April 5, 2016

What makes a smart machine smart?

Smart machines are no longer science-fiction. They are being used by businesses right here and now. And, every day, their capabilities are growing.

So exactly what is a smart machine? According to Tech Target, a smart machine is an intelligent device that uses machine-to-machine technology. Smart machines include robots, self-driving cars and other cognitive computing systems that are able to make decisions and solve problems without human intervention.

Technology is transforming right before our eyes
Smart machines are transforming everyday technology and disrupting how to think about business opportunities. Advances in artificial intelligence, speech recognition and machine learning are making it possible to automate knowledge worker tasks once seen as impossible for machines to perform, reports McKinsey & Company. Industry analyst Gartner Group predicts that the smart machine era will blossom through 2020 with the spread of technologies, such as intelligent personal assistants, smart advisers and advanced global industrial systems, making the smart machine era the most disruptive in the history of IT.

“We are at the forefront of exciting new technologies,” said Kevin Schoonover, Arrow Director of Engineering. “Arrow partners need to be aware of smart machines and how they will affect not only their own business, but also that of their customers.”

What makes a smart machine smart?
Smart machines are built on top of existing technologies like cloud computing, big data, robotics and the Internet of Things. It is the expanded capabilities of smart, connected products and the data they generate that are ushering in a new era of competition. Companies must look beyond the technologies themselves to the competitive transformation taking place.

Kevin Schoonover IoT Quote

There are four components that make a machine smart:

  1. Intelligent — Capable of operating autonomously 
  2. Secure — Able to avoid and correct processing errors 
  3. Managed — Can learn and anticipate future events 
  4. Connected — Interacts with other machines and systems

Smart machines will be disruptive
There will be huge competitive advantages for those companies who adopt smart technologies including higher profit margins and streamlined manufacturing processes. CIOs will need to assess how smart machines, capable of making decisions without human intervention, will impact business processes. Industry analyst Gartner has made several predictions that will have an effect on both business and society:

  • 45 percent of the fastest-growing companies will have more smart machines than employees by 2018
  • More than three million workers will be supervised by a “robo-boss” by 2018
  • 20 percent of business content will be authored by machines by 2018

What should you do next?
Smart machines will change the way we do things. Many of the mundane tasks we do every day will be done by smart machines. “Chief information officers will need to work collaboratively with executives in operations, human resources and other key areas to plan ways to leverage the benefits of smart machines while also understanding their impact on workforces,” said Kenneth Brant, research director for the Gartner Group.

If you would like to hear more about smart machines and its impact on business, contact your Arrow representative.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted in January 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.