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Communications Coming Full Circle | @ThingsExpo #AI #IoT #M2M #Sensors

Are we moving back into a voice-first world?

Communications Coming Full Circle

With the wave of personal assistants, such as Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant, and new startups leveraging AI and analytics to build personal companions, it's becoming clear we are moving toward a new voice-controlled relationship with technology. As we have already seen in the consumer market, it is all but a given that these voice-activation systems will eventually make it into the enterprise environment, as the potential benefits of these systems could be tremendous in simplifying and automating activities. Although it may be a long time before we see the full likenesses of "HAL" from "2001: A Space Odyssey", the technology is already here that can improve the ways businesses operate.

Lights, camera, action!
Think how much easier it would be for a physician to just say "System: update Mary Smith's chart with the following: "Patient experiencing abdominal pain, issue pharmacy order for 200MG of ‘SuperAntiGas', signed Dr. FeelBetter." Or in a conference room, instead of the struggle to figure out which remote control puts on the projector and the screen, a simple voice request "System: turn on projector, turn on TV and dim lights."

The challenges
So, where are we on the road to voice-first? Voice analytics firm, VoiceLabs, has provided a view on the various layers needed to support a voice-first approach in the consumer world. However, to move from the simple consumer-based use cases to providing a more voice-first environment in the enterprise world, a few things will need to happen.

Security will be critical if we are to start having our enterprise systems relying on voice commands - should anyone be able to command critical equipment or systems just by speaking? The answer, clearly, is no. Privacy too is a top concern, and while the physician example above seems simple enough, we need to think about this in context of regulations. Are a patient's rights - as per HIPAA regulations in the U.S. - violated if these verbal commands expose the patient's medical information to third parties?

Secure access
We are already seeing the next step of voice recognition systems where the technology is able to support secure access.

Banks are among those introducing voice authentication to their telephone banking systems. While this may leave some customers a little concerned over the security of their account, my feeling is that it will follow the adoption cycle we saw in e-Commerce where the initial concerns for credit card fraud needed to be overcome before we saw the meteoric rise in online purchasing.

We will continue to see innovation in voice recognition systems and improvements that will enable voice system security to be viable in an enterprise environment and ensure that only authorized users with the right privileges can perform the associated actions.

Whereas your microwave might not be spying on you, some devices will be always-on, always listening and potentially recording. A few well-publicized cases of privacy invasion, commercial espionage or legal jeopardy could stall adoption. This suggests that a big On/Off switch or function needs to be included in voice-first products so that users may get the benefits without risking the downsides of constant monitoring. A reliably secure software access would also need to be in place in the products to prevent and detect hacking efforts.

Building even more effective voice recognition systems
The first use cases are primarily around voice response systems - whether from a call center perspective or those implemented in our cars and smartphones. But as many of us know from firsthand experience, this works marginally at best. Recognition and contextualization need to be refined through technological developments before we can realistically think about enterprise-wide adoption.

Research programs such as Carnegie-Mellon University's Sphinx project continue to enhance language recognition capabilities. An Internet Trends report by Mary Meeker indicated that in 2016, Google's voice recognition system could recognize over five million words with around 90 percent accuracy - but that's still not extensive or accurate enough. Is 90 percent accuracy good enough to interact with a life support system in a hospital or a utility provider's network?

It's not just about recognition of the words either, it is about what to do with the words. Here is where cognitive engines and AI come into play. Some of the biggest players in the industry - for example Microsoft, with its open source cognitive recognition engine - can be leveraged to understand the context of the words. "How do I get to Penn Station?" may sound simple enough, but it needs to be put into context. Location awareness could indicate you likely mean Penn Station in NYC and assumptions about transportation mode. If you were sitting at Columbus Circle in NYC, the answer could be, "Take the A or C subway line to the 34st St. Penn Station stop," but here we assumed it was Penn Station New York and not Penn Station Newark or Philadelphia.

The search for a deeper meaning
The real challenge comes in what is behind the voice recognition systems - both from the integration of the IoT devices to the system, and ensuring the commands requested make sense. Here, we need to further leverage those cognitive engines as a check and validation system. Think of someone accidentally giving a command to "Turn off cooling system to reactor 4" instead of reactor 3, which has already been shut down, or a doctor using the system to prescribe a harmful dose of medication because he accidently said 400 grams instead of 400 milligrams. These might be extreme examples, but there will need to be a holistic view of the actions that are being automated to prevent human error and bring in broader intelligence to understand the actions related to voice-controlled requests. For example, maybe "Turn off cooling system to reactor 4" was correct, but the system would then need to understand the set of operational procedures to implement those actions.

