There’s no better way to kick off the largest tech event of the year than by looking to the future
The first CPX Conference of this year’s COMPUTEX invited to the stage industry heavyweights who are leading and steering strategies for the world’s leading
technology companies, with executives representing Foxconn (Hon Hai), Qualcomm, Intel, Dell and ARM presenting keynotes on Future Technology Trends and what their companies are doing to adapt and unlock opportunities.
Lu Fang-ming, corporate executive vice president of Foxconn, and chairman of Asia Pacific Telecom Group, said Foxconn was heavily investing in some of the most important advanced manufacturing technologies of today, namely predictive analytics, smart connected products (IoT) and smart factories.
“These segments are what we are really focused on,” Lu said. “As we migrate from a components company to a high-tech company, we want to go beyond merely physical manufacturing to integrate the cyber and physical in order to address next-generation requirements.”
Lu touched upon a recurring theme of the conference, stressing that the world is moving toward more connected people and devices. “There will be seven billion connected people and 30 billion connected devices by 2020. We need to not only focus on our work today but also look ahead,” he added.
The emphasis was not only on “more connectivity” but also working toward “more precision.”
Not satisfied with current protocols,
Foxconn is embracing the next-gen 8K+5G as the new convention for smart factory imaging technology. Lu said this trend would spur endless opportunities for predictive analytics and non-stop recording in ultra-high resolution, applicable to other areas as well, including surgery and security.
The Path to 5G
Forum attendees also received a masterclass in the possibilities and pervasive impact of 5G from Qualcomm. Jim Cathey, regional president of Asia-Pacific and India and vice president of Qualcomm Technologies, said: “We’re talking about untethered gaming and VR. It could be so pervasive across so many industries that it is almost as important as electricity … (T)he economic value of 5G-related goods and services will exceed US$12 trillion in 2035, while 91 percent believe 5G will enable products and services that have not been invented.”
Cathey believes that as an increasing number of people will have access to and adopt wireless rather than wired connections, 5G can enable new user experiences. “The high reliability, low latency, lower cost per bit and high availability combined will empower more immersive experiences, making VR and AR available to everyone,” he added.
Security Risks in the Hyperconnected World
Echoing a common concern for security underlying technology trends, Rene Haas, president of ARM’s Intellectual Property Group, pointed to computer vision as one of the areas his team is most excited about — the potential of capturing images and instantly making intelligent decisions based upon them.
Haas highlighted intelligent security cameras as an example, where cameras could be developed to take images at select times of the day, equipped with real-time learning capabilities, to leverage the massive volume of footage left unutilized.
“We are heading toward a significantly system-based world, and these learning-based systems with a high level of complexity would require a high level of security,” Haas said.
Is the Edge Eating the Cloud?
Andy Rhodes, global vice president of the IoT Solutions Group at Dell, started his talk by tracing the factors behind the hype over IoT in the past few years, including the accessible cost point of silicon, a ubiquitous wireless environment, the cloud and the notion of data scientists. But the cloud has its limits, he said.
“The cloud will sustain. There will always be cloud computing, but the edge will really start to expand. People will have to think which type of analytics to process on the cloud or on the edge — depending on their use case, their things and their network setup, among others. And they will need to understand how to push their analytics down from the cloud and into the edge,” he explained.
What is the edge? Rhodes said it is “the place where the data is created or very close to where it was created,” citing examples such as drones and robots. It has a vastly different operating environment from data centers, while also having radically different proprietary protocols to capture and transport data. “As people strive for innovation, the latency issue of driving data to the cloud to get processed and then sent back would never be realistic,” he continued.
Robert B. Crooke, senior vice president and general manager of the Non-Volatile
Memory Solutions Group at Intel, spoke about how Intel is revolutionizing data centers — redesigning them from the ground up to become more agile and efficient. “Our next-gen scalable data center technology would fundamentally change the way (data centers) are built, managed and expanded,” Crooke concluded.