“We are on the cusp of the next revolution of this marketplace. If we are not prepared or proactive we will be sidelined” NIXT! is our new column in collaboration with InfoCommAsia Pte Ltd, the organisers of Beijing InfoComm China, InfoComm India and InfoComm SEA. The acronym stands for Next Integrated Experience Technology. NIXT! took the form of a conference at the recent Beijing InfoComm China. We speak to InfoCommAsia Executive Director Richard Tan, who is the driving force behind NIXT! to find out what is NIXT! about and why it is relevant to our industry. Richard, why did NIXT! come about? NIXT! started with a realisation a couple of years ago that there are cutting edge technologies that have been in play for a while already. Perhaps more in the consumer space than the commercial space initially, but we’re starting to see these technologies being applied to the areas that we work in, primarily in AV. To give an example, there’s a company called Charoen Pokphand Group in Thailand. It is a huge conglomerate that has diversified businesses, including agro-food and retail. They operate arguably one of the largest supermarket chains in Thailand, and they get their produce supply from their local farmlands. They started using drones to monitor the farm plots that are meant to supply directly to the supermarket chain. So these drones monitor to check if there are insect manifestation or the heat levels that determine the quality of the crops ultimately. So these quality control takes place even before the crops leave the farmland. Then at the CP end of the operation, there is a Command and Control Centre where all these are being monitored. So in the good old days, our InfoComm shows will just be concerned with visualisation and how to ensure that all the inputs have proper outputs to enable the client to view the images or data effectively. But now, when you have a situation like this, where drones are essentially a fleet of robots operating in tandem, they need to be networked and therefore IoT comes into play. When you have a fleet of drones that are constantly feeding data that is highly unstructured about heat levels or about fuzzy logic determining possible insect presence and what kind they are, we are looking at substantial unstructured data in real-time and that would require AI to help the operators make sense of it. So we are now in a situation in a space that we the AV industry operate in with somebody like CP using Command and Control solutions, but we also need to be looking at what kind of AI they are going to use, who are they going to be using and who is going to supply the expertise. We could be looking at robots in the form of drones and how they are going to be equipped with IoT. And then we got to be looking at the wireless infrastructure that it could be operating in and who is going to be able to support that operation. © Systems Integration Asia | VOL. 18 ISSUE - 6 ~ Aug-Sep 2019
And then, of course, we will be looking from the AV specific environment what are they going to need. But in a context now of that expanded project scope, the dynamics would change. Who will be taking the lead? Who’s going to make the decision and it may not be our industry. We’ve started seeing that happening over the years, which has led to my concern that we’re missing a vital Community within that Spectrum of forces in play. The InfoComm show as it is right now brings three primary segments of people in our community – the technology innovators in the form of exhibitors, then we got the AV and IT channel and the end-users, and that is the entire ecosystem that we address. The technology innovators of the next-gen set - AI, IoT, 5G Wireless, XR Reality and Robotics - they’re not present in our space, and we have little or no understanding of what is the supply chain. How does an AI innovator supply to the banking industry or the transportation industry, which are going to be hugely impacted by all these technologies? But are we as an industry thinking about the future? When the mentioned technologies merge with our industry, are we ready? So NIXT! was started because of that realisation that the ecosystem of our show needs to expand to include that extended community of players - the technology innovators in those six technology sets that are not really in our show and the supply chain players that act as bridges between these technology innovators and the critical vertical markets that they serve. We want to target these technology innovators and the supply chain players that we do not have within our InfoComm shows to come and be part of our community. So when we decided to do that, there were two basic options laid before us.
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