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Category: Internet of things

More, faster, better: The future according to Mobile World Congress 2019

More is more data, which the trillions of devices in the coming Internet of Things will be pumping through our air into our (computing) clouds in hitherto unseen quantities.

Faster is the speed at which tomorrow’s 5G networks will carry this data—and the responses and actions from our automated assistants (and possibly overlords).

Better is the quality of the data analysis and recommendations, thanks primarily to the vast army of AI-powered analytics engines that will be poring over everything digital the planet has to say.

Swimming through this perpetual data tsunami will be we humans and our many devices, our laptops and tablets and smartphones and smart watches and, ultimately, implants. If we are to believe the promise of this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—and of course I do want to believe it, who wouldn’t?—the result of all of this will be a better world for all humanity, no person left behind. As I walked the show floor, I could not help but feel and want to embrace its optimism.

The catch, of course, is that we have a tremendous amount of work to do between where we are today and this fabulous future.

We must, for example, make sure that every computing node that will contribute to these powerful AI programs is up to the task. From the smartphone to the datacenter, AI will end up being a very distributed and very demanding workload. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been developing AIXPRT. Without tools that let us accurately compare different devices, the industry won’t be able to keep delivering the levels of performance improvements that we need to realize these dreams.

We must also think a lot about how to accurately measure all other aspects of our devices’ performance, because the demands this future will place on them are going to be significant. Fortunately, the always evolving XPRT family of tools is up to the task.

The coming 5G revolution, like all tech leaps forward before it, will not come evenly. Different 5G devices will end up behaving differently, some better and some worse. That fact, plus our constant and growing reliance on bandwidth, suggests that maybe the XPRT community should turn its attention to the task of measuring bandwidth. What do you think?

One thing is certain: we at the Benchmark XPRT Development Community have a role to play in building the tools necessary to test the tech the world will need to deliver on the promise of this exciting trade show. We look forward to that work.

Thinking ahead at CES 2018

It may sound trite to say that a show like CES is all about the future, but this year’s show is prompting me to think about how our lives will evolve in the coming years. Some technological breakthroughs change the way we do everyday things like play music or hail a cab—while some transform the way we do everything. For technological innovation to truly shift society on a wide scale, it has to coincide with markets of scale in a way that makes life-changing tech accessible to almost everyone (think: smartphones in 2005 versus smartphones in 2018).

These technical and economic forces are coinciding once again in the areas of AI, automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and consumer robotics. While many of our daily activities will stay the same, the ways we organize and engage with those activities are changing dramatically.

I’ll leave you with a few general observations from the show:

  • Huawei has a huge presence here. A new tagline for them that I haven’t seen before is a play on their name, “Wow Way.” I suspect we may have a Mate 10 Pro XPRT Spotlight entry in the near future.
  • The Kino-mo Hypervsn 3D Holograph display blew me away. People were crowding in to see it and couldn’t stop staring. It’s straight out of sci-fi, and its appearance is similar to Princess Leia’s hologram message in Star Wars. (By the way, it looks way better in real life than in the video.)
  • Sony is making a big push into smart homes by building systems that work cross-platform with a range of smart speakers and assistants. Between their smart home push and some of the cool home theater tech they had on display, I can see them gaining some brand power.
  • To me, the most exciting concepts at the show involved smart infrastructure, which promises enormous potential to boost the efficient distribution of water, energy, and transportation resources.
  • Surprisingly, I saw automation, smart city, and smart infrastructure displays from companies that I don’t always associate with IoT or AI, like Bosch and Panasonic. Panasonic was marketing an array of semi-autonomous vehicle cockpit prototypes, and had a section highlighting their partnership with Tesla.
  • By far, the strangest thing I’ve seen at CES has been the Psychasec booth, staffed by eerie attendants in pure white outfits who talked confidently about “downloading your cortical stack into customized bodies made from organic materials.” The Psychasec staff absolutely refused to break character, which made the whole scene even stranger. Check out the link above for the story behind Psychasec.



And, while I’m probably not supposed to admit this, my favorite part of the show so far has been the line of expensive massage chair vendors doling out free sessions…

More to follow soon,

Justin

Thoughts from MWC Shanghai

I’ve spent the last couple days walking the exhibition halls of MWC Shanghai. The Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) is large, but smaller than the MWC exhibit space in Barcelona or the set of exhibit halls in Las Vegas for CES. (SNIEC is not even the biggest exhibition space in Shanghai!) Further, MWC here still only took up half the exhibition space, but there was plenty to see. And, I’m less exhausted than after CES or MWC in Barcelona!

Photo Jun 28, 9 56 45 AM

If I had to pick one theme from the exhibition halls, it would be 5G. It seemed like half the booths had 5G displayed somewhere in their signage. The cloud was the other concept that seemed to be everywhere. While neither was surprising, it was interesting to see halfway around the world. In truth, it feels like 5G is much farther along here than it is back in the States.

I was also surprised to see how many phone vendors are here that I’d never heard of before such as Lephone and Gionee. I stopped by their booths with XPRT Spotlight information and hope they will send in some of their devices for inclusion in the future.

