Tyler Suiters

Hey, everybody. We're the Consumer Technology Association. I'm Tyler Suiters. We are the owners and producers of CES, the largest, the most influential tech event on the planet. We are here to help you get CES ready. The dates, January 7-10, 2020, as always in Las Vegas. And today we are taking on a relatively new area of CES we're talking about resilience. This is disaster preparedness and response tech. These are innovations that help keep the world healthy, safe, warm, powered, fed and secure, everything you need in the face of disaster, preparing for disaster or recovering once the worst does strike. We're talking about the support and strengthening of the resilience regarding critical infrastructure today, how to bounce back operationally during a crisis as well.

Tyler Suiters

So two major companies to talk with today. First we're speaking with the CTO of IBM's Code and Response Program, neat program we're going to talk about, and 2019's focus, no coincidence here, disaster preparation and recovery.

Tyler Suiters

Also, we are hearing from the Vice President of Engineering from Panasonic Automotive and, as you can imagine, vehicles play a key role in the area of resilience and Panasonic is well versed in the areas of smart cities, vehicle technology and what the company calls friction-free connectivity. That's all coming up on this edition of CES Tech Talk.

Tyler Suiters

With us today is Daniel Krook. He is the CTO of IBM's Code and Response Program. Daniel, great to have you with us and a really exciting program.

Daniel Krook

Oh, thank you for having me.

Tyler Suiters

Absolutely. Let's talk about the impetus of this. What really started the Code and Response Program? IBM is so involved in so many areas in the tech sector right now. Why this effort and how does it drive toward the future for this company overall?

Daniel Krook

Sure. Yeah. So we announced the IBM Code and Response initiative earlier in 2019, and it was a natural extension of a multiyear program that we launched last year called Call for Code. Now, Call for Code is a multiyear competition, it runs over a couple of months, that asks developers, the world's 23 million developers, to look at some large humanitarian problems and address that with potential technology solutions. So what we tried to do that was different with Call for Code as a competition was go beyond that idea of technology for good, technology for good hackathons where there's no clear end target, or goal, or framework for those solutions to get in the areas where they're needed most. So that's why we created IBM Code and Response. It's the framework that takes the innovation that comes out of competitions like Call for Code and it puts them in the areas where those solutions can actually make a difference.

Tyler Suiters

So let's back up a little bit, Daniel, and focus on Call for Code to begin with, because there's a very obvious intersection between the program's goals and technology's roles and delivering resilient solutions as well as front-end management. And I'm talking about last year's winner, a group called Project Owl, and it had to do with hardware and software solutions to address the chronic communications issues in Puerto Rico, post-hurricane. That's an obvious convergence of technology and resilience. What else do you see as a means of bringing tech-enabled aid to areas that are really in need?

Daniel Krook

Right, good question. So last year's team, Project Owl as you mentioned, they addressed a really important need that we kept hearing from IBM Code and Response Partners, such as the United Nations, American Red Cross and many other experts who came and provided their expertise, in what the real issues are in the realm of natural disaster preparedness and response. So Project Owl, what they learned from, while they were developing this application, was that communication is the most important thing to get reestablished quickly after a natural disaster. So they came up with a solution, a hardware and software one, to create a temporary quickly established network so the basic needs can be captured over the network. Getting from 0% to just 1% connectivity makes a huge difference. So that's the way they approached the problem last year.

Daniel Krook

But what we do want to see in Call for Code submissions that we can take forward through the Code and Response program are things that don't just look at the post-disaster opportunities, because in many cases responding to a disaster, that means that procedures, or a technology, or other factors that come into play, which have made that a greater impact on the community. So instead of responding to disasters, we want to help people prepare for them.

Tyler Suiters

Yeah. An excellent point about about the front half, if you will, of resilience as a sector and technology's role in that, that preparation, that avoidance, that mitigation of what may strike. So going down that road, Daniel, what are the applications for technology, maybe the sectors is the right way to put it, that have you really excited about the resilience potential? Is it drones to reach disaster areas and deliver critical items in need in preparation or afterward? Is it robotics to go places where humans can't, or won't, or it isn't safe for us to be? Maybe it's something much more broad, like 5G as a platform to enable all these innovations in data point communications. What is it that really has your attention right now?

