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Data Rocks!

Intel’s keynote at CES 2018

Wed Jan 10 00:00:00 EST 2018

The Intel keynote is an eagerly anticipated kick-off for CES, and this year hundreds filled the Monte Carlo Park Theatre as CEO Brian Krzanich took to a stage normally reserved for rock stars, DJs or magicians, to share his vision of the future. An immersive future, enabled by and revolutionized by, data.

Even the pre-keynote entertainment was data-driven as Intel presented their performance of “Data Rock the Park”, where four musicians used gesture control and smart gloves to play music on virtual instruments, drones flew in formation and played a virtual keyboard, AI musicians learned riffs in real time, and a young dancer used data to extend the expression of her art. In Brian’s words “Who knew data could be so beautiful?”

So, how does Intel CEO Brian Krzanich see the future?

He sees the future as immersive, where you are part of the entertainment you consume. He doesn’t see us watching sport in the future, he sees us immersed in the experience, viewing from multiple angles, replaying a pass from the point of view of the quarterback, or the receiver. But most importantly, he sees a connected future driven by data.

Krzanich sees data as an unlimited resource that will transform our world in ways we haven’t even imagined. He envisions a revolution beyond that of the innovation of the internal combustion engine. And while data is the fuel, computing power is the catalyst for this revolution.

In simple numbers, the average person generates around 1.5 gigabytes of data every day. A driverless car will generate around 4 terabytes per day, a connected aircraft around 50 terabytes, and a connected smart factory around 1 petabyte.  That data is in real time and is actionable. In the past, data was stored and then analyzed, now it is used immediately. This is what is driving change and forming the foundation for the latest wave of innovation.

"It's going to transform the consumer experience in almost every area: retail, travel, advertising, entertainment, education, even medicine," says Krzanich, who went on to provide numerous examples of just how data is changing our world and the experiences we have within it.

Introducing the Voxel

In terms of entertainment, Intel is changing the way we see videos. In ways more revolutionary than the switch from black-and-white to color TV, they are using new recording techniques to get a hugely detailed version of every moment. This is where Krzanich introduced the audience to a new term, “voxel”. A voxel is a three-dimensional video version of a pixel. It is what allows Intel to use an array of cameras to create a virtual version of every moment in three dimensions. This means that rather than switch camera views they can delve into a moment and look at it from any point, any angle. That might be the point of view of a player, a coach, or from the best seats in the house. It could be from the point of view of an actor or the director in the case of a movie filmed using this technology.

And Intel is keen to work with the movie industry. The company has a partnership with Paramount to utilize immersive technologies to produce new movie experiences. In fact, Intel has built its own studio specifically to film scenes in this immersive manner using multiple cameras.

This is just one of many partnerships in the entertainment sphere that Krzanich talked about during his keynote. Others include a worldwide partnership with the Olympics, starting at the upcoming winter Olympics where Intel will have dozens of cameras creating immersive VR experiences for viewers. Further partnerships include those in E-Sports, a partnership with Ferrari and of course the partnership with the NFL.

Krzanich was joined on stage by Tony Romo, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and CBS announcer to explore the potential of the technology in the way the game is enjoyed. As Romo put it, “The specialness comes from being the player”.   Who wouldn’t want to see the play from the quarterback or receiver’s point of view?  Then, of course, there is the ability to analyze, not just for TV, but also to improve performance.

In the arena of autonomous driving, Intel has many partners, notably MobilEye (an Intel Company), with whom it is developing EYEQ5, a new autonomous driving platform. Intel also announced a partnership with Chinese carmaker SAIC Motor. And transportation goes beyond that, to what Krzanich describes as a flying car, the Volocopter, a data controlled passenger drone that Krzanich had flown inside an exhibit hall in Munich, Germany. There, Intel’s CEO Florian Reuter joined Krzanich on stage to talk about the potential for these flying taxis as urban transportation.

All this requires huge amounts of data processing to become reality and Krzanich spoke at length about the progress being made by Intel in Quantum and Neuromorphic computing. Neuromorphic computing mimics the way our own brains work and offers the potential to create computers with a focus on the learning process rather than programming, ideal for a world dominated by AI. The LOIHI processor is slated to be able to learn with fewer data.

So, there it is, a world transformed by data, powered by supercomputers, where the possibilities are endless and change is the only sure thing. Intel is at the forefront of so many technologies and like others at CES this week will be influential in the way we live our lives in the future.