In early July, I was honored to have a chat with Megha Daga, Senior Director of Product Management and AI/ML lead for the Internet of Things (IoT) at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. . As a critical player in AI enablement across the IoT group at Qualcomm, Megha has been crucial in the development of cutting-edge AI solutions used around the world.
We dove right into what Qualcomm has been up to as it continues to advance IoT through the different core offerings, partnerships, and cutting-edge solutions that Qualcomm offers. To set the tone of our conversation, we discussed Edge AI.
Edge AI is essentially intelligence moving to the data generator, according to Megha. Along with getting data faster, a host of other factors impact Edge AI, including privacy, cost, latency, reliability, and bandwidth. For businesses or enterprises, the simplicity of the technology revolves around business intelligence occurring on the device or close to the device itself to enable IoT.
Qualcomm provides a portfolio of hardware technology, but even more exciting is their advancements in software design and embedded processing innovation. The company understands how heterogenous computing makes AI possible and is pushing the envelope to remain competitive in AI and IoT. Some of the stronger vertical markets and industries that Qualcomm is targeting include retail, logistics, energy, utilities, industrial, and robotics.
To further advance into AI, Qualcomm launched the Vision AI Development Kit. This Azure IoT Starter kit is a vision AI developer kit for running artificial intelligence models on devices at the intelligent edge. With Edge AI, data is generated and pushed to the cloud. Legacy devices such as retail payment terminals and other industry specific devices are being digitized and modernized. Hardware or devices can be connected to a box, i.e., edge gateway. Megha shared that Qualcomm is taking metadata and compute to the box, implementing further compute as needed, then sending only the required data back to the cloud. The traditionally “dumb” environment is becoming more intelligent and bringing efficiencies to businesses and operations. Another Qualcomm AI example outside of retail is in logistics, more specifically warehouse operations. Robotics and drones may be used for picking and dropping, reducing overall payloads, and therefore reducing costs.
Edge AI and IoT are coming together to minimize compute to the cloud, as the overall costs of sending massive data to the cloud is becoming more cost prohibitive, and a concern for larger enterprises. The issues of privacy, latency, and connectivity again remain important factors. Privacy not only affects consumers, it also impacts businesses and their customers’ experiences. As for latency, think of delivery robots on the street, providing sub-millisecond intelligence and information to enable operations and efficiency so consumers can get food, packages, products delivered (similar to same day delivery).
Regarding connectivity, especially for operations in remote locations (construction, agriculture), having on-device or near device data intelligence can be critical. Examples Megha mentioned included drones connected to a gateway to enable crop intelligence, construction management, and mining operations.
Qualcomm’s portfolio continues to evolve to support AI and Edge AI, with a stronger focus on software. Their hardware and chipsets will continue to be their foundation, as they grow their partnerships with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Qualcomm is leading in the areas of enabling AI on traditional CPUs/DPUs or AI on SDKs. Another cutting-edge development includes AI on embedded processing (low power, high performance).
According to Megha, a few exciting AI areas that Qualcomm has been innovating around includes drone robots, and camera technology. Taking regular cameras for example and making them intelligent, using technologies such as machine vision and AI running on heterogenous computing to completely disrupt its capabilities. Megha shared that Qualcomm is using hardware accelerators for neural network workloads. Furthermore, AMR devices (autonomous mobile robots, i.e., Bosch devices) is an area where Qualcomm is developing chipsets and reference designs to further advance delivery. For example, they recently launched the RB6, a high-end chipset with an accelerator card allowing the robot to greatly improve throughput (i.e., delivery robots).