Creating an API platform for true voice integrated solutions
An interesting element that could tie in strategically with the development of true voice-controlled enterprise environments comes from the innovations occurring in the traditional voice communication world. We are seeing the explosion of CPaaS (Communication Platform as-a-Service) in the enterprise, leveraging APIs to transform today's applications into voice-integrated solutions. Some of the major voice communication vendors are now entering this market, providing CPaaS infrastructures with a standardized set of APIs to enable companies to integrate communications into their business processes.

While we traditionally look at integration as things like incorporating voice and video services into existing applications - think of a banking application that allows you to move from an online application to a voice call with your banking advisor - I believe these will play a big part in that "voice-first" environment by leveraging the rich API infrastructure of CPaaS to communicate to applications and things.

Behind the communications infrastructure requirements, just how CPaaS or other platforms communicate with devices really needs to be standardized before we will see rapid development of voice technology. Each of today's consumer-based voice-controlled systems have their own interfaces, own API integrations and, as with the historic "Beta vs. VHS" battle from decades ago, may lead to product obsolescence. Just as a consumer doesn't want to invest in the latest "smart coffee maker" only to find that the platform that controls it was just discontinued, an enterprise wants to ensure that investments they make into new technologies won't be obsolete before they are able to realize a return.

The best is yet to come
The good news is there are a set of technologies in the works to help minimize potential obsolescence. Frameworks like IoTivity are being developed to build a standardized platform. We are already seeing the value, benefits and rapid expansion of new voice applications for consumers. In the near term, we will see some of the basic use cases move into the enterprise. Longer term, as advances continue to be made in voice recognition, voice security and simplification/standardization in device connectivity, we will see more and more voice-first activities in both the consumer and enterprise world to help reduce complexity and improve our productivity.

Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Track 1. Enterprise Cloud | Cloud-Native
Track 2.
Big Data | Analytics
Track 3. Internet of Things | IIoT | Smart Cities

Track 4. DevOps | Digital Transformation (DX)

Track 5. APIs | Cloud Security | Mobility

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AI | ML | DL | Cognitive
Track 7.
Containers | Microservices | Serverless
Track 8. FinTech | InsurTech | Token Economy

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
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Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers.  

Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and services, forming multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures and deployments across all major industries. Cloud-driven thinking has become the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, and the public sector.

Cloud Expo is the single show where technology buyers and vendors can meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. Sponsors of Cloud Expo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

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The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Full Conference Registration Gold Pass and Exhibit Hall ▸ Here

Register For @CloudExpo ▸ Here via EventBrite

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Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsors of Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

Secrets of Sponsors and Exhibitors ▸ Here
Secrets of Cloud Expo Speakers ▸ Here

All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.

With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-4, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

Delegates to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will be able to attend 8 simultaneous, information-packed education tracks.

There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content.

Join Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, for three days of intense Enterprise Cloud and 'Digital Transformation' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indispensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and (IIoT) Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) Digital Transformation in Vertical Markets.

Financial Technology - or FinTech - Is Now Part of the @CloudExpo Program!

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 21st Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech, which will incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and blockchain into one track.

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@CloudExpo is accepting submissions for this new track, so please visit www.CloudComputingExpo.com for the latest information.

Speaking Opportunities

The upcoming 21st International @CloudExpo@ThingsExpo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY announces that its Call For Papers for speaking opportunities is open.

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About SYS-CON Media & Events
SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

Cloud Expo®, Big Data Expo® and @ThingsExpo® are registered trademarks of Cloud Expo, Inc., a SYS-CON Events company.

More Stories By Jack Jachner

Dr. Jack Jachner is Vice-President Cloud, North America Region, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. He is focused on accelerating the shift to the cloud with new subscription-based models for the voice and networking portfolio in the North America region.

Prior to this appointment, he championed business development in the region for ALE OpenTouch Communications solutions for MLE and SMB markets. With 18 years of experience at ALE, he has held leadership positions in product development, in operations, in the research labs and in the CTO, and recently in regional business development. He holds several dozen patents in the field of unified communications, and represents ALE thought leadership as a speaker at industry events.

Jack received his Doctorate of Science in Engineering from MIT in Digital Signal Processing, a Master of Science in Engineering from MIT in Data Networking, and is a graduate in Electrical Engineering from McGill University in Montreal.

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