data security and privacy protection requirements as derived from GDPR.

More players – challenges or opportunities

One analogy to AIoT might be water: it is practically everywhere, it is about everything and it is essential to life as we know it, or as we ask it to be. It is no surprise then, that the security industry, which is all about guarding the very life itself, will be one of the pioneers to explore AIoT technologies and as a result one of the first to benefit from it. Boosted by AIoT, the security industry sees ambitious new players coming into the game from telecoms, IT, AI or chip manufacturing industries, like Huawei, Alibaba, Sensetime, Megvii, etc. The battle for the trillion dollar market in the very near future as aforementioned will in fact be a total war with many front lines.

For the more traditional players who have gone through two major transformations of the security industry, first from hardware manufacturer to solution provider and then to the operator of platforms, the new era once again, brings more challenges as well as more opportunities.

The main challenge is to integrate data. Due to the lack of top level design and immaturity of technologies, data is isolated from each other in different stages like collecting, storage, processing and application, resulting in information silo and fragmentation of data.

The opportunities for traditional players are based on the competitive advantage in audio/video technology and core intelligent algorithms. The huge amount of videos produced every day is an important data source if it can be calculated through AI, in which realm traditional players like Dahua Technology, with many years of accumulated experience and technology development, could ensure the continuous improvement of product quality and provide corresponding solutions tailored in customer requirements. 

The AIoT evolution for security industry has arrived but still has a long way to go. In the current stage AI is more about advanced perception, but it is expected to be an advanced brain that can deal with highly complicated situations. That said, the consensus of major players is that AI would be the golden mine in the industry. As with each and every gold rush in the history of mankind, the biggest winners of the AIoT era, are likely to be the most experienced and the brave.


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