With challenge and innovation alike, Santa Clara remains the home of cutting-edge technology.
The 2018 Internet of Things (IoT) Tech Expo for North America, hosted at the Santa Clara Convention Center from Nov. 28 to 29, highlighted emerging trends in the industry, such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cyber security and cloud. Nearly 300 companies featured booths with live demonstrations and presentations on emerging technologies. International and local businesses were invited to participate.
The IoT Tech Expo hosts several events a year in cities at the heart of technological innovation, such as London and Amsterdam. Santa Clara has hosted the event for the fourth year in North America.
The primary sponsor of this year’s event was Avaya, a telecommunications company headquartered in Santa Clara. Val Matula, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Emerging Products and Technology in Avaya, presented at a panel about AI and deep learning.
“Avaya does a lot of work in the nearby community,” Matula said. “We try to support local initiatives.”
Avaya also showed demonstrations of AI chat bots.
“We’re expanding in many areas,” said Atsushi Hirano, product manager of innovation. “Our bots use machine learning to communicate for a better user experience.”
Intel presented their hardware in conjunction with SAS, based in North Carolina, a company that builds analytics software.
Intel’s Artificial Intelligence Products Group (AIPG) has been ramping up their presence in the AI field with recent acquisitions of companies focusing on deep learning, neural networks and data.
Other companies have made similar local changes.
Fyber, a Missouri based company, uses machine learning to implement solutions on a large scale.
In 2011, they worked with the City of San Francisco to embed thousands of sensors using IoT networks to solve parking problems. The sensors were found to have 86 percent reliability.
Increased demand for emerging technologies has prompted several universities to create specific programs for students.
The University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC)’s Silicon Valley Extension in Santa Clara partnered with the Blockchain Academy to present a series of programs on blockchain in 2019 — blockchain is an encryption tool. The online and in-person programs provide practical hands-on training on how to use blockchain technology in the workforce. It will focus on cryptocurrency, distributed data and digital identity.
“We’re currently working on an AI certificate,” said Mayen Udoetuk, Program Director of Engineering and Technology at UCSC.
Such programs are gaining traction around the country.
Northeastern University’s Silicon Valley campus in San Jose offers degrees in computer science, analytics and information systems. They come with a specialization in blockchain.
The need for education was highlighted in expo demonstrations, along with social good. From security to health care, companies emphasized altruism.
Arm, a UK-based company specializing in intelligent devices, displayed examples of smart cities that would run on cloud and IoT networks.
Vitae Token, a cryptocurrency using blockchain, plans to use a social website to distribute wealth.
“Our mission is to eradicate poverty and corruption using social media,” said Maria Tomaino, Director of Communications for Vitae. “We’re concentrating on third world countries.”
There are dangers to cryptocurrency. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said they have seen cases involving digital currency.
“Many coin offerings have been identified as frauds,” the CFTC reports. “If fraud occurs, you may not be able to get your money back.”