As far as software goes, Qualcomm is investing and innovating to provide seamless software across the Qualcomm AI stack. Qualcomm is providing unification for developer building and changes, using Qualcomm Intelligence multimedia SDKs providing authentication and simplification for development and deployment, across multiple verticals. Developers and software tools remain a top priority for Qualcomm. Qualcomm realizes the end-customer (businesses and government) require and need end-to-end solutions and thus continues to build out its IoT partner portfolio (vendors, integrators, industry focused providers) focused on software/applications, platforms, and other solutions
I’ll end with a great use case example shared by Megha. The Qualcomm AI Engine runs ML models in IoT devices, such as a security camera that recognizes a family member and activates a smart lock to allow entry. Or an office building that allows employees onto an elevator based on a touchpad. This context showcases the importance of how Qualcomm is advancing AI and IoT to prepare tomorrow’s businesses and cities.
For more reading, please check out, “Qualcomm Advances Development of Smarter and Safer Autonomous Robots for Logistics, Industry 4.0, and Urban Aerial Mobility with Next-Generation 5G and AI Robotics Solutions”
Written by Stephanie Atkinson, CEO of Compass Intelligence
In late June, a group of analysts (including myself) and consultants attended the annual Sprint Business Analyst Day in New York. This event provides an update on the business group including business wireless products and services, wireline (yes they are still operating in this space!) services, and of course IoT solutions. The theme this year was focused on how Sprint Business connects people, places, and things or branded as #worksforbusiness. We kicked off the event the first evening at The Knickerbocker Hotel with a reception to meet, greet, enjoy roof-top beverages and food. Jan Geldmacher (@JanGeld), Sprint Business President, kicked off the evening with a few words on expectations the next day, and a highlight of the sessions and content. The evening was enjoyable meeting up with old colleagues, fellow analysts, good friends, and catching up with Sprint executives.
The next morning was held at Sprint's NY offices with a slightly wet commute a few blocks away as the rain helped wake up our day. Mr. Geldmacher again kicked off our morning sharing again the highlights of the day and thoughts on 5G network progress, merger expectations, IoT solutions, and more. Jan stressed his high expectations of winning merger approval, along with the challenges of attorney generals suing yet sharing of the job growth that the merger will bring. Sprint Business reached 17% year over year growth in gross adds, with net adds up 34% y-o-y despite experiencing higher churn compared to competitors. Geldmacher mentioned focus areas and goals including increased contribution from Sprint Business with improved convergence of organization for selling across portfolio, stating the organization will continue the "Sprint Way of Selling" (i.e. solution selling focus, & automation/digitization of operations). Geldmacher shared they are working government and local companies including Peachtree Corners, GA and Greenville, SC on 5G and/or IoT use cases including Autonomous Vehicles.
Next up, we heard from Dr. John Saw, CTO of Sprint (@SprintCTO), who shared their mobile 5G progress. Sprint continued to roll out 5G in several cities using massive MIMO antenna systems (assets include 2.5 GHz spectrum assets) noting in Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Kansas City (4 cities currently, with 5 cities coming online soon) there are over 1000 sq miles already covered with 5G. Meanwhile AT&T and Verizon are leaning on mmWave a 5G coverage approach. The primary differentiator is the ability to serve Advanced LTE and 5G customers simultaneously on a single existing antenna in split mode. Sprint essentially has an advantage on leaning towards its heavy spectrum assets to provide 5G network leadership, which will in turn be better for businesses and government. Outside of mass IoT and business use cases, 5G also brings consumer use cases noted Saw...sharing mobile gaming use case leveraging 5G and Hatch (spinoff from Rovio) edge computing centers and Sprint infrastructure. (See related article: https://www.section.io/blog/edge-computing-gaming-benefits/)
Ivo Rook, Sprint Business SVP of IoT and Product Development, provided an update on overall Sprint Business activities, IoT, and Sprint Curiosity (TM)...OS, Platform, and Core), and placing Sprint outside of being just a wireless operator but focused on software and AI. Rook shared more on bringing data to the edge, going global, a focus on talent/training, deal pipeline growth, nationwide Cat M, and #smartcities partners including AWS @awscloud, Mapbox @Mapbox, Spireon @Spireon, Nauto, Arm @Arm, and Dynamics @dynamicsinc (recently signed). Sprint closed smarty city deals with Peachtree GA, Phoenix, AZ, Detroit MI, Greenville, SC, and Sacramento, CA.
