Voice + AI = The new frontier in user interaction?

For a lot of time, voice has been the go to medium for enabling digital assistants to work for us. Right from the basic Google voice powered searches that caused quite a stir some years back, to devices that are always listening for a keyword to deliver to your commands – voice enabled user interaction has definitely come a long way. Which brings about an important question: Given that Artificial Intelligence and Context are evolving at gargantuan rates, what will be the next big things in voice enabled user interaction? Add to the table the heavy investments that Google and Apple are making in this area, and we’ve got ourselves a booming space for connected devices.

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Huawei Ultra-Broadband: The infrastructure for Cloud VR, Smart Homes and 4K HDR

Along with 5G networks being tested for mass scale deployment, there have been some major breakthroughs in fixed line internet networks through fiber optics and microwaves. This evolution of broadband networks has been lead by the need of applications of different vertical industries rather than simply focusing on increasing bandwidth for consumers. Low latency and high bandwidth is going to be the backbone infrastructure for cloud VR, smart homes and higher TV resolutions. As we saw at UBB Forum 2017, in developed countries carriers are focussing on getting higher bandwidth for applications like 4K HDR video streaming. On the other hand, developing countries are looking to grow the reach of their broadband systems to remote areas so everyone can have access to internet connectivity.

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What is a smartphone AI processor?

Artificial Intelligence processors seem to be the biggest mobile breakthrough in 2017. Especially, in flagship phones starting with Huawei’s Kirin 970 AI processor announcement, which will be seen in the Huawei Mate 10 (launching next week). Apple also added in an Neural engine in their new A11 Bionic chip which ships with their new iPhone lineup. So how is the AI processor different from what most of us have in our smartphones? Putting it simply, AI processors have an additional inbuilt Neural Processing Unit (NPU) that is capable of lots of parallel processing, uses low power and is capable of cognitive tasks like prediction & classification. More like how the human brain works.

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AI: The magical wearable experience

Google announced two new wearables today. Pixel Buds & Google Clips were announced at Google’s Pixel 2 launch event. With voice becoming an important platform for users to interact with their digital world, these wireless ear buds make perfect sense. But more than an added convenience, Pixel Buds actually have an essential use case. Real-time language translation.

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The Future of the Smartphone Market

Saying that the smartphone landscape is evolving, would be like saying water is wet. With the advent and growing popularity of Chinese players, and the involvement of bigger OEMs to up their ante and innovate more, we’re looking at smartphone launches at unprecedented rates – both in terms of frequency of launches, as well as number of products launched in a single event.

But let’s take a pause, step back, and look at the bigger picture. A rise in the number of launches would have a significant impact on the supply-demand ratio for an OEM, and this would in turn lead to changes in the smartphone upgrade cycles as far as consumers are concerned. And that shall be the crux of this article: I look at the market as a whole, what the trends point towards, and what the effects might be on supply-demand, as well as the other constraints.

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The Future of Heart Rate Tracking with AI

Reinventing the wheel isn’t always easy. The sentiment applies more so in the space of sensor tech, wherein the only advancements that can be made are more often in the efficiency of measurement, footprint reduction and more sensitive recording parameters.

But then, there’s also the concept of reinventing the applications of the wheel. And that’s what advancements in sensor technology are all about. Heart rate sensors have moved on from their avatar of simply measuring heart rate, to more advanced applications such as pointing out exactly when and why there was a spike in the heart rate.

All this being said, what’s new in the world of heart rate sensors? And is Apple making some headway in this regard?

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mHealth: Can smartphone front-facing cameras go beyond selfies?

This week, we saw the new iPhone X’s TrueDepth front-facing camera, being used for face authentication. It uses a dot projector that projects over 30,000 invisible dots to map your face structure. Front-facing cameras started showing up in smartphones back in 2003. Selfies being the biggest use case of these front facing cameras. Snapchat (Now so do Facebook & Instagram) thrives on their user’s front-facing cameras with hundred of fun filters. Using computer vision, they map the user’s face. Apple also showcased the improved AR face filter experience with Snapchat on the iPhone X. Beyond selfies and face filters, what else can front-facing cameras do? Can we use them to detect a person’s mood or state of mental health? Can it be used as a mobile healthcare diagnostic tool?

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The Apple Watch faces new competition from Fitbit & Samsung

We are less a week away from the launch of the new Apple Watch 3, on September 12th. Fitbit recently announced the Ionic smartwatch and Samsung moving into the fitness niche released the Gear Sport, Gear Fit 2 Pro, and Gear Icon X. With lots of new competition, on the other hand with a promising watchOS 4 update will the new Apple Watch be able to disrupt this market?

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