VMware IoT Lead: AI and IoT to Drive Business Process, IT Value

The combination of AI and IoT technologies will drive value across business processes as well as in the management of the infrastructure itself, says Mimi Spier.

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Artificial intelligence (AI) will act as an enabler and help accelerate IoT projects, according to VMware’s IoT lead.

To that end, VMware will work to provide both AI-enabled infrastructure technology as well as leverage AI to optimize the technology it develops and delivers to customers, according to Mimi Spier, vice president of IoT business for VMware.

“The ability to get data out of things and the amount of impact you can have when you start to use IoT and AI together is quite profound,” Spier said. “For the future, to achieve the picture I just painted, you have to have a flexible, manageable, scalable, secure foundation that enables us to do things on the edge … as well as deeper learning in the cloud.”

Spier lent her impressions on AI and IoT projects during a recent interview around a PWC report that shed a positive light on AI and job creation, with the report’s authors concluding AI-enabled technologies will generate as many jobs as they displace overall, when evened out across different sectors.

The recent report comes at a time when businesses are still finding that launching IoT projects is hard, and it’s taking longer than many in the industry expected, according to Spier. That’s a factor of many things, from the availability of skills to the difficult change management processes involved in launching IoT projects, according to Spier. But the combination of AI and IoT technologies will drive value as the insights are applied, when it comes to everything from business processes to the management of the technology infrastructure itself, according to Spier.

VMware currently sells the Pulse IoT Center, a console that lends both IT and OT professionals greater visibility and control over compute power across IoT deployments, with the aim of easing efforts such as updates and patches. It has two components: a management console on the server side and an agent on the client side (called Liota) that sits on the IoT gateways and edge systems. Liota includes an open source SDK that can be customized to orchestrate telemetry from any IoT gateway or connected device and can deliver data samples from the devices to the server as well as receive packages such as configuration changes and software updates.

It’s crucial to have the infrastructure to support and ease that process, according to Spier, a distributed infrastructure from the “thin edge to the thick edge” and back up to the cloud, with the right APIs, network connectivity, protocols and data storage.

“When we got into this space, we were highly concerned everyone was focused on what you do with the data and what are the analytics and sensor needs, and ignoring the importance of the infrastructure foundation required to scale,” Spier said. “I think people are starting to wake up.”

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