BNamericas: Why is the adoption of IoT and big data important for Latin America?
Velázquez: We have produced more data in two years than in the last 100 and only the use of all this information can make the difference in acting with greater assertiveness and speed.
During recent years, IoT has gained a lot of popularity and not without reason; according to data from analysis firm Gartner, by 2020 there will be 20bn "things" connected to the internet. In addition, analysts predict that by 2025 the economic impact of IoT will be up to US$11tn. This is because artificial intelligence applied to IoT can help boost a business, a company or an industry by improving processes, facilitating customer service and avoiding errors in production processes.
BNamericas: What are the fields in which IBM is pushing the adoption of IoT and big data in the region?
Velázquez: The variety of sectors that are being favored in our region by IoT is considerable, since it goes from the automotive industry to agroindustry. For example, one of the largest food companies in Brazil implemented a project to monitor and control the volume of grain stored in its silos. Developed with IBM Watson IoT, the project involved the automation of processes through the use of IoT and artificial intelligence. In this way, equipment installed inside the rice silo captures the volume of stored grains and sends the information in real time to the system that can be consulted even while mobile.
BNamericas: Will the solutions help other key sectors in Latin America such as mining and manufacturing?
Velázquez: Mining and manufacturing, like many other industries, will benefit as their processes are transformed by the cloud, artificial intelligence, IoT and even blockchain. For us, the heart of this new transformative wave lies in the cloud and its deep capacity to enable new technologies.
Today there is no industry that's not clear about how much it needs from the cloud to function better, to have better business processes, to impact the final customer. In fact, these customers and consumers are also clear about the current need for the cloud.
BNamericas: How can IBM solutions support Mexico and other countries in the expansion of sectors such as clean energy, as well as distribution and monitoring of electricity and products such as natural gas?
Velázquez: Let me give the example of what would be achieved in an intelligent city.
The buildings where we live consume up to 42% of the electricity generated for a city. It's too high considering that a good part of the energy is wasted unnecessarily. Meanwhile, in other geographical locations, the electricity supply is still insufficient. Smart buildings today use a large number of interconnected sensors to monitor activity and energy consumption in real time. Applying artificial intelligence to sensor data can identify weak operational links and suggest changes to reduce waste.
BNamericas: How does IBM work to guarantee privacy and data protection in the midst of a data revolution that demands access to them?
Velázquez: The challenges of the new data economy we're living in are capturing worldwide attention and raising questions about how we can take advantage of all its advantages while limiting risks. In a world transformed by information, it's urgent to generate transparency and principles that guarantee privacy and safeguard the benefits that are generated when processing or analyzing a large amount of data.
What should companies do in this fight to ensure privacy and provide confidence? First of all, ensure a commitment to those who own the data and be guided by solid principles, and that can only happen through a broad commitment among all organizations that obtain, store, manage, process or transmit information.
Given the emergence of massive data leaks, it's important that customers are aware of the actions taken to protect their data, as well as generate collaborative schemes that involve the public and private sectors to meet new cyber threats.
Velázquez: In this massive data flow we face a great challenge for security, with an average cost of US$3,860 for information leaks and US$39,000 for mega-leaks.
Talking about security is a necessity. It's the way that can keep companies innovating freely and without fear of losing. However, we face another challenge: to have the right talent in the area of security. Innovation is a great way to fill this gap, but it must be done in a way that addresses technology, processes and people as different dimensions of security.
Artificial intelligence seems to be ahead in the race towards innovation in cybersecurity, which alters the way organizations aggregate large volumes of data, identify vulnerabilities and protect against cyberattacks. Artificial intelligence allows a significant increase in the work of security analysts.