Top 2021 Utility Trend: AI and ML will be Pushed to the Edge

The following is an excerpt from our Expert Insights: The Top Utility Trends of 2020 & 2021 ebook. You can access the full report here.

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The “hedonistic treadmill” is humans’ tendency to quickly get used to positive situations and then return to our normal level of happiness. That will happen with AI and ML in 2021: this wondrous technology will become old news and we’ll want it to be better and faster.


The faster your workflow is, the sooner you can get and use the right information to make critical repairs, prioritize maintenance tasks, and improve your network uptime. Even the fastest technology we have today isn’t as fast as it could be, however. 

UgCs PrecisionFlight Pro on laptop over shoulder of flight ops


New chips and new ML techniques will allow machine learning models to be trained at the edge instead of in the data center, says Forrester in its report Predictions 2021: Accelerating Out Of The Crisis. "Edge application intelligence will blossom in 2021 to accelerate digital transformation, especially in industries that must bridge the physical and digital worlds in real time," the company reports.

Edge AI will allow for faster reporting and accelerated automated workflows. “If you put a drone up and it sees something that someone needs to know right now—not in five minutes, not in an hour, but the moment it sees it—it replicates the human being picking up a phone and calling it in,” says Kristen Ellerbe, VP Product Management & Design at PrecisionHawk. “That's going to be where the advancement is: reducing the time-to-value for super-critical issues and pushing as much important AI onto the edge as possible.”

Download our ebook, Expert Insights: The Top Utility Trends of 2020 & 2021, to learn how you can take advantage of 2020 trends and 2021 predictions in data collection and GIS technology.

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