The role of women in the rise of AIThe role of women in the rise of AI https://www.xmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/xmos_x.png 310 310 XMOS https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9966e6e24970c6a4cd9c08657fac656d?s=96&d=mm&r=g
We spoke with Natalie Powell (ChannelNewsAsia) at MWC19 on the “Role of Women in the rise of Artificial Intelligence”.
Mark Lippett talks about the chips that make Voice Assistants workMark Lippett talks about the chips that make Voice Assistants work https://www.xmos.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/146560.jpg 328 328 XMOS https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/9966e6e24970c6a4cd9c08657fac656d?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Voicebot Podcast Ep 87: Mark talks to Bret Kinsella about what technologies make the far-field voice recognition feature possible in smart speakers, smart TVs, streaming media boxes and other devices.
February | Barcelona
It’s a bold claim to make, but after last year’s MWC Europe was described by some as a “damp squib,” this year’s theme proposed to “usher in the era of intelligent connectivity,” thrusting high-speed 5G networks, IoT, AI and big data to the forefront of discussions.
Organisers were keen to highlight ‘intelligent connectivity’ will open up a number of opportunities for highly personalised experiences. Much of the discussion was driven by developments in the connectivity infrastructure – 5G, full fibre or otherwise, advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the proliferation of smart devices in the IoT ecosystem, many of which were on the tradeshow floor. To our relief, MWC 2019 also moved past the gimmicky phase of IoT – who can forget the “record everything your kids say” wearable device of 2016 or the infamous laggy smart fridge which, in low lighting, could have passed as an iPad sellotaped to a regular fridge. Swish.
The conversation has moved on to how humans are going to engage in a simple, holistic way with their smart environments. And the biggest players in the world of tech are sitting up and taking notice. The success of voice services like Alexa, Google and Siri means that consumers are questioning why they need separate remote controls or mobile apps for each piece of technology in their home when they can ask a digital assistant to close the curtains, dim the lights and cue up the film on the TV.
There is no question that public consciousness has woken up to the power of voice. Smart speakers have fueled rapid growth in the voice space and other product categories are now coming to market. Latest estimates for home consumer electronics with ‘built in’ voice assistants have been revised upwards from 2017-18 to 75.6million units – based upon increased shipments in the smart TV and media streamer categories. (Futuresource)
The power of voice
XMOS was in the Department for International Trade’s exhibition space to showcase why voice is the natural interface between human and machine, withdemonstrable use-cases. Despite the challenges associated with running voice-enabled devices in a trade-show environment (the noise equivalence to a zoo), the commercial products on display passed the ultimate test: far-field voice capture with up close accuracy.
XMOS engineering has spurred a wave of third-party product implementations that are propelling the way humans interact with their digital assistants. From a healthcare companion robot to set-top boxes, our technology is at the heart of it. Here are some of the products we had on show:
- Freebox Delta: the brainchild of innovative French telecoms operator Free, Freebox Delta is a high-performance fusion of technologies – a set-top box, media streamer, soundbar, WiFi server and smart home hub that responds intelligently to both touch and voice. XMOS provided the far-field voice capability for its two on-board personal assistants, Alexa and OK Freebox.
- Hello2: created by the California-based communications company Solaborate Hello2, transforms your TV into a powerful communications device that responds intelligently to touch and voice. With far-field voice capture, a 4K HDR video sensor and a six element lens, Hello2 plugs into your TV with an HDMI cable to integrate audio, video and collaboration, so you can enjoy everything from digital whiteboarding to screen sharing, media streaming and gaming.
- Pillo: created by Boston-based Pillo Health, this companion robot redefines the role of voice-enabled assistants in the homes of the elderly, sick and vulnerable, as well as transforming the way healthcare is administered. The Pillo robot is more than just a voice-enabled pill dispenser. By harnessing artificial intelligence, the device is capable of carrying out two-way interactions with its patients, offering genuine companionship as well as assistance.
Of the many, exciting new technologies on show, we were wowed by BMW’s Natural Interaction prototype, uses voice recognition, gesture control and gaze tracking to understand what you want to do in your car without pressing a button. Our CEO Mark Lippett spoke to analyst firm Bloomberg NEF on why cars represent such an exciting opportunity for voice technology. The combination of voice, sensors and AI will deliver conceptual awareness, which opens the potential for improved safety, reduce distractions and the ability for us to connect seamlessly with our voice assistant or ‘digital twin’.
Ushering in the era of intuitive intelligence
Perhaps a more fitting theme for this year’s show would be the era of intuitive intelligence. To look at connectivity in isolation, without articulating the benefits it’ll bring to consumers, can be frustrating – particularly as big token advancements such as 5G are still on the horizon for many. Today, voice interfaces are being adopted at double the rate of mobile phones when they first appeared. They are firmly positioned for general adoption at the intersection of humans and an augmented environment – which will be supercharged by next generation networks. The ultimate goal has to be a move away from touch-based commands toward ambient computing – where our interactions with the technology around us feel intuitive and easy – and we don’t need to learn how to use it, because the intelligence is already embedded in the device.