Rook also noted growth in SMB customers, up 24%, transitioning clients off CDMA. 5G was also a source of discussion, especially as it relates to autonomous vehicles (AV), where 5G can increase accuracy from 9 feet to 1 inch stated Ivo. Ivo shared 4 primary focus areas along with 5G emphasis including communication, security using #AI, engagement between colleagues, and client communications to enable business. Additional 5G use cases may include mobile wireless access points, #enterprise wireless backup, and #SMB collaboration.
The software and AI discussion continued as #AI application=reduce production costs stated Rook. #ArtificialIntelligence is expected to balance accuracy/speed providing relative #context to intelligence. New AI products announced include #Sprint Secure AI, Sprint Secure Mobile AI, and Sprint Smart Messaging all with a focus on reducing human intervention with #flatfee incentives and #endpointsecurity. Sprint Smart Messaging is helping #restaurants recapture lost reservations and field missed calls (great restaurant use case).
Kim Green-Kerr, SVP of Sprint Business, was also a speaker and shared live client examples of new #Sprint #AI products and solutions, with a highlight of service industry use case. She shared 60% of service industry experiences missed calls result in lost business to other companies or vendors (hair salons, restaurants) and Kim stated Sprint can help recapture #lostrevenue #lostcalls #lostbusiness using #AI #artificialintelligence (Sprint Smart Messaging). While sharing customer examples, Kim (@KimGreenKerr) introduced client Ron of @NationwideComm1 NCL Networks to share his experience working with Sprint Business. Ron mentioned NCL Networks maintains the largest base of Business Placement Outsourcing #BPO clients and nearshore and offshore customers in #singapore #philippines #manila #cebu sharing successes #3nodes.
Kim wrapped up by sharing a demo on Sprint Solutions Customization Tool which supports in helping those browsing #IoT solutions to a #guidedsell approach. This easy approach to find solutions, enables a no rep sale with #IoTFactory and can run full decision and close deal online #CuriosityMarketplace.
Partners include Spireon, Mapbox (Using Live mapping with @Mapbox @ericg and Curiosity(TM) platform, designed for people and things, rich data sets, near real-time intelligent data), among others...Sprint is also working with @Accenture Innovation Centers, running #Curiosity #IoT. Curiosity and Sprint's IoT Factory (launched in May 2018) continues to experience progress, noting after the launch of the #IoT Factory the focus is to (1) Engage with Developer community (2) Gather and learn from Insights in how customers think with IoT (3) Produce IoT Leads. IoT factory currently has 26 solutions added on Factory 2.0 with 368 activations in FY19, also sharing 42 new customers (added in Q1), 127% sales growth (QoQ).
#SprintCuriosity is live in #SanJose and #Ashburn with data collection nodes in 10 cities now, rolling out on weekly basis. The goal is to get data to the core (#SDN) as quickly as possible (19 Intelligent production nodes (Uber and Accenture)). #closetocustomers #sensordata #mL #AI Sprint is launching #Curiosity Labs, a public-private partnership (#3Ps #PPP) with Peachtree Corners @PCCityYes working with city Manager, Brian Johnson (#connected #smartcity #V2X #autonmous #500acres #smartcityexpo) and the expected date launch is set for Sept 9th...more can be found here vimeo.com/336207235 .
As for what's next, Sprint also continues to focus on international expansion. Sprint shared both casual and permanent roaming in 152 countries and has deployed EYCC centralized solution with continued work on roll-out and deals in 135 countries enabling local profiles activated OTA partnering with @ericsson and @TelnaGlobal.
Final thoughts on connecting PEOPLE, PLACES, and THINGS...
#IoT #IIoT #SDN #5G #certification #massIoT #IoTactivation #missioncriticalIoT #IoTSLAs
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