World Wide Technology (WWT) and Intel have a message for every success-minded business organization: tomorrow’s most valuable commodity won’t be hard cash, precious metals, real estate or cryptocurrency. It will be data. But that data will only have value if it can be properly mined, filtered and leveraged through advanced analytics for actionable insights. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the driving force that’s making it happen – and data will be the fuel that ignites the AI engine.
That’s just one of the perspectives shared at Prepare.ai 2019, the Midwest’s premier forum to explore, understand and advance artificial intelligence, held right here in St. Louis on April 9. AI experts from WWT and Intel were among the 50-plus speakers featured at the event, which included data scientists, enterprise CIOs, investment analysts and technology providers.
Artificial intelligence is opening up exciting new opportunities across industries, enabled by unprecedented computing power, advanced analytics and rapidly accelerating technologies. WWT helps clients architect AI solutions using these new technologies and proven standards. By participating in industry events such as Prepare.ai, we develop the relationships and resources to successfully adapt them for our customers’ goals.
We shared insights and strategies from our respective companies’ AI journey, including compelling new use cases that illustrate what we believe to be the path that AI will take in the coming years – and our plans for guiding that path along with our ecosystem partners. Below are just a few highlights from our contribution to Prepare.ai.
Speeding race car image capture with AI to assist pit crews
A principal use of AI involves image classification, the ability to detect objects and subtle distinctions rapidly from among countless images. It’s finding widespread applications in everything from medical diagnostics to facial recognition – and now, automotive racing competition. I presented a classic AI case study in object detection involving WWT’s work with Richard Petty Motorsport’s (RPM) racing team using image classification technology.
In a race environment at nearly 200 mph, it’s difficult for crews to actually see their car’s condition unless it appears on TV or pulls in for a pit stop. Hi-res photos are taken of the race action and uploaded to a network-attached storage account – but sorting through the images for the right car is a time-consuming task for race crews pressed for time. The RPM team turned to WWT and the Advanced Technology Center to build, train and validate a classic object detection model to recognize the team’s car from a field of other vehicles. The model quickly sifts through scores of photographs to isolate the appropriate images, giving race crews the flexibility to make quick strategy adjustments, as well as more time to attend to other tasks.
WWT is now working with RPM team on a creative solution for viewing playback onsite at the track, where crews have limited bandwidth and no data center or cloud resources to draw on.
AI as a driving force of digital transformation
Another AI luminary that addressed the conference was Melvin Greer, Intel’s Chief Data Scientist and architect of its data science platform. Mr. Greeris also a professor in the Data Science program at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Adjunct Faculty, Advanced Academic Program at Johns Hopkins University, where he teaches Practical Applications of Artificial Intelligence.
In his session, Mr. Greer detailed how AI is driving digital transformation in countless new ways, touching virtually every industry, from healthcare to sports and entertainment, financial services, autonomous transportation, and defense technology. In the very near future, he foresees every business in the world will either buy or sell data, as this corporate asset steadily gains value. But, it’s not enough to simply havevast amounts of data – organizations need to understand it and use it. Transforming data into business value is difficult and requires resources and expertise. In response, organizations need to evolve to address the changing business landscape. And yet, they face critical barriers to achieving digital transformation: lack of visionary skills, choosing to focus on day-to-day business management and the speed of technological change, to name a few.
Mr. Greer described how Intel builds AI systems that can access and analyze large datasets, enabling businesses to use the explosion of data as fuel for powering digital transformation. He explained how artificial intelligence and machine learning help transform data effectively and deliver experiences no one has ever seen or imagined.
Start your own AI preparations
Both WWT and Intel have made a tremendous commitment to the future of AI. WWT has invested a significant stake in AI through its Advanced Technology Center. Intel’s AI play is equally serious: In 2017 the company announced it invested $1 billion in the AI ecosystem to fuel adoption and innovation.
On April 2 Intel launched a portfolio of data-centric solutions that includes two new products designed with the compute-intensive workloads of AI in mind: the 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, and Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory. The new processor features Intel® Deep Learning Boost with Vector Neural Network Instructions (VNNI), optimized to accelerate AI inference workloads such as image recognition, object detection and image segmentation. Intel also introduced its next-generation 10nm FPGAs, built to advance powerful new applications in edge computing, networking and data centers. These technologies and more are readily available for viewing right now in our ATC.
It was beneficial for us to engage with other AI thought leaders and learn how others are advancing artificial intelligence. We hope you’ll reach out as well to engage with the leading minds in AI, and generally build the knowledge you’ll need in the emerging world of artificial intelligence. Because in the end, it all comes back to finding the practical applications for AI that we can leverage to benefit your business.