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Category: CES

CES 2020: AI in action and a “smart” future

During last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one question kept coming to mind as I walked the floor: Are we approaching the tipping point where AI truly affects most people in meaningful ways on a daily basis? I think it’s safe to say that we’ve reached that point as a result of AI integration with phones. After all, for many of us, AI improves the quality of our photography, recommends words and phrases as we text and search the web, and lets us know when to allow extra drive time because traffic is heavy.

However, for me, the most intriguing aspects of this year’s CES are the glimpses of how AI will change every area of our lives, with and without mobile devices. The show floor is jam-packed with ways to integrate AI with everything from athletic shoes to pet care to the kitchen sink. Many of these ideas are fascinating on their own, and they’re all part of a much bigger picture. The next few years will see increased AI utilization in medicine, transportation, agriculture, water and energy distribution, natural resource protection, and many more areas. Our personal smart devices will connect to smart vehicles, smart homes, smart grids, and smart cities. In the near future, CES shows won’t need AI sections because AI will be a part of everything.

At each step of this journey, people will need objective data about how well their tech can handle the demands of common AI workloads. We’re excited that AIXPRT is already becoming a go-to tool for testing inference performance on laptops, desktops, and servers. There’s much more to come with AIXPRT in 2020, along with news about XPRTs in the datacenter, so stay tuned to the blog for exciting developments in the weeks to come!

I’ll leave you with pics from three of my favorite displays at this year’s show. The first is a model of Toyota’s Woven City. Toyota announced plans to build an entire mini city on existing company land near Mount Fuji. The city will house 2,000 people and will serve as an enormous real-time lab where designers and engineers can test ubiquitous AI and sensor technology. Toyota will also design the city to be fully sustainable with the use of hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels.

The second picture shows the electric Hyundai Urban Air Mobility prototype. Hyundai is partnering with Uber on this project, and the planned vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) craft will seat five passengers plus a pilot, have a range of 60 miles, and be able to recharge in less than 10 minutes. These concepts aren’t new, but battery and material sciences technologies are progressing to the point that this one may get off the ground!

The third picture shows BrainCo’s AI Prosthetic Hand display. The hand provides amputees with new levels of dexterity compared to previous prosthetics, and it uses AI to learn from the user’s patterns of movement. The idea is that the accuracy of gestures and grips will improve over time, allowing users to accomplish tasks that are impossible with existing technology. A young man in the booth was using the hand to paint beautiful and precise Chinese calligraphy. Very cool!

Justin

The XPRTs in 2019: Looking back on an exciting and productive year

2019 is winding down, and we want to take this opportunity to review another exciting and productive year for the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community. Readers of our newsletter are familiar with the stats and updates we post in each month’s mailing, but we know that not all our blog readers receive the newsletter, so we’ve compiled the highlights below.

Trade shows
Earlier this year, Justin attended CES in Las Vegas and Mark travelled to MWC Barcelona. These shows help us keep up with the latest industry trends and gather insights that help to lay the groundwork for XPRT development in the years ahead.

Benchmarks
In the past year, we released MobileXPRT 3, HDXPRT 4, and AIXPRT, our new AI benchmark tool that helps you evaluate a system’s machine learning inference performance. There’s much more to come in 2020 with AIXPRT and several other projects, so expect more news about benchmark development early in the year.

Web mentions
In 2019 so far, journalists, advertisers, and analysts have referenced the XPRTs over 5,000 times, including mentions in more than 190 articles and 1,350 device reviews. This represents a more than 50% increase over 2018.

Downloads and confirmed runs
To date, we’ve had more than 24,800 benchmark downloads and 153,000 confirmed runs in 2019, increases of more than 8% and 10%, respectively, over 2018. Within the last month, our most popular benchmark, WebXPRT, passed the 500,000-run milestone! WebXPRT continues to be an industry-standard performance benchmark upon which OEM labs, vendors, and leading tech press outlets rely.

XPRT Tech Spotlight
We put 47 new devices in the XPRT Tech Spotlight throughout the year and published updated back-to-school, Black Friday, and holiday showcases to help buyers compare devices.

Media and interactive tools
We published a new XPRTs around the world infographic and an interactive AIXPRT installation package selector tool. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the tool. We encourage you to give it a try if you’re curious about AIXPRT but aren’t sure how to get started.

We’re thankful for everyone who used the XPRTs, joined the community, and sent questions and suggestions throughout 2019. This will be our last blog post for 2019, but there’s much more to come in 2020, including some exciting new developments. Stay tuned in early January for updates!

Justin

AI is the heartbeat of CES 2019

This year’s CES features a familiar cast of characters: gigantic, super-thin 8K screens; plenty of signage promising the arrival of 5G; robots of all shapes, sizes, and levels of competency; and acres of personal grooming products that you can pair with your phone. In all seriousness, however, one main question keeps coming to mind as I walk the floor: Are we approaching the tipping point where AI truly starts to affect most people in meaningful ways on a daily basis? I think we’re still a couple of years away from ubiquitous AI, but it’s the heartbeat of this year’s show, and it’s going play a part in almost everything we do in the very near future. AI applications at this year’s show include manufacturing, transportation, energy, medicine, education, photography, communications, farming, grocery shopping, fitness, sports, defense, and entertainment, just to name a few. The AI revolution is just starting, but once it gets going, AI will continually reshape society for decades to come. This year’s show reinforces our decision to explore the roles that the XPRTs, beginning with AIXPRT, can play in the AI revolution.

