Technology Trends

Merger of AI, IoT new buzzword for rapid digital transformation

Artificial intelligence and the internet of things will see wider industrial applications in China as more local companies are speeding up digital transformation and deploying innovative technologies to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, experts said.

The comments came as 60 percent of enterprises in China are expected to embrace digitalization by 2025, according to a five-year plan unveiled by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the nation's top internet watchdog.

Zhao Kang, who is in charge of enterprise-oriented business at Megvii, a Chinese AI pioneer, said digital transformation is no longer a choice but a must for local enterprises. The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted all walks of life to accelerate the pace of digital transformation. Meanwhile, digitalization is also a golden opportunity for Chinese companies to become more competitive on the world stage.

According to Zhao, China has strong policy support to promote the development of AI, which has transitioned from a budding phase to a stage of growth and maturity, with the technology generating more commercial value for a wide range of sectors.

In the era of intelligent IoT, improving the efficiency of a single device or equipment is no longer enough. What is in dire need is an overall improvement in multiple dimensions. That is what the combination of AI and IoT, or AIoT, can deliver, by enabling a two-way interconnection of devices' capabilities to perceive and execute tasks, making it possible to analyze all data autonomously, Zhao said.

Seeing AIoT as a golden opportunity for the next decade, Megvii has unveiled a string of products and solutions to empower enterprises to access greater computing power at more affordable prices, and to facilitate industrial applications of AI and IoT.

AIoT must be combined with specific scenarios and industries, with customers and with partners to truly unlock its value and to promote digitalization, according to Megvii.

Market research company International Data Corp predicts that direct investment in digital transformation worldwide will surpass $6.8 trillion between 2020 and 2023.

Wu Lianfeng, vice-president and chief research analyst of IDC China, said Chinese enterprises are facing new challenges and more than 80 percent of enterprises are poor in digital resiliency.

Digital resiliency is the ability of an organization to rapidly adapt to business disruptions, leverage digital capabilities to maintain continuous business operations and quickly adjust to take advantage of changed conditions.

Li Wei, deputy head of cloud computing and big data research at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a Beijing-based government think tank, said enterprises should speed up the pace of digital transformation, concentrate on consumers' requirements, integrate online and offline channels, as well as promote the transformation and upgrade of traditional industries.

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