Daniel Krook

Right. You mentioned now some great technology that'll help us prepare as well as respond, and one of the cooler ones that we just had actually a podcast ourselves with last week was an amateur ham radio for helping reestablish networks. And that was really cool because you could see how a consumer-grade device could come together, you could join a community, you could create something that's developed with software and hardware to provide communications, again, over ham radio and that was really cool. And drones of course are very popular, it's great to see what can be done with them in terms of scanning areas ahead of time for risk, looking at combustible vegetation for example and looking at the color of that. Is it healthy? Is it dry? Really cool ways to predict where there might be a wildfire risk, for example.

Daniel Krook

Yeah. And you mentioned a 5G infrastructure, any sort of mobile technology, the increasing speed of what's out there, the increase in power that's on handheld devices now to help make decisions, to help process information, to do visual recognition, all of that stuff is being combined in amazing ways right now. And we have not only the hardware that's growing, and it's very exciting to see at CES, but also the backing services to make sense of that data, to share it and to transform it. So there's definitely lots of cool technology out of there, and I can't even keep up. It's just moving so fast.

Tyler Suiters

Well, you had to focus this in some way, really narrow down the idea of what this project would be, at least for 2019. So as you mentioned, disaster preparation, disaster recovery, but you're focusing very much on health and wellness, so focusing on the population itself. How did you get to that selection, and why the emphasis on that for 2019?

Daniel Krook

Yeah. So last year's scope was just natural disasters, and we added that emphasis in 2019. So how do you help make people and communities more resilient, healthier in response to natural statures? And that stems from some of IBM's work in corporate citizenship and how we react with communities where not only our customers live, but where our own employees live and help them be more resilient to natural disasters, which can't be avoided completely, but if we have the tools to get people healthy, they're then able to get back to their jobs, connect with their families, and take part in the day-to-day activities that help the economy grow. And IBM benefits in that, and users benefit from that, and our employees benefit from that.

Daniel Krook

So we wanted to focus on seeing if there's any sort of solutions that can look at, for example, food and water safety, supply distribution, such as getting insulin to pharmacies in time if there's low supplies. How you can avoid the risks that come with how disease epidemics are spread, how information remains available when networks go down, and how you deal with the mental health of people suffering from an actual disaster. That's all part of that story. And of course, vulnerable populations. Are there people who are not healthy now that are being overlooked when disaster response visits an area or access is provided to get people out of the way of danger.

Daniel Krook

So it's definitely ... Yeah, it's a huge area and it all comes down to people, right? So you want to make sure that the people are the ones that are affected by natural disasters, doing what you can to keep them protected. That's our core focus.

Tyler Suiters

Right. I'm sure another factor, in response especially, has to do with speed, right? The nimble responses that technology can enable and deliver. IBM is so visible nationally on a consumer front, on AI, on artificial intelligence. What is your take, Daniel, on AI's role in resilience going forward?

Daniel Krook

Ah, yes. So it's broad areas. There's lots of different topics within it. There's visual recognition, so assessing damage as I mentioned earlier. Also looking at the risk of crops to being combustible, to even entering insurance claims by taking pictures of a damaged home or vehicle. So artificial intelligence can be used in visual recognition, you can use it for real-time communication, so transforming speech to text and vice versa, translating that on the fly. All that's very important. And then looking at machine learning, so actually looking at the data that's out there, making sense of it, and helping people make better decisions quicker.

Tyler Suiters

So looking ahead now, the pace of innovation is lightening fast and, well you pick a category, but resilience too in that it's relatively new and it is so broad as you point out, a lot can go into it, what do you see when you look, say, five years in the future for, not just the feel of it, really for IBM's Code and Response Program and where you want to be?

Daniel Krook

Both Call for Code and Code and Response are those multiyear programs, and the division that I see is that we are helping people understand that technology is making a huge impact for better or for worse on so many parts of our society. And what I would like to see is the role of the person that can create technology, that can harness it, they can take those skills, apply them to the world's largest problems and that we inspire the next generation, or people who don't traditionally look at programming as a career model, and to see what developers can do so that they have this power that we rely on every day on our mobile devices, even our alarm clocks that wake us up in the morning, everything that's out there. Anything you can possibly imagine in the hardware or software sector.

Daniel Krook

We know that this is a growing set of tools and technologies that people can leverage, so I want to see those 23 million current developers go far beyond that, larger and larger groups of people with the power of technology and being able to use that not only for natural disaster preparedness but also improve their lives.

Daniel Krook

So in terms of the Code and Response program itself, what I would love to see is ... We nurture the winners that come out of Call for Code, we give them the tools to have them succeed, but I would love to see a lot of self-served developers create these ideas and help spread the ideas of what their technology can do beyond even what we can do with just Code and Response. So a developer can create something, share it with the world and have it adopted where it's needed most quickly.