Now for the fun stuff. Here’s a peek at a couple of my favorite displays so far. As is often the case, the most awe-inducing displays at CES are those that overwhelm attendees with light and sound. LG’s enormous curved OLED wall, dubbed the Massive Curve of Nature, was truly something to behold.

IMG_0268 - Copy

Another big draw has been Bell’s Nexus prototype, a hybrid-electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) air taxi. Some journalists can’t resist calling it a flying car, but I refuse to do so, because it has nothing in common with cars apart from the fact that people sit in it and use it to travel from place to place. As Elon Musk once said of an earlier, but similar, concept, “it’s just a helicopter in helicopter’s clothing.” Semantics aside, it’s intriguing to imagine urban environments full of nimble aircraft that are quieter, easier to fly, and more energy efficient than traditional helicopters, especially if they’re paired with autonomous driving technologies.

Version 2

Finally, quite a few companies are displaying props that put some of the “reality” back into “virtual reality.” Driving and flight simulators with full range of motion that are small enough to fit in someone’s basement or game room, full-body VR suits that control your temperature and deliver electrical stimulus based on game play (yikes!), and portable roller-coaster-like VR rides were just a few of the attractions.

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It’s been a fascinating show so far!

Justin

New XPRTs for the new year

Happy 2019! January is already a busy time for the XPRTs, so we want to share a quick preview of what community members can expect in the coming months.

The MobileXPRT 3 community preview (CP) is still open, but draws to a close on January 18th. If you are not familiar with the updates and changes we implemented in the newest version of MobileXPRT, you can read more in the blog. Members can access this APK on the MobileXPRT tab in the Members’ Area. We also posted an installation guide that provides both a general overview of the app and detailed instructions for each step. The entire process takes about five minutes on most devices. If you haven’t already, give it a try!

We also recently published the first AIXPRT Request for Comments (RFC) preview build, an early version of one of the tools we’re developing to evaluate machine learning performance. You can find more details in Bill’s most recent blog post and on AIXPRT.com. Only BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members have access to our RFCs and the opportunity to provide feedback. However, because we’re seeking broad input from experts in this field, we’ll gladly make anyone interested in participating a member. To gain access to the AIXPRT repository, please send us a request.

Work on the HDXPRT 4 CP candidate build continues, and we hope to publish the preview for community members this month. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to get this right. We think it will be worth the wait.

On a general note, I’ll be travelling to CES 2019 in Las Vegas next week. CES is a great opportunity for us to survey emerging tech and industry trends, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts from the show. If you’ll be there and would like to discuss any aspect of the XPRTs in person, let me know.

Justin

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

Reflecting on 2016

The beginning of a new year is a good time to look back on the previous 12 months and take stock of everything that happened. Here’s a quick recap of a very busy year:

In 2016, the XPRTs travelled quite a bit. Eric went to CES in Las Vegas, Mark attended MWC in Barcelona, and Bill flew out to IDF16 in Shenzhen.

We also sent a team to Seattle for the first XPRT Women Code-A-Thon, an event we’re very proud to have sponsored and co-hosted along with ChickTech, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in tech-related fields. The Code-a-thon also served as inspiration for an eight-part video series entitled Women Coding for Change. The series explains the motivation behind the Code-a-thon and profiles several of the participants. If you haven’t watched the videos, check them out. They’re well worth the time.

Speaking of videos, we also published one about Nebula Wolf, the mini-game workload produced through our first collaboration with the North Carolina State Senior Design Center. That experience was promising enough for us to partner with another student team this past fall, which resulted in a virtual reality app that we hope to share with the community in the near future.

Of course, we also continued work on our suite of benchmark tools and related resources. We released TouchXPRT 2016 to the public, published the Exploring TouchXPRT 2016 white paper, and released the TouchXPRT 2016 source code to community members.

In 2016, we unveiled the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, a new way for device vendors and manufacturers to share verified test results with buyers around the world. We put 46 devices in the spotlight throughout the year and published Back-to-School, Black Friday, and Holiday device showcases.

In the last quarter of 2016, we celebrated our most widely-used benchmark, WebXPRT, passing the 100,000-run milestone. WebXPRT is still going strong and is as useful and relevant as ever!

Finally, we ended the year with the exciting news that we’re moving forward with efforts to develop a machine-learning performance evaluation tool. We look forward to engaging with the community in the coming year as we tackle this challenge!

As always, we’re grateful for everyone who’s helped to make the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community a strong, vibrant, and relevant resource for people all around the world. Here’s to a great 2017!

Justin

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