[Column] Adebayo Sanni: Three transformational technologies that present unprecedented opportunity
The joint forces of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain, represent an unprecedented opportunity for enterprises in the public as well as private sectors. Every institution has the capability to exploit these technologies, securing a competitive edge to radically streamline and enhance their existing processes. This would further enable the development of innovative products and services for an entirely new generation of consumers.
While each of these technologies individually present exciting opportunities for enterprises, we think that the transformative impact of IoT, AI, and blockchain together - will be unprecedented. This is the first time in modern history that three transformational technologies have emerged in the same generation, and their whole effect is yet to emerge.
There are three major issues that these emerging technologies can help address in Lagos; Traffic Management, Waste Management and Land Related issues.
IoT senses, AI thinks
IoT is the sensing part of the transformational technology and AI is the part that thinks. AI has the potential to enable fast, intelligent decision-making - either in support of human intelligence, or in place of it. Businesses can delegate mundane or complicated tasks to achieve a level of accuracy and efficiency beyond the capabilities of humans.
For example, in Nigeria, the potential to combine real-time data from IoT devices from intelligent trash bins with historical waste-level of each trash bin can help waste management become smarter; especially for a city like Lagos that generates about 13,000 metric tonnes on a daily basis. The entire waste management system can become smarter overtime, learning from the data collected. A solution like this will help an organisation like Lagos Waste Management Authority to make better data-driven decisions for a cleaner Lagos.
This application can be replicated to address traffic management. The current traffic lights can be IoT enabled to ensure an efficient flow of traffic. The roads can also have sensors and information about road conditions, combined with data coming from road users to provide drivers with real-time traffic information. With such a system, drivers can be alerted to take alternative roads in case of an accident.
Machine learning in action
The insights generated by machine learning will help businesses better understand their customer expectations, enabling automated and personalised engagements. It will help in the creation of new goods and services, designed to quickly and accurately meet the demands of modern consumers.
Machine learning powers customer service chatbots, provides marketing insights, identifies cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and enables personalised products and services, and much more. Undoubtedly, the impact of machine learning on the enterprise will be profound.
So why aren’t we seeing more ground-breaking machine learning–powered products, services, and business models in Nigeria today?
The answer, as with IoT, is that maximising the business benefits of machine learning can be more challenging than it seems. Implementation of these technologies is not a case of throwing a switch and watching it come to life. It is an incremental and long process.
Nigerian businesses and public sector need to understand how best to exploit the true value of machine learning in the real world. Businesses have no choice but to find a way to permeate their business models with machine learning, or else they will fall behind more-agile competitors. Machine learning is the present - not the future.
Businesses need to make automation a part of their business processes – taking advantage of self-driving, self-securing cloud platform services such as the Autonomous Database, Analytics, Management and the many other Cloud Platform Services from Oracle.
Transforming with blockchain
We question a lot of information entering our homes, and businesses; for instance, when it comes to land transactions – how sure are you that the document received is the legitimate document? A blockchain solution can bring transparency to all stakeholders (lawyers, buyers, sellers, government, surveyors etc.) in the property business. Government can use such a system to track and ensure the right taxes have been paid to the government for every transaction; buyers can also have peace of mind as all the documents for the transactions can be verified real-time.
These transformational technologies will bring change - in our professional lives, our personal lives and country as a whole.
With these very simple examples, the question is not when, the question is how do you bring the future forward and empower African governments and businesses to take advantage of the transformative impact of IoT, AI, and blockchain?
The answers are in the cloud.
Without cloud, implementing any new technology is extremely difficult. It effectively levels the playing field. With cloud, even small companies can access the same compute power and resources as large organisations, while traditional businesses can adopt the same flexibility as agile tech startups.
A technologically enabled future has arrived. It is time to carve your niche in it.