A collaboration to deliver simplified and specialised IoT solutions for enterprise customers in industrial, retail, building management, automotive and energy efficiency markets was announced at Mobile World Congress.
Harman, a connected technologies company for the automotive, consumer and enterprise markets, has teamed up with cloud infrastructure leader VMware to integrate Harman’s portfolio of over-the-air (OTA) software updates, sensors, gateways and analytics services into VMware’s IoT solution. The partnership will help deploy, secure, manage and monitor IoT infrastructure at enterprise scale to streamline industry-specific IoT use cases.
The Internet of Things is here today and companies globally are already investing in, and seeing ROI from IoT. IDC predicts that the worldwide Internet of Things market spend will grow to $1.29 trillion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6% and the installed base of IoT endpoints will grow from 12.1 billion at the end of 2015 to more than 30 billion in 2020 (Doc # US42082716.) As companies race to implement IoT strategies, they will require complete solutions that focus on specific market segment requirements. IT and operational teams will also have to address massive scaling and management requirements to deliver maximum value and the best possible experience.
This new collaboration between Harman and VMware will help Communications Service Providers (CSPs) add new offerings and expand revenue streams that will further enhance the IoT user experience and the delivery of innovative services. Harman OTA update solutions paired with the VMware vCloud NFV platform and end-to-end IoT operational management solution delivers a fully elastic and optimised network infrastructure that allows operators to expand their services into new markets as they transform network architectures towards 5G. The combined solution provides CSP’s the ability to provision and launch innovative services through a fully virtualised mobile core network such as prioritised connectivity such as emergency calling, communication and video conferencing and infotainment with high definition quality, leveraging simplified operations management, policy control, and self-provisioning.
“As industries ramp up efforts to adopt IoT, this one-of-a-kind offering allows enterprises across all verticals to benefit from simplified solutions that elevate their services to a more sophisticated and innovative degree,” said Sanjay Dhawan, president, Harman Connected Services. “Harman and VMware’s complementary IoT offering will change the landscape for non-traditional technology companies, providing them with new growth opportunities that will set them apart from their competitors.”
In addition to supporting new telecom services and automotive enterprises, Harman and VMware’s combined IoT offering will help the following vertical markets achieve their innovation objectives quicker and more effectively:
- Retail – Understand in-store shopper behavior, determine the efficacy of store displays, enhance floor navigation paths, monetize hot zones with personalised coupons and optimize inventory
- Industrial – enable factory automation and management, including predictive maintenance using vibration sensor analytics
- Smart Buildings – optimize energy usage, space utilization, and meeting room occupancy with higher real estate ROI and enhanced occupant comfort
- Automotive – simplify the update and monitoring of automotive end points using Harman OTA and VMware’s IoT management platform solution
“While businesses look to adopt IoT into their organisations and offerings, the efficient management and security that IT brings is necessary for IoT to reach enterprise grade and scale,” said Mimi Spier, vice president and head of business development, GTM strategy and marketing for IoT at VMware. “Through our collaboration with Harman, we are bridging the gap between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), helping companies across many industries maximise the full potential of IoT through seamless integration with their IT infrastructure.”
Harman and VMware Demonstrate Connected Car Solutions
At Mobile World Congress at Harman stand K30, Hall 2, Harman, VMware and Athonet will showcase a live connected car IoT scenario. Elements of Athonet’s click-to-deploy “softwarised” mobile core are disaggregated (Control/User Plane) and deployed in real-time with VMware vCloud NFV to allow high performance LTE services to be delivered to the dashboard of a car running a video entertainment application. This allows for the local breakout of video and other communications for local edge computing requirements and can deliver the highly secure, ultra-low latency required by high-bandwidth applications. Harman IoT solutions bring connectivity, digital content, emergency services and policy control to the connected car.
Why your first self-driving car ride will be in a robotaxi
Autonomous driving will take longer than we expect, and involve less ownership than the industry would like, writes Intel’s AMNON SHASHUA
As we all watch automakers and autonomous tech companies team up in various alliances, it’s natural to wonder about their significance and what the future will bring. Are we realizing that autonomous driving technology and its acceptance by society could take longer than expected? Is the cost of investing in such technology proving more than any single organization can sustain? Are these alliances driven by a need for regulation that will be accepted by governments and the public or for developing standards on which manufacturers can agree?
