Want a sneak peek into the emerging tech trends for the coming year and beyond? We attended the 2019 IFA Global Press Conference (GPC) in Andalusia, Spain, where over 300 journalists from around the world gathered to get a preview of the consumer electronics trends that will be shaping both the holiday buying season as well as the job market.
IFA, Europe’s largest consumer electronics show, takes place each September in Berlin. Over 240,000 people from over 100 countries walked through the massive show last year, to see the latest in Robotics, Digital Health, Artificial Intelligence and sensors that will help make Smart Homes easier to set up and manage.
This year artificial intelligence (AI) is being baked into many types of devices and voice-controlled systems are getting even smarter. IFA says smart home technology and user adoption is not about whether it will happen, but about how to remove the barriers for it to happen.
That means there’s a lot of emerging technologies going into the back end of these types of platforms and devices, which means job opportunities for skilled technologists. We chatted with some of the companies in attendance at the GPC to get their perspective; here’s our interview with Jeroen Tas, Chief Innovation & Strategy Officer at Philips.
At the Global Press conference, we heard a lot of talk about AI, machine learning, IoT and the eagerly-anticipated 5G technology. What emerging technology is your company most focused on?
Artificial Intelligence is a major area of focus for us at Philips. We believe AI will offer tremendous opportunities for consumer health and healthcare innovation enabling the personalization of consumer solutions and augmenting clinicians allowing them to further improve the quality and efficiency of care.
AI in combination with other technologies such as IoT, Cloud and 5G will make 24/7 always-on solutions possible that fully anticipate the needs of their users, especially in the areas of continuous health monitoring and guidance.
What types of tech, infrastructure, equipment, etc. is your company planning to invest in over the next few years?
We continue to invest in our HealthSuite Digital Platform, running on top of Amazon Web Services, that offers Cloud-based IoT, data and AI services and technical tools that meet privacy, security and regulatory requirements that you can use to develop and run a new generation of connected healthcare applications. Unlike other digital platforms, HealthSuite is purpose-built to solve the complex challenges of healthcare, featuring capabilities to connect devices, collect personal and health data, store and share data securely, analyze data, build and deploy AI models, and create solutions on the Cloud.
What types of skills does someone need in order to work in these emerging tech fields?
In recent years, Philips has significantly stepped up its activities in computer science and data science. Today, around one in every two of Philips’ R&D professionals focuses on this field. For example, we employ hundreds of researchers working in the field of data science and AI. It is in the application of these technologies into compelling propositions that drive value for customers. This means we expect the ability to work in multidisciplinary teams, that cover business, design, clinical areas and technology.
Specifically, for Artificial Intelligence and Data Scientists skills we are looking for capabilities in Natural Language Processing, Signal Processing, Machine Learning and Imaging. For Computer Vision data analysis, data mining, digital solution development are important. We also need specialists with deep knowledge of the different connectivity, compute and storage paradigms.
How is tech growing globally and what new technologies should we be keeping an eye on?
We already touched upon AI, cloud/edge computing, computer vision and 5G which are definitely technologies to keep an eye on as they will have a major impact on health tech. At Philips, we believe most if not all our solutions will be powered by AI and IoT in the future. Other very interesting technology developments are Augmented and Virtual Reality. We are collaborating with Microsoft and are using their new HoloLens2 VR technology to see if we can make highly complex image guided interventions easier to perform by giving the clinician real-time 3D holographic representations of the patient’s organs.
For the startup perspective we also talked with Mikko Reinikainen, Co-Founder of Safera.fi.
Smart home and IoT have taken the first steps and I’m sure that many new technologies will be introduced in a short time. No brainer that 5G will be the game changer but I see that if you want to be the winner you have to be able to understand the whole picture and adapt some piece of all latest technologies.
Willingness and the ability to learn new things are the key elements we look for. Skills we are looking for from the R&D point of view is AI, Algorithm specialists and multitalented Application programmers.
We want to ensure that we have the most motivated employees and we as a company can support them to develop in the best possible way. Talented and motivated people together can make miracles and change the world.