As my first CES event, sensory overload might be a good way to describe my initial visit to the showroom floor. I suppose because I’ve spent my entire career developing products and solutions for the enterprise business, I’ve never really understood the consumer market. Everything at CES 2018 is somewhat familiar or a creative concept, but I don’t feel like I have enough context or framework to quickly process what is cool and interesting at this type of show, and what is just noise.

After some time today though, I was able to take time and enjoy a number of exhibits; in particular, in the area of robotics and artificial intelligence. While there were only a few “AI” companies represented, it’s clear that the entire robotics industry has been adapting some form of intelligence over time. Growing up in the Midwest, I particularly enjoyed seeing companies like John Deere representing the intelligence they are putting into the agricultural industry. Robots are taking on all sorts of jobs and intelligence in certain ways, from helping assist the disabled to going places humans can’t safely go to being fun toys for kids of all ages.

I think the lines are blurring on what we call a “robot”. For example, seeing Lyft and Uber giving rides to CES participants to the exhibition when the driver is not actually driving, but instead, recording ML training data tags for the performance of the automation system of the self-driving car. The amount of internal and external sensor data that is being processed and making decisions in real-time is very impressive. Commercial and industrial solutions that have a similar focus of not just recording sensor data, but focusing on accurate interpretation, analysis, and decisions will clearly have the leg up on the competition in years to come.

Travis Shanahan
Itron Idea Labs
Travis Shanahan has been working on developing cloud infrastructure and cloud applications before the word was coined for shared large-scale hosted software services. In particular, taking lead architecture roles at Oracle, a few startups, as well as Silver Spring Networks, prior to joining Itron Idea Labs. While his background has been largely on the cloud side of IoT, he has helped extend the cloud out to the field network to develop a number of edge compute and capabilities in network deployments over the past few years with smart city and smart grid network infrastructures.