Futurist Paul Saffo may have been the first to proclaim the PC dead, but he wasn’t alone. Over more than two decades, as networked devices, mobile devices and most recently tablets have come to market, a host of industry figures and observers have continued to predict the death of the PC.
Silicon Valley is popping!
— Bill Mark, vice president of information and computer science at SRI International, one of the largest contract research firms in the world.
The state of innovation in Silicon Valley and across the technology industry is popping, according to Bill Mark, vice president of information and computer science at SRI International. Mark and SRI President and CEO Curt Carlson share what they see as booming areas of innovation, including education, healthcare, and perceptual and ubiquitous computing.
Historian Ernest Freeberg said, “[Thomas] Edison invented a new style of invention, a coordinated program of scientific research and product development” that paved the way for “a world where we assume invention is not just something that comes along when someone has a great idea, but this is a force that can be shaped and controlled.” Freeberg is the author of “The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America.”
To keep up with changes in technology or customers’ needs, companies are pushing more decision making down to their employees. Employees need to have better information and better connections with coworkers and the company vision.
— Adam Pisoni, co-founder and CTO of Yammer.
Yammer originally allowed employees to chat and share ideas quickly, but since launching in 2008 it has evolved into a Facebook-like experience with the added ability to store, share and co-edit documents. More than 5 million corporateemployees, 85 percent of which are at Fortune 500 companies, reportedly use Yammer. That success drove Microsoft to pay $1.2 billion last year to acquire the private, social network, with ambitions to roll Yammer features into Microsoft’s SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 applications.
Just prior to moving into new offices next door to Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, Yammer co-founder and CTO Adam Pisoni sat down to talk about why empowering employees is central to his product and company culture, and essential for any business that wants to thrive in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world.
Gina Lujan, director of Hacker Lab in Sacramento, California.
One-hundred miles east of Silicon Valley in a former tattoo parlor, members of the second-largest hackerspace in California are hoping to make a different kind of mark by advancing technology innovation in the state capital, a region known for government, clean tech and sustainable tech, but not high tech.
We are changing the world by providing community resources for education, innovation and creation. It’s all very exciting. This whole thing is like catching a big, old tsunami and saying, ‘Wow, this is huge,’ and you need to stay on. It’s scary, it’s awesome. And there’s nothing else like it in the [Sacramento] Valley.
— Eric Ullrich, a co-founder of Hacker Lab in Sacramento.
Construction at Intel’s massive D1X computer chip development fab in Hillsboro, Ore is a multi-billion dollar facility expected to be the first 14nm factory in the world. Putting cutting edge manufacturing in the U.S. manufacturing, Intel has invested billions of dollars at this site over the past several years where the company’s leading- edge silicon R&D teams define and develop the recipes for manufacturing Intel chips in other production factories around the world. Construction is expected to continue with yet another expansion targeted to support the company’s 450mm wafer technology.
Intel’s Mr. Bluetooth (by IntelFreePress)
We got together Ericsson, Nokia, Toshiba and IBM. That probably represented 60 percent of both the cellphone and notebook markets at the time. The key was to define the goals of what we wanted to do. We formed a SIG, all agreeing that we wanted to build this universal, very low-cost, private, wireless cable.
— Jim Kardach, retired Intel mobile computing power architect
Cars Getting Smarter (by IntelFreePress)
Joint efforts by automakers and the tech industry are bringing mobile Internet experiences to new cars.
Because more cars are connecting to the Internet, drivers can get real-time, location-based services that share traffic information or stock updates while cruising down the road. Staci Palmer, general manager of the automotive solutions division at Intel, said that about 40 percent of the estimated 80 million cars shipped in 2012 had some form of in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system. She expects that by 2020, that rate will reach 75 percent, or around 85 million IVI systems, which run computer applications for entertainment, information or Internet connectivity. This includes dashboard navigation systems, rear-seat entertainment system for playing movies or games and small devices that connect the car to local area or wide area wireless networks, allowing consumers to bring into the car mobile devices that could be safely controlled through voice commands. She said it’s essential for automakers to design these applications and services for safe driving experiences, removing distractions so drivers can stay focused on the safety of operating the car.