Tyler Suiters

OK. So on that topic, and this is a great segue from where you just left us, Daniel. Look ahead on a much shorter term, let's say four or five months. CES 2020 will be your first trip to CES, for Code and Response scope, for the idea of resilience in general, it's broad, it's a wide lane. So what is your strategy going into CES in terms of making the connections that you need to make, business-wise, but also getting a glimpse of the future and the technologies that can really make a difference in the area you're focusing on?

Daniel Krook

Yeah, so there's a whole bunch of new technology and protocols and information that I've learned about when looking at what CES produces and what actually exists out in the world today. And what I would love to get out of my first visit to CES is understanding more and more about what technology that developers can build on today instead of recreating from scratch. So hopefully what we see at CES, hopefully the connections that are made between developers and people producing products and services, can help them realize that they don't necessarily have to recreate something that already exists, but they can leverage these tools, they can leverage these projects, put them together in new ways and build a solution around them and a sustainable business model on top of that as well. That's really what I'd like to see.

Tyler Suiters

Daniel Krook is the CTO of IBM's Code and Response Program. And, Daniel, I really hope we can get you on again next year and let you reflect on what you expected for your first trip to CES and what was actually delivered. You can use the term "whoa" as often as you want.

Daniel Krook

Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. And we'll have a new crop of winners from the Call for Code 2019 competition, so hopefully they'll join us there or at least be inspired to improve what they've built this year based on what they see there.

Tyler Suiters

Great. Daniel Krook, thanks so much.

Tyler Suiters

Joining us now is Mark Thornton. He is Vice President of engineering for Panasonic Automotive. Mark, thanks for taking time with us today.

Mark Thornton

Thank you, Tyler. It's a pleasure being here. I'm looking forward to an interesting conversation.

Tyler Suiters

Well, you're providing the interesting content so the heavy lift is on you entirely. But a lot comes with the name Panasonic and wearing that mantle, Mark. Your company's known for the sustainability story on a global scale, certainly. Let's start with some of the work that Panasonic is doing in the smart cities in Japan, both where it is now in terms of status and in the short- to midterm future there.

Mark Thornton

Sure. Happy to talk about that. So our sustainable smart towns in Japan are mainly on the outskirts of Tokyo, two suburbs called Fujisawa and Tsunashima. Fujisawa was the first town that we developed in about 2014, and it's really based on three main components lifestyle, spaces and smart infrastructure. And the smart infrastructure is a piece that I think that we should come back to later in the conversation, but I want to stick with those three things just for now.

Mark Thornton

So the lifestyle piece is all about live, work, play. We've heard that moniker a lot in the press in the U.S., and there's communities in the U.S. But these sustainable cities take that to a different level, so they already have dedicated spaces in them for hydrogen regeneration and solar regeneration to help power these cities. And part of the Panasonic story there is that we looked at what we need to do for our business recovery process in case of any sort of natural disaster and we applied that to these safe spaces for humans. And we have this great human-centric approach for Panasonic that drives all of our delivery, and technology, and innovation cycle. And that human-centric approach said, what do we need to do to make this space, these cities safer, better for people to live in. A better life, a better world, a safer world? So building off of that, we made sure that there were spaces there already for car-sharing services, which will eventually lead to autonomous cars in Japan, but also the smart infrastructure that's needed to control and drive those sorts of towns and cities.

Tyler Suiters

So to what extent then, Mark, do you put yourself in the mode of someone who is in a situation where resilience is key? In other words, how often do you imagine yourself as a tech test subject and saying, "OK, what is human-centric to me? What does it mean to me to be put first in a situation like this?"

Mark Thornton

Oh, absolutely. So part of my background, I came from the defense industry where the mission and the end user is key, and that's part of my passion for technology is knowing who the end user is, and what the mission is, and what they're trying to achieve. So when we look at human-centered design, Panasonic's ethos around that, whether it be the smart cities in Japan or the drivers in the car for Panasonic Automotive, the company that I work for, it's what's that mission? What are they trying to achieve and how do we make that as seamless, and as safe, and as sustainable as possible?

Tyler Suiters

So you touched on the energy resources, right? The power gen in the case of a disaster, and you mentioned solar and hydrogen of course. What else is at the forefront in your mind in terms of something that is lacking, that is a critical need after a disaster, or a consideration for greater resilience?

Mark Thornton

Oh, part of that would be the security, right? So in terms of the smart towns, they are really built on infrastructure, security and human security, so in the towns there are lots of sensors looking at using algorithms to use heat mapping to preserve people's privacy, but we know where the humans are. So we have very sophisticated heat mapping technology that we can say, OK, there's people in this building, we need to make sure that the response services can get to them very quickly. So really that's part of that, so security.

Mark Thornton

And then as soon as you mention security these days, we always segue into cybersecurity and the protection of data. And so what we're doing there and how we focus on that. And I think there's a balance there in the technology. There's a balance between the privacy and the protection of civil liberties and life.

Tyler Suiters

So that's a snapshot of what's going on in Japan right now. What is Panasonic doing to bring that same sustainability focus into this country, into the U.S? And I'm thinking specifically of Panasonic Automotive and the transportation sector.

Mark Thornton

Sure. So earlier I mentioned you have a lifestyle, the spaces, and the smart infrastructure. Automotive technology, we're really taking to the next level in automotive transportation that smart infrastructure, and Panasonic has two very large programs going on in smart towns now in the U.S., One in Denver with a smart city project there and one in Utah with the Department of Transport. And let's talk about the Denver item first.

Mark Thornton

So in Denver, Panasonic, as a company, is looking not only automotive, but being a whole company, is looking at instrumenting approximately 90 miles of the highway there, as well as instrumenting lots of the city streets. And what that's doing is looking at traffic management systems in real time. So without getting too much into the technicality, there are two technologies looking for vehicle-to-infrastructure communications. One of those would be DSRC, digital short range radio communications. The other one was Cellular V2X. And for the U.S., we've definitely gone down the Cellular V2X world. So with these connected vehicles, and there's a large fleet of them now in Denver, we've also got our eBike program running in Denver. So we're going to have very soon connected bicycles and we'll be able to manage traffic, see accidents in real time using this connected technology, and it's going to be a game changer and a lifesaver. Taking it back to that human mission, protecting what matters most, which is people.

Tyler Suiters

Now, I don't want to oversimplify, Mark, but is that stretch of highway where this testing and this data collection and the monitoring is underway, a snapshot of where we'll be in 10, 20 years? I mean, is this essentially a window into what intelligent infrastructure is going to be in the next decade or two?

Mark Thornton

I think it is. I think it's one part of the building block. I wouldn't say that it's the be all and end all, but it's certainly a great learning environment for us to figure out what we can determine, in what timeframe we can determine it, and what we can do with that real-time data access. So I think those are the fundamental building blocks.

Mark Thornton

And 10 years from now, who knows what we'll be able to do with the technology, but that's the exciting piece, right? Is that 10 years ago, we wouldn't have even thought about having the capability to do this amount of data processing, and here we are today with the ability to do it. And so 10 years from now, I think is a very exciting time and timeframe to where we could be.

Tyler Suiters

Yeah. Clever of you not to make any firm predictions as well. That's a true engineer. That's the right approach when you're dealing with with innovation.

Tyler Suiters

Let's back out for a moment, since we're talking about resilience in general. Specifically, what does that mean to you and what does that mean to Panasonic in the automotive space? Because we are very much at a transition right now from this adaptation, and acceptance, and growth of smart vehicle technology that is enhancing and making your driving experience safer until we get to the point where self-driving vehicles are ubiquitous and we are safe wherever we go.

Mark Thornton

It's a great question. So, I think resiliency as a general term, we use that to describe something, like an entity's ability to quickly recover, so within the automotive space, specifically the technologies that my team are working on, this is really about software resiliency. It's about making sure that our systems are safe. And, in this human-centric design, if there is an issue, we can reset ourselves, reboot ourselves, automatically turn that feature back on again in case there is an issue or we can block it from starting if it's unrecoverable. But the whole point would be human-centered design. What's the use case? What's the mission? How do we keep the occupants of the car safe? That's got to be the key thing, because part of that decision-making process is risk awareness, and risk awareness and the risk profile in the vehicle through the safety case really drives our software development processes now through functional safety. A lot of people talk about functional safety, the spec is on its own 26262, but that really drives the process and hence guarantees the outcome hopefully for the software that we're using.

Tyler Suiters

So can you walk us through just a small scenario or even a minor case study, Mark ,of when that would apply? And you could take your pick, is it something that's day-to-day life and simply quotidian details, or is this something that takes place after disaster, after a major power outage or pick your challenge?

Mark Thornton

So I can, we should probably cover a couple of use cases.

Tyler Suiters

You're welcome to. You have multiple choices.

Mark Thornton

So let's go down possibly an easy path, which would be ... I think you saw a demo at our events, CES on the Hill, where Panasonic announced our friction-free technology.

Tyler Suiters

Right. That was here in Washington in May.

Mark Thornton

Correct. Yep. And at that event, we announced this patent-pending technology that enables us to, via cloud service, take away the problems involved with Bluetooth pairing in cars. And there's a lot of data out there that would show that Bluetooth pairing and Bluetooth usage in cars is still troublesome, even though the technology's been around for over a decade now. And so our solution removes those challenges, it provides a high level of security and an interface that people are familiar with so they don't need to know about a Bluetooth profiles and if they're connecting for audio or if they're connecting for phone, or what they should be selecting. They can just use an app on their phone to log in with their username and password, a very familiar interface, and the cloud service in the backend seamlessly links that phone to the vehicle that they're driving.

Mark Thornton

So in terms of resiliency, what that means is as the end user experience, I'm no longer encumbered by technology I don't understand or processes that may fail because I don't understand the pairing process or the difficulty in the pairing steps. It just happens seamlessly in the background. Transparent for me. So that would be one element. That'd be a very simple but great use of resiliency.

Mark Thornton

Another area of resiliency would be in resetting or getting data from our ADAS control. So, for Panasonic, we don't see ourselves playing in the game of being the brains of the autonomous driving car. We see ourselves on the periphery of that brain, providing the sensors for the decision making inside the brain. And then resiliency in those sensors may be backup systems or other items, the software items we would put in there, as watchdogs or telltales to say, hey, there's an issue with the sensor, let's reset it before it's needed. So it would be transparent to the user. So through this human-centric design philosophy of Panasonic is a transparency to this and so you shouldn't have to worry about resiliency as the end user, we should be doing this on your behalf in the background.

Tyler Suiters

So, Mark, when you take a look at vehicle technology and self-driving vehicles at CES, the first thing that comes to mind for me and that I see visually are all the big name automobile manufacturers that are in this space and leading the way. But let's not lose sight of the fact that Panasonic is very much involved in keeping vehicles and keeping drivers safe as well through your work with partner groups, with other companies that are perhaps more traditional automotive manufacturers and companies.

Mark Thornton

Absolutely. And this is part of the most exciting things that we're working on these days. And at CES, we announced our partnership with Harley Davidson and providing connected services to motorcycle riders, keeping them informed of their vehicle presence, providing safety and security functions to them, but also enabling them to get more from their riding and riding experience. So that's just one of the partnerships that we have, but I think some of the other technologies that are exciting that we're working on are advances in our center systems linking back to the question on resiliency, and ADAS, and the functional safety type products, but also inside the cockpit. This is where Panasonic automotive really shines, from our audio systems to our infotainment systems, and working with nontraditional customers, looking at how we can best create innovative solutions for domain controllers. We are seeing this integration of the cluster and the infotainment system, and even heads-up displays into one central control box, and that's a key strength for Panasonic automotive. We shine in all three of those areas, we have great expertise in those areas, and that's really somewhere we can add value for our customers.

Tyler Suiters

Well, for anyone who has seen the footprint of vehicle technology grow during their visits at CES, Panasonic is a bit of a parallel here, Mark, in that automotive technology is a growing priority for you at Panasonic and a growing opportunity in the marketplace as well, clearly.

Mark Thornton

It is, it's a growing area, but Panasonic Automotive is growing at the same time. But I think we can attribute the key of our growth to two of the principles our founder sent out a hundred years ago, and that's contributing to society. In other words, that's our human-centered design approach, but also it's cooperation and team spirit. And I'd just like to take a few seconds here to recognize the team that I work with on a daily basis because these engineers are some of the best in the world, and we have a great culture here that they've developed over the last five years. We're in the top 13 of 101 best companies in the U.S. to work for, and I couldn't be more proud of the achievements that they're making.

Tyler Suiters

Clearly pride and passion as well for this space from Mark Thornton, who is Vice President of Engineering for Panasonic Automotive. Mark, a great deep dive today in the topic clearly you love. Thanks for taking the time and sharing your expertise with us.

Mark Thornton

Tyler, thank you. I appreciate your time today. For those that are interested, please go to our website at panasonic.com where there are a lot more details on the topics we discussed today. Thank you.

Tyler Suiters

All right