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The 10 Biggest Takeaways From CES 2020

From 5G, to robotics and AI, to next-gen smart devices, here's what grabbed CRN's attention this week at the massive Las Vegas tech show.

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Edge AI Is Starting To Blow Up

With the rise of applications like computer vision, there is an increasing need to process artificial intelligence workloads at the edge – and that demand was on full display at CES 2020.

In addition to the nearly endless exhibits of smart cameras, robots and other gadgets that perform on-device AI processing, the edge AI chip companies enabling those capabilities were also showing off their wares. According to Deloitte research, more than 750 edge AI chips are expected to be sold this year, and that number is expected to double to 1.5 billion by 2024, representing a major market opportunity for these chip providers.

“A lot of what we're seeing is artificial intelligence being used for things that are going to allow [devices] to act autonomously or semi-autonomously and/or to do well known use cases like natural language processing,” Jeff Loucks, executive director of Deloitte's Center for Technology, Media, & Telecommunications, told CRN.

The edge AI chip companies at CES included Kneron, a San Diego, Calif.-based startup that has developed a neural processing unit (pictured) that it claims provides a cost-effective balance between power usage, performance and form factor for AI inference applications ranging from facial recognition to conversational AI.

There was also Blaize, an El Dorado Hills, Calif.-based startup that has developed the Graph Streaming Processor, which the company claims is more efficient and effective than competing chips.

Shawn Holiday, senior director of customer success at Blaize, told CRN that as the amount of data processed at the edge increases, there’s a greater need to reduce costs associated with bandwidth and sending data to cloud servers. There’s also an increasing need to reduce latency and improve response time as a result.

All of these factors are reasons why AI chips like Blaize’s are in demand, according to Holiday.

“Some of this may change with 5G, of course, but the market today is, let’s push these decisions as close to the device as possible,” he said.

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