The scientist known as Microsoft Research employee No. 1 took to the stage in Silicon Valley and told entrepreneurs and technology enthusiasts that investing in talented people is the key to developing problem-solving innovations.
Rashid talked about the innovations that went into the Microsoft Tablet PCs introduced a decade ago. He said that although the timing wasn’t right for that first tablet, many lessons learned from it are now in the company’s Surface products. By contrast, Microsoft Kinect, a motion-sensing input device, was a hit from the get-go and continues to grow.
“Kinect came out of our computer machine vision work,” he said. “It changed how people could use ‘gesture vision’ to interact with computers.”
Rashid also addressed the challenge of finding and retaining talent, especially women scientists.
“Eighteen percent of our researchers are women, which is in line with national levels,” he said. “But our national numbers are dropping because we’re doing a poor job in schools and in companies describing what computer science is really like … and how it is a field where you can help solve real problems.”
After leaving the stage, Rashid sat down for an interview with Intel Free Press and discussed advances in computer learning and speech recognition technologies, the impact of sensors and Microsoft’s ability to change and innovate. Here’s the full Q&A: Talent, Collaboration Key to Innovation.
Now with enormous amounts of storage we can use advanced machine learning techniques to really understand the underlying data in a way we couldn’t do before. A great example of this is machine translation. The old machine translation systems were all rule-based and they were awful. It was a parlor game: you put something in you see how funny it is coming out the other end or even better you put in a sentence, translated it into Italian and back into English and everybody’s laughs hysterically (at the results).
— Rick Rashid, Microsoft Chief Research Officer
Full story: Talent, Collaboration Key to Innovation
Data usage in Asia is particularly high compared to the rest of the world and therefore they’re driven to small cells much quicker. We’ve been deploying quite a few networks now in Asia with this new type of technology. Here in Europe it’s relatively slow, but it’s beginning to get underway. There’s almost a complete reversal of what we saw in the deployment of GSM and to some extent also 3G.
Perhaps most interesting is what happens in undeveloped markets. These people don’t have old networks so they can start with a new network that has many times the capacity of the old legacy networks that the developed world has. It’s particularly well-suited to developing countries that don’t have the fixed infrastructure. In African and Latin American countries where there’s no cellular coverage at the moment, they’re being serviced by satellite.
— Chris Gilbert, CEO of Ubiquisys, which has been collaborating with Intel on “smart cells” for 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi access points that can increase processing power and storage at the network edge.
As people have come to rely more on technology and even to expect it, the space between anyone and anywhere has shrunk to a single click. That’s the impact of tech in our daily lives according to Chris Shipley.
Former journalist turned technology visionary sees technology ratcheting up human aspirations in the Q&A: Technology Now an Expectation in Daily Life.
We always were looking at laptops from the perspective of, I have a desktop and this is this device I use in a different kind of scenario. When I’m home or at work, I have the desktop, so how does this thing [laptop] supplement that experience? Today the notebook has become the experience. It’s our primary computer, and we want it to work the way we might have expected our desktops to work 10 or 15 years ago.
We put so much attention on, if these are portable computers I don’t think we even called them laptops. Our portable computers needed to be lighter and more rugged. Yet we recognized that performance would suffer when moving to lighter and smaller. Today I think we don’t expect those compromises at all.
— Chris Shipley, CEO of Guidewire Labs and former technology journalist at Ziff Davis publications.
Computers that see and hear people could boost productivity and collaboration.
Until now, it has been us engaging with the machine, but now the machines have the ability to engage you. Computers have enough performance to manage a vast amount of data, a lot more than we can process in real time through our brains.
— Anil Nanduri, director of perceptual computing solutions and products at Intel.
The full story What’s Next After Touch Computing.