The answers are likely a bit of each, which makes it a timely opportunity to review the big picture and share our view of where Intel and Mobileye stand in this landscape.
Three Aspects to Auto-Tech-AI
There are three aspects to automotive-technology-artificial intelligence (auto-tech-AI) that are unfolding:
- Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)
- Robotaxi ride-hailing as the future of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS)
- Series-production passenger car autonomy
With ADAS technologies, the driver remains in control while the system intervenes when necessary to prevent accidents. This is especially important as distracted driving grows unabated. Known as Levels 0-2 as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), ADAS promises to reduce the probability of an accident to infinitesimal levels. This critical phase of auto-tech-AI is well underway, with today’s penetration around 22%, a number expected to climb sharply to 75% by 2025.1
Meanwhile, the autonomous driving aspect of auto-tech-AI is coming in two phases: robotaxi MaaS and series-production passenger car autonomy. What has changed in the mindset of many companies, including much of the auto industry, is the realization that those two phases cannot proceed in parallel.
Series-production passenger car autonomy (SAE Levels 4-5) must wait until the robotaxi industry deploys and matures. This is due to three factors: cost, regulation and geographic scale. Getting all factors optimized simultaneously has proven too difficult to achieve in a single leap, and it is why many in the industry are contemplating the best path to achieve volume production. Many industry leaders are realizing it is possible to stagger the challenges if the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) aims first at the robotaxi opportunity.
Cost: The cost of a self-driving system (SDS) with its cameras, radars, lidars and high-performance computing is in the tens of thousands of dollars and will remain so for the foreseeable future. This cost level is acceptable for a driverless ride-hailing service, but is simply too expensive for series-production passenger cars. The cost of SDS should be no more than a few thousand dollars – an order of magnitude lower than today’s costs – before such capability can find its way to series-production passenger cars.
Regulation: Regulation is an area that receives too little attention. Companies deep in the making of SDSs know that it is the stickiest issue. Beside the fact that laws for granting a license to drive are geared toward human drivers, there is the serious issue of how to balance safety and usefulness in a manner that is acceptable to society.
It will be easier to develop laws and regulations governing a fleet of robotaxis than for privately-owned vehicles. A fleet operator will receive a limited license per use case and per geographic region and will be subject to extensive reporting and back-office remote operation. In contrast, licensing such cars to private citizens will require a complete overhaul of the complex laws and regulations that currently govern vehicles and drivers.
The auto industry is gradually realising that autonomy must wait until regulation and technology reach equilibrium, and the best place to get this done is through the robotaxi phase.
Scale: The third factor, geographic scale, is mostly a challenge of creating high-definition maps with great detail and accuracy, and of keeping those maps continuously updated. The geographic scale is crucial for series-production driverless cars because they must necessarily operate “everywhere” to fulfil the promise of the self-driving revolution. Robotaxis can be confined to geofenced areas, which makes it possible to postpone the issue of scale until the maturity of the robotaxi industry.
When the factors of cost, regulation and scale are taken together, it is understandable why series-production passenger cars will not become possible until after the robotaxi phase.
As is increasingly apparent, the auto industry is gravitating towards greater emphasis on their Level 2 offerings. Enhanced ADAS – with drivers still in charge of the vehicle at all times – helps achieve many of the expected safety benefits of AVs without bumping into the regulatory, cost and scale challenges.
At the same time, automakers are solving for the regulatory, cost and scale challenges by embracing the emerging robotaxi MaaS industry. Once MaaS via robotaxi achieves traction and maturity, automakers will be ready for the next (and most transformative) phase of passenger car autonomy.
The Strategy for Autonomy
With all of this in mind, Intel and Mobileye are focused on the most efficient path to reach passenger car autonomy. It requires long-term planning, and for those who can sustain the large investments ahead, the rewards will be great. Our path forward relies on four focus areas:
- Continue at the forefront of ADAS development. Beyond the fact that ADAS is the core of life-saving technology, it allows us to validate the technological building blocks of autonomous vehicles via tens of new production programs a year with automakers that submit our technology to the most stringent safety testing. Our ADAS programs – more than 34 million vehicles on roads today – provide the financial “fuel” to sustain autonomous development activity for the long run.
- Design an SDS with a backbone of a camera-centric configuration. Building a robust system that can drive solely based on cameras allows us to pinpoint the critical safety segments for which we truly need redundancy from radars and lidars. This effort to avoid unnecessary over-engineering or “sensor overload” is key to keeping the cost low.
