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Digital Transformation, Security And Artificial Intelligence: Enterprise Partnerships

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enterprise partnerships in artificial intelligence & Digital Transformation

During my conversation with Tim Baker, Director of Marketing and Product Management of Commercial Security Products at Honeywell, I realised very quickly that yes, I did want the person designing today’s security systems to have a real passion for making buildings and people safer. 

Physical security is top of mind for us all, not just from media hype but at a basic level of feeling good about going out in the real world every day. On top of that, digital transformation is turning the security field completely on end. 

In 2018 Honeywell brought an all new team on the job to re-imagine security for organisations from small to medium-sized franchise businesses, to schools, to compliance-heavy commercial and (should this be mission critical facilities? critical facilities. Truly an amazing opportunity to start fresh, no legacy burden and the best possible partnerships. 

Tim brings the perfect background to the job, coming from an integrated engineering and industrial design background, he has that genius for identifying customer problems and coming up with solutions for them. 

Security & Digital Transformation Enterprise

Honeywell has a fantastic opportunity in front of them. Digitalisation offers the ability to merge the three domains of security into one integration system, e.g. intruder detection, access control and video surveillance – into one integrated system.

By integrating the security feeds, system designers aim to go from reactive (monitoring and detecting intruders) to predictive and preventive. It’s the perfect big data application. 

Take the stereotypical global security office (G-soc) with a wall of 30 video monitors. How much better to develop a layered interface that brings the right information to the front of just two or three monitors while pushing the right information to critical team members, and collecting new information from incident responders? And for heavily regulated industries such as pharma, healthcare, banking, airports, oil & gas, and energy, a customisable system can help drive compliance on a global scale.

There are complications though. The industries in the most need of better security systems also require 100% uptime. Security systems in those environments must provide complete redundancy, from network to power supply, because failures are not tolerated – and neither are false alarms. 

Another complication is the variance between sites. While Fortune 500 companies may own hundreds of buildings, they usually haven’t built those themselves and they’re probably operating disparate systems. That means, says Tim, “We have to be able to compute at the edge for isolated buildings, and in other cases to compute in the cloud and in localised servers as well.” Building an infrastructure that can customise and scale across all of those requirements is daunting.

In fact, the initiative might not have worked at all were Honeywell not so committed to open-platform design and partnerships. “Honeywell is not trying to be an expert in all aspects – you’d wind up being an expert in nothing.” Tim says, and calls out things like gunshot detections and behavioural analytics.  This type of expertise already exists and can be added in. Honeywell focuses on the core integrated software and hardware and integrates the specialty peripheral elements and data via the open platform.

One of the most intriguing partnerships Honeywell security has is with Intel. As Tim puts it, “We were looking for a hardware partner for things like servers, and it evolved into a really interesting relationship. They’ve introduced us to a lot of capabilities, such as driving our video analytics through hardware acceleration. It really opened our eyes and allowed us to apply that technology to a broader range of use cases.

Now we’re looking at AI and machine learning and servers with purpose-built processors. And, Intel is helping us connect the dots with other ecosystem partners since they are talking to so many other companies in the space.  They are bringing us together to solve customer problems.” 

From what Tim describes, it sounds like the combined capabilities are creating better products. For example, a loitering detection solution was generating too many false alarms from animals or wind. Working in collaboration, the partners were able to apply machine learning to the detection algorithms and teach them to recognise real vs. false alarms. They’ve since dropped the false positive rate to single digits. 

It’s like a co-create concept where once the team has outlined what they’re trying to build, they can leverage Intel’s capability as much as possible to create a repeatable design and build processes and without having to build everything themselves. 

Tim points out that Intel is also contributing software tool kits like Intel Distribution of OpenVINO to help partners leverage Intel hardware. “Having standard deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow allow us to leverage their processors in such a way that we can efficiently manage the compute for compute-intensive algorithms.” 

So is edge the next big challenge for video security? Raw 4k video is high volume, high speed and high value. With the explosion of 5GT connectivity, we are going to be talking about petabytes of data and you can’t copy that across the network. I thought, what a great opportunity for Honeywell to put their capabilities on the edge of the network where the data is and glean those insights as they’re happening as opposed to trying to hold that data somewhere else to run it centrally. 

Tim agrees – “You want to be able to do as much with that video data at the edge as possible. In an access control application, you don’t need to hold on to the footage of the person walking up to the door, you just need to use the video at the edge to identify the person via biometric means.” And, he points out, with all of the differences in data privacy regulations, you may not have the rights to store video at all. 

Intel’s capabilities are allowing Honeywell to look at applications that are really camera intensive, such as smart cities. I asked Tim for some predictions about what security would look like in the near future, and you can hear his answer at the very opening of the podcast. Stay and listen to the rest of our conversation; there’s a lot going on in the security space and the partnership between Honeywell and Intel is fascinating. 