One thing I found of note was how much technology in general and IoT in particular is going to be everywhere. There was an interesting exhibit showing how stores of the future might operate. I was able to “buy” items without traditionally checking out. (I got a free water and some cookies out of the experience.) I just placed the items in a location on the checkout counter, which read their NFC labels and displayed them on the checkout screen. It seemed sort of like my understanding of the experiments that Amazon has been doing with brick-and-mortar grocery stores (prior to their purchase of Whole Foods). The whole experience felt a bit odd and still unpolished, but I’m sure it will improve and I’ll get used to it.

Photo Jun 29, 12 04 30 PM

The next generation will find it not odd, but normal. There were exhibits with groups of children playing with creative technologies from handheld 3D printers to simplified programming languages. They will be the generation after digital natives, maybe the digital creatives? What impact will they have? The future is both exciting and daunting!

I came away from the conference thinking about how the XPRTs can help folks choose amongst the myriad devices and technologies that are just around the corner. What would you most like to see the XPRTs tackle in the next six months to a year?

Bill Catchings

Mobile World Congress 2017 and the territories ahead

Walking the halls of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC)—and, once again, I walked by every booth in every one of them—it was clear that mobile technology is expanding faster than ever into more new tech territories than ever before.

On the device front, cameras and camera quality have become a pitched battleground, with mobile phone makers teaming with camera manufacturers to give us better and better images and video. This fight is far from over, too, because vendors are exploring many different ways to improve mobile phone camera quality. Quick charging is a hot new trend we can expect to hear more about in the days to come. Of course, apps and their performance continue to matter greatly, because if you can do it from any computer, you better be able to do at least some of it from your phone.

The Internet of Things (IoT) grabbed many headlines, with vendors still selling more dreams than reality, but some industries living this future now. The proliferation of IoT devices will result, of course, in massive increases in the amount of data flowing through the world’s networks, which in turn will require more and more computing power to analyze and use. That power will need to be everywhere, from massive datacenters to the device in your hand, because the more data you have, the more you’ll want to customize it to your particular needs.

Similarly, AI was a major theme of the show, and it’s also likely to suck up computing cycles everywhere. The vast majority of the work will, of course, end up in datacenters, but some processing is likely to be local, particularly in situations, such as real-time translation, where we can’t afford significant comm delays.

5G, the next big step in mobile data speeds, was everywhere, with most companies seeming to agree the new standard was still years away–but also excited about what will be possible. When you can stream 4K movies to your phone wirelessly while simultaneously receiving and customizing analyses of your company’s IoT network, you’re going to need a powerful, sophisticated device running equally powerful and sophisticated apps.

Everywhere I looked, the future was bright—and complicated, and likely to place increasing demands on all of our devices. We’ll need guides as we find our paths through these new territories and as we determine the right device tools for our jobs, so the need for the XPRTs will only increase. I look forward to seeing where we, the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, take them next.

Mark

Seeing the future

Back in April we wrote about how Bill’s trip to IDF16 in Shenzhen got us thinking about future benchmarks. Technologies like virtual reality, the Internet of things, and computer vision are going to open up lots of new applications.

Yesterday I saw an amazing article that talked about an automatic computer vision system that is able to detect early-stage esophageal cancer from endoscopy images. These lesions can be difficult for physicians to detect, and the system did very well when compared to four experts who participated in the test. The article contains a link to the original study, for those of you who want more detail.

To me, this is the stuff of science fiction. It’s a very impressive accomplishment. Clearly, new technologies are going to lead to many new and exciting applications.

While this type of application is more specialized than the typical XPRT, things like this get us really excited about the possibilities for the future.  Have you seen an application that impressed you recently? Let us know!

Eric

IDF16 Shenzhen

I just spent the last couple of days at IDF16 Shenzhen. It was a great opportunity to talk to folks about the XPRTs, see some future technology demos, and think about the future of the XPRTs.

The technology and product demos included lots of interesting technology. I saw everything from the latest computers to games to VR to body monitoring.

IDF16-1

Of particular interest to me were the future-looking technologies beyond the usual array of notebooks, tablets, and servers. I was able to see drones that could video a person by following them, while avoiding obstacles such as trees. I saw a number of demos using the Oculus Rift. I got to see some robot demos that were impressive in their use of the fairly off-the-shelf technology driving them. I would have had myself scanned and then had a small 3D model of myself printed, but I was pressed for time and the line was too long.

I was particularly interested in a mirror that could scan a person and tell things about their health. I also found somewhat amusing a technology demo that was able to “beautify” a person in real time for use with teleconferencing such as Skype. While I might quibble about the definition of beautify, the idea of real-time video enhancement is intriguing. (Given the raw material I gave it to work with, it was no easy task to accomplish!) Maybe I won’t need to shave before my next WebEx meeting…

IDF16-2

All of these technologies give some hints as to areas the XPRTs may go in the future. While I don’t think we are quite ready for BeautificationXPRT, there may well be some workloads we should consider such as path finding, real-time video enhancement, health monitoring, virtual reality, and gaming. Please let us know your thoughts about what near-term technologies we should be considering in future workloads.

We definitely have exciting times still ahead of us in technology and the XPRTs!

Bill

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