XMOS continues to enlighten and surprise me.
I first worked at XMOS during the summer of 2017, after finishing my second-year university exams. On finishing university, it was a pleasure to be able to return for a second work placement. XMOS is filled with such intelligent, dedicated and friendly people, and working here, I’ve seen how effectively a team can drive to reach shared goals and grow the business to where it deserves to be. Throughout this blog, I’d like to highlight my thoughts on the work I’ve been involved with, the culture that XMOS promotes and the vision I see for XMOS as a company moving forward. It has been an absolute honour to work alongside such talented people and I’ll watch XMOS with interest in the years to come.
During this work placement, I gained a fresh perspective on the company’s vision. I’d worked with the Finance team previously, so sitting with Marketing meant new faces, new ideas and new direction. I was immediately welcomed with my own desk, my own space and a sense of belonging – which really helped me relax into the role. My time was split between the Marketing and Finance teams, so I was never short of work! It was rewarding to feel I was adding real value to the business, helping in areas where help was clearly needed. I admit that some tasks were more exciting than others, but regardless of what I was doing, I certainly honed-in on and further developed some very important skills: the use of Excel, my attention to detail, my creativity, my communication and my ability to break down the task at hand logically and systematically. The work over the last 3 months has been full of variety. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working across different departments, gaining a great insight into XMOS and this fast-moving technology industry, but also working alongside and befriending some fascinating people.
I’d describe XMOS as open, natural and hardworking. The sense of community is really felt here and I believe it all stems from the employees. Everyone welcomed me as an equal, which made it easy for me to learn and grow as an individual. I felt a great willingness to help from everyone, regardless of their position in the company. The lack of hierarchy at XMOS is something I truly admire. Their flexibility and understanding of people’s needs is also outstanding. It’s also a company that’s serious about having fun. The lead-up to Christmas was been like no other, full of festivities and good vibes. The people I’ve been surrounded by for the last 3 months have brought me nothing but smiles and joy.
Make no mistake though, hard work and ambition is instilled in the backbone of XMOS employees. Their dedication to get the job done on time, to out-perform the competition and still look to what they can do to improve – that’s a real recipe for success and will help them scale new heights. An Indian sage once said that in a finite world, we are all looking for infinite satiation. In a never decelerating world of innovation today, where competition is considered a status quo state, it is of crucial importance to dedicate time to understand people and their behaviour. I believe that with some finer tuning and a deeper understanding of the needs and wants of XMOS employees, they’re on their way to the perfect culture.
XMOS has a bright future. Innovative ideas, great people, hard work, ambition…it’s all in the DNA of XMOS. I speak from a young generation when I say that technology is hot and exciting. The limits are endless. But let’s not forget about the fierce competition that’s contained within this field and it’s important for XMOS to compete fiercely and further expand sustainably and intelligently in this growing market. I believe innovation and adaptability is key. Providing high-qualify innovative products will put XMOS on the radar of new clients. Being adaptable will help XMOS build its brand as an intelligent company that’s aware of the current issues at hand. How can one promote innovation? For me, the core lies in being able to freely express ideas and solutions. Emphasis on the word ‘freely’: XMOS Ideas Sessions where, once a month, small, diverse groups have complete freedom to share ideas on potential XMOS improvements (be they internal or external); this could help shape the working environment, evolve the strategy or even identify a new product opportunity. Innovation stems from having many different perspectives and these Ideas Sessions may help surface even more pioneering ideas from the team.
When I think of what is to come for XMOS, I am filled with excitement and intrigue. I am grateful to have played a small part of XMOS’ journey and am excited for what the future holds. For me though, now comes a time of relaxation. A time of enjoyment, peace and exploration. I am travelling to South America, with my girlfriend, to explore and understand new cultures, new situations and new people. It is going to be a beautiful journey which I have complete trust in. During my time away, I will also be ‘chasing the wind’ – following my passion of kitesurfing. I am excited to finally dedicate myself to this sport it hasn’t been feasible to do so until now. I’m going to see many wonders during my time in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Cuba, but will never forget my time here at XMOS. I’ll be returning to England in summer 2019 and am looking forward to starting the next stage of my career at KPMG as a Technology Consultant. For now, I wish nothing but success and happiness for team XMOS. We’ll meet again!
by Esher Pegrum
XMOS is hiring!
If you’re interested in finding out more about what it’s like working for a leading company in the voice capture space, with partners such as Amazon Alexa and Infineon, you can browse our jobs or send us your CV with note about why you’d like to work here to email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.