My sincere thanks to Tim and the rest of the team at Honeywell and Intel for making this podcast possible. For more information about the topics he and I discuss, follow the reference links below. 

Reference links:

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NEC recognised as Top Ten Champion in AI Ethics & Governance Certification

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NEC Asia Pacific, the regional headquarters for Tokyo head quartered information and communications technology provider NEC Corporation, has been recognised as one of the Singapore Computer Society’s (SCS) inaugural top ten champions in “AI Ethics & Governance Certification” during the 2022 Tech3 Forum, an annual business & technology event organised and run by SCS in partnership with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

This certification recognises efforts to encourage professional development in AI Ethics & Governance in the workplace, and commitment towards building an effective and trusted AI ecosystem.

As a result of the pace at which AI adoption across all facets of society is increasing, there is a very real need to foster public trust in AI, to allow organisations to unlock its full potential.

All nations governments and societies have of late engaged in broad discussion and global debate pertaining to the topics surrounding Artificial Intelligence, none more so that those relating to data privacy and how privacy as a whole plays a role in relation to AI utilisation and advancement of related technologies and services.

In response to the need to address such challenges, in particular those which may arise from the rapid developments and advancement in AI and technology taking place in today’s world, NEC established a Data Distribution Strategy Office in April 2017.

This was closely followed the following year by the establishment of NEC’s Digital Trust Business Strategy Division in October 2018, and in 2019, NEC also unveiled the formation of the NEC Group AI and Human Rights Principles. NEC has since developed business activities based on those principles.

As a leading tech society for industry professionals in Singapore, the SCS received support from IMDA in in 2020 to develop the world’s first AI Ethics Body of Knowledge in anticipation of the wider use of AI.

Following this, the SCS announced in 2021 a new joint AI Ethics & Governance Certification programme with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), with the aim of guiding and educating businesses and professionals on a wide range of topics relating to the development, deployment and use of responsible AI.

In relation to being awarded the SCS AI Ethics & Governance Certification, NEC APAC’s Managing Director, Teh Chong Mien stated, “NEC has aligned our mission based on Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. and we are committed to helping Singapore achieve its goals outlined in its National AI Strategy. We will do our best to realise a safer and brighter world by engaging the relevant stakeholders to build a robust digital trust framework based on ethics and human-centric technology.”

These principles will guide employees of NEC to prioritise privacy and human rights considerations in each and every stage of the NEC Group’s business operations along with compliance with all relevant laws and regulations globally.

In accordance with these principles, the NEC Group is committed to the three following initiatives:

  1. Ensure that all products and services are implemented and utilised by NEC employees, customers and partners appropriately
  2. Continue to develop advanced technology and talent to further promote AI utilisation
  3. Engage with a range of stakeholders to build partnerships and collaborate with closely

NEC has in fact enrolled its Singapore-based leadership team and their team of developers in the SCS and NTU certification programme, to capitalise on the many synergies between NEC’s Group AI and Human Rights Principles which prioritise privacy and human rights in relation to the utilisation of AI and biometrics data.

SCS President, Sam Liew, was recently quoted to have said, “We are heartened to have partners such as NEC play a leading role in supporting Singapore’s AI ecosystem, and we welcome all organisations to join us in growing the pool of AI Ethics professionals in Singapore.”

NEC promotes its Social Solution Business through the utilisation of advanced AI solutions from “NEC the WISE” (refer to Note 2), IoT technologies, and “Bio-Idiom” (refer to Note 3), which enables instant authentication using face, iris, fingerprint, palm print, pulse, and acoustic data.

Further information available via the full NEC press release:

http://bit.ly/nec-scs-ai-ethics-award-2022

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. The NEC Group globally provides “Solutions for Society” that promote the safety, security, efficiency and equality of society. Under the company’s corporate message of “Orchestrating a brighter world,” NEC aims to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow.

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Rebounding for the data-driven fate with FPGA and eASICS

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Field Programmable Gate Array Technology

Data is now the new driving force of the modern world. How well your business performs or what its rank could be on the performance list entirely depends on how you leverage the data available, involving emerging tools such as ML, AI, and cloud! Such forces have, in turn, lit up a stand for Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). 

Lately, I have had a great fortune to sit down and have an in-depth discussion with Jim Dworkin, the senior director of the cloud business unit in the Programmable Solutions Group at Intel. During our discussion, even Jim asserted that in order to unlock the potential of data, we need to embrace the latest FPGA technology. 

Further, having the modern architecture out into the right place now could easily uncover the paths to get things right. Perhaps, we need to educate ourselves on the ‘hardwiring’ of data flow to ensure we can appropriately leverage the power of data, speed time to market, diminish the costs of ownership, and a lot more that could take the businesses to new heights. 

For example, the technology Intel has been offering has virtually evolved “off-the-shelf”, so competent than ever before that it can now solve specific infrastructure or business problems.

With the embracement of FPGA latest technology and eASICs(the Intel tech discussed above), there has been an acceleration in infrastructure use cases (SmartNICs). So, what is SmartNICs? Well, SmartNICs is a programmable accelerator. It holds the capability to centre all the networking data with the utmost security and proffering storage flexibility and efficiency at the same time. 

Having SmartNIC onboard businesses hold enough power to handle more refined infrastructure workloads using cloud hosts, churning of wastage of time, and saving more resources. Besides, SmartNICs also furnish great value towards nurturing virtualized assistance, such as multi-tenant shared cloud and more.

Perhaps with hyper-scalers’ mushrooming, the overhead of network infrastructure might turn daunting. But the applications of FPGA have helped manage that. 

Apart from this, Intel has also come up with FPGA cloud SmartNIC platforms that replicate the hyper-scalers’ used architectures. So, how does it operate? 

This platform integrates Intel high-performance Stratix 10 FPGA with an Intel Xeon D processor that works together on the SmartNIC card, enabling virtual switching by offering the Tier-2 data centres a mass-market solution. 

Intel has also been heavily sponsoring more efficient AI via recommender systems and natural language processing. It has even established a more robust form of FPGA, which is able to interpret voice coder inputs. 

Jim contends that the enactment of a GPU manages to be modal and established on the micro-architecture constructed around it, irrespective of their power. Therefore if it shifts from an optimization point, latencies might rise, negatively impacting the performance of speech processing. 

FPGA applications are virtually inexhaustible, particularly with FPGA transition reaching up to par with software programming in ease of usage. 

Jim is optimistic about exploding evolution. He believes people wouldn’t be asking what SmartNIC platforms are. Instead would be keener towards knowing how transformative it could be. But if you ask me, I would still say the real excitement lies in accessing Intel’s technology and then jumping to Microsoft Azure to revise and enjoy leaner and faster service completely.

With his extensive product knowledge of large-scale integration work, Jim puts it; we must decode problems at a strategic level and not in a microcosm.

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Conversation With Jim Dworkin, Senior Director Cloud Business Unit, Intel PSG

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I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jim Dworkin, who is the Sr. Director of Cloud Business Unit at Intel PSG, to discuss the recent news, insights, FPGA trends, and offerings surrounding Field Programable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) from Intel and related topics such as Data Centres, Infrastructure from Servers to Networks, to the Internet of Things, Edge networking  Artificial Intelligence, compute and much more.

In this episode of our podcast show, Jim and I delve into a wide range of business and technology insights around how key CXO and Senior Business & Technology decision-makers can obtain immediate real-world business benefits by taking advantage of the tremendous technology and supporting ecosystem or partners, integrators, and others and Intel teams globally – this show covers many recent trends in FPGA is you can not miss, please do tune in it today!

Here are a few of the important points from our show:

  1. Latest macro FGPA Trends driving development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs

We kick off with Jim sharing insights around what he and his team at Intel are currently seeing worldwide, as far as the latest macro trends driving the development/adoption of FPGAs/eASICs are concerned.

Jim also clarifies what an FPGA is, what Intel’s eASICS are, and where they each fit in the respective spaces around development, design, implementation, going into production, and more – a phenomenal overview to set the scene for this fantastic discussion.

  1. Obstacles & happenings around the adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness

I ask Jim to share his take on the key hurdles & opportunities he and his team at Intel PSG, and related teams at intel, are seeing worldwide concerning the uptake and adoption of FPGAs/eASICs and market readiness.

  1. How Intel customers/partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs

Jim gives us an extraordinary briefing level summary of how Intel customers and partners see success with FPGAs/eASICs, as well as some great actionable takeaways listeners can put in place within their own organisations to gain real business and technology benefits over a wide range of key areas in both Information Technology as well as Operational Technology systems and environments.

This conversation covers a broad range of news and detail about Intel’s FPGA solutions business, and technology decision-makers should pay attention. PushPLAY now and tune into this great conversation. If you have any questions, reach out at any time via any of the usual channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. We’d love to start a conversation and perhaps connect you with the best people at Intel to support your organisation’s outcomes.

This podcast covering Intel FPGA News was created in association with Intel.

Explore:

 Intel® FPGA Homepage: https://intel.ly/3gRRXm5

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (Video): https://intel.ly/37pjDLS

– Real-Time Text To Speech Synthesis Using Intel® Stratix® 10 NX FPGA (White Paper): https://intel.ly/3mo5PW3

– Pushing AI Boundaries with Scalable Compute-Focused FPGAs (White Paper): https://intel.ly/3gRZLnI

 

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