With IoT, personalization fuels innovation

Dr. Vida Ilderem,
Vice President, Intel Labs, and Director, Integrated Computing Research

The rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing the types and amount of data we are collecting and thereby presenting challenges related to how we use that data. The challenges can be addressed in part by personalization, which in turn is fueling the demand for innovation, according to Dr. Vida Ilderem, Intel Labs vice president and director of Integrated Computing Research (ICR). Delivering the keynote address at the 2014 International Microwave Symposium in June, she said that opportunities extend beyond email and social networking to embrace DNA sequencing and the proliferation of sensors.

“There is so much data being generated by devices—the things we carry with us or that are in our environment,” she said in a phone interview before her IMS keynote. “Personalization helps you set preferences for the data you receive at a particular time,” she said. “If you are driving, there are only certain amounts of data you want to receive—your personal preferences in that mode. So personalization is the data that you need in the context that you are operating in.”

Ilderem described the role of ICR at Intel as combining multiple elements for reasons of power, cost, and form factor. “So here you are talking about researching ingredients such as communications, computing, sensors, user interfaces, and algorithms,” she said. “We want to integrate all these functions together to deliver the use cases that people want to pursue.”

Consequently, she said, an interdisciplinary approach is necessary as the IoT rolls out, and engineers find they must contend with sensor design and deployment, signal conditioning, data conversion, digital design, data processing, cloud computing, wireless connectivity, and so on. “You need to bring the different disciplines together to get the whole end-to-end system-wide view of what is needed,” said Ilderem. “An engineer cannot be an expert in all of these disciplines, but it would be nice to know a little bit about your adjacencies.” She elaborated by commenting on the so-called I-shaped person, who is deeply knowledgeable about one topic, and the T-shaped person, who is an expert in one topic but who also has broad exposure to multiple disciplines. “I think we need more T-shaped people,” she said.

And personnel requirements aren’t limited to engineering disciplines. As the first woman to address an IMS plenary session, Ilderem expressed support for the role of women in engineering. She added, “Diversity is a wonderful thing in terms of not just gender but in the way people think—what they bring into the picture, with different points of view and different ways of doing things,” adding, “A diverse community of engineers will be instrumental in the evolving technological world of data, devices, personalization, and the IoT.”

During her IMS address, Ilderem commented that print media has evolved to the point where we now can edit and distribute our own data and even provide animation—leading to a new realm of digital storytelling. We are now dealing with two types of data—personal social data and fixed IoT sensor data. But regardless, traffic now is mostly video—and is expected to increase up to 25x between 2012 and 2017.

With the emphasis on video, consumers will care about enhanced quality of experience, perhaps requiring dynamic antenna systems in dense urban environments. Emerging 5G technologies will need to offer more capacity with low power and low latency, she said. As data plays an ever larger role in our lives, operators will need to keep data moving in real time. And, as cost comes down, there are big opportunities for more usage of unstructured data.

Opportunities lie in intelligent devices (addressable and connected), systems of systems, and analytics. Ilderem called for innovation to address the need for high data rates and the ability to handle bursty data at low power. 

Further, she noted that emerging device-to-device communications will benefit from massive MIMO and millimeter-wave technologies and the emergence of digital radio. She urged IMS attendees to exploit the computational power of radio, adding that security needs to be thought about upfront.

She ended her keynote with a video  describing vibrant data, “…a kind of augmented intuition that harnesses the growing virtual world of data to expand and deepen the human experience.” Vibrant data extends beyond the linear experience of day-to-day life that carries us, as a bus would, from event to event.

The video1 presents the example of Veronica, whose “data” identifies a concert she would like to see, long lost friends who also will attend the concert, and a private pilot willing to convey her the 250 miles to the concert venue.

“We can’t begin to imagine the possibilities of the new digital society,” Ilderem concluded.


“Vibrant Data: A Collective Vision for the Future,” Intel, Video, http://intel.ly/1iBSHv5

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