- Build on our Road Experience Management (REM)™ crowdsourced automatic high-definition map-making to address the scale issue. Through existing contracts with automakers, we at Mobileye expect to have more than 25 million cars sending road data by 2022.
- Tackle the regulatory issue through our Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) formal model of safe driving, which balances the usefulness and agility of the robotic driver with a safety model that complies with societal norms of careful driving.
At Intel and Mobileye, we are all-in on the global robotaxi opportunity. We are developing technology for the entire robotaxi experience – from hailing the ride on your phone, through powering the vehicle and monitoring the fleet. Our hands-on approach with as much of the process as possible enables us to maximize learnings from the robotaxi phase and be ready with the right solutions for automakers when the time is right for series-production passenger cars.
On the way, we will help our partners deliver on the life-saving safety revolution of ADAS. We are convinced this will be a powerful and historic example of the greatest value being realized on the journey.
Professor Amnon Shashua is senior vice president at Intel Corporation and president and chief executive officer of Mobileye, an Intel company.
Sea of Solitude represents mental health issues through gaming
It’s a game that provides a tasteful visual representation of mental health issues. BRYAN TURNER dives into the Sea of Solitude.
Disclaimer: This review is based on four hours of gameplay.
Sea of Solitude, the latest adventure game by Jo-Mei Games and EA Games, takes a sobering look at loneliness. It represents this loneliness visually, using light and dark environmental changes, as well as creatures players must encounter. The main character, Kay, must make it through the sea without finding herself trapped in a sea of loneliness. She meets fantastical creatures along her journey, and she must help them solve their challenges while keeping herself in a sane environment.
The game is systematic in the way it represents its important aspects. It starts with a striking visual art style and a soft storyline, which gives characters a chance to absorb the beauty of the game. As one gets a hang of the controls and used to the art style, the story kicks it up a few notches to reveal the harrowing backstories of the creatures that reside in the sea Kay must travel.
In particular, it features a creature that keeps flying away from Kay. This was frustrating because the previous chapter of the game presents a backstory for the creature that was not only devastating to the main character, but also to the player. Once Kay meets this creature, players must be ready to cry. It’s a brilliantly crafted story and hats off to Jo-Mei Games for being great storytellers.
Cornelia Geppert, CEO of Jo-Mei Games, told EA: “Sea of Solitude centres on the essence of loneliness and tugs on the heartstrings of its players by mirroring their own reality. It’s by far the most artistic and personal project I’ve ever created, written during a very emotional time in my life. Designing characters based on emotions was a deeply personal achievement for our team and we’re so excited for players to soon experience Kay’s powerful story of self-discovery and healing.”
Generally, I steer clear of games that are metaphors about mental health issues because they tend to be crass in how they address mental health. Sea of Solitude is quite different because of its level of relatability. Other games about mental health tend to be about a specific disorder that not many people experience, while loneliness is something that so many of us experience. Additionally, the representation of how loneliness affects Kay in the real world is sharp but tasteful. The combination of relatability and respectful representation is what makes the game’s story so brilliant.
Another great aspect of this game is the music scoring. It uses sound and the absence of sound very carefully to invoke the right feelings expected from players. The game wouldn’t be as good with the sound off and subtitles on, so future players are recommended to turn up the volume or put on headphones.
The game is long for an indie game, at around three or four hours of gameplay until the end is reached. Several sources say there is a hidden ending, so players can look out for that in a second playthrough.
The game’s story isn’t perfect, though. The eventual sameness of creature encounters is a little disappointing. This may be down to the expectation of being extremely devastated by all the stories of the creatures, especially when one is less than devastated by the subsequent stories. One of the most affecting creature stories was also presented at the beginning of the game, which set the bar very high for the rest of the creatures.
One creature, in particular, tries very hard to have the greatest emotional impact, but this comes across as blunt and dampens the meaning of what it was supposed to represent.
While I didn’t mind sharp representation, the perception of themes like bullying, estrangement, and suicidal thoughts may vary in appropriateness from player to player. Prospective players with existing painful mental health issues should consult gameplay videos, like the one below, before purchasing the game, to gauge appropriateness.
Overall, the game is incredible at connecting with what it is to be human and what it means to be lonely. Dealing with issues as physical creatures is a great touch, as the main character tends to resolve the problems of the creature by understanding what the problems mean.