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Category: IoT

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

Airborne

I’m old enough that I’ve never really understood the whole selfie thing. However, it’s clearly never going away, and I’m fascinated–although a little creeped out–by the development of selfie drones. It’s amazing that we have so quickly reached the point where you can buy a drone that will literally fit in your pocket.

As an example of how sophisticated these devices can be, consider Zero Robotics Hover Camera Passport.  It’s capable of capturing 4K UHD video and 13-megapixel images, it can track faces or bodies, and it includes sensors, including sonar, to measure the distance from air to ground. All in a package that’s about the size of an old VHS tape.

A while back we talked about the new ways people are finding to use technology, and how the XPRTs need to adapt.  While I don’t think we’re going to be seeing DroneXPRT any time soon, we’ve been talking about including the technologies that make these devices possible in the XPRTs. These technologies include machine learning, computer vision, and 4K video.

What new devices fascinate you? Which technologies are going to be most useful in the near future? Let us know!

Eric

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

Mobile World Congress 2016 and the need for more

Nothing shows you how much more bandwidth we need than a techie trade show like Mobile World Congress 2016. No matter how much the show’s organizers made available, the attendees swamped it with data from their many devices—phones, tablets, and PCs.

This show also demonstrated that we’re going to need a lot more of something else: device performance.

Some people like to say that our current devices are fast enough, but those people either weren’t at MWC or weren’t paying attention. New, demanding workloads were on display everywhere. High-end graphics. Support for an ever-growing range of wearables. Virtual reality. Augmented reality. The ability to act as a hub for all sorts of home automation devices. These and other new capabilities place ever-increasing demands on devices—and they’re all just getting started.

As I walked all of the MWC buildings—and I did at least walk by every single exhibit—I was struck again and again by how many cool technologies are on the cusp of being ready for prime time. They’ll bring nifty features to our everyday lives, and they’ll place heavy demands on our devices to support them and enable them to run well.

Some devices will handle these demands better than others, but we won’t be able to tell the winners from the losers just by looking at them. We’ll need reliable, relevant, real-world benchmarks to sort the winners from the posers—and that means we’ll need the XPRTs.  We’ll need the XPRTs we have today, and we’ll need new XPRTs and/or new XPRT workloads for the future. We’ll need help from everyone—members of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community and vendors yet to join it—to create these new tools, so that buyers everywhere can make smart purchase decisions.

It’s an exciting time. The future for tech, for devices, and for the XPRTs is bright.  Let’s get busy creating it.

In the spotlight

I’m happy to be back in North Carolina, but I had a really great time at CES. I talked to over a dozen companies about the XPRTs and the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight, and had some good conversations. Hopefully, some of these companies’ devices will be among the first ones we showcase when the XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight goes live next month.

Of course, I saw some really great tech at CES! Amazing TVs and cars, magic mirrors, all kinds of drones, and the list goes on. Before the show, the Internet of Things was predicted to be big this year, and boy, was it! Smart refrigerators, door locks, and thermostats were just the beginning. Some of my favorite examples were the chopsticks and footbath—both Bluetooth enabled—and “the world’s first remote controlled game shoe.”

Clearly IoT is the Wild West of technology right now. We’re had some conversations about how the XPRTs might be able to help consumers navigate the chaos. However, with a class of products this diverse, there are a lot of issues to consider. If you have any thoughts about this, let us know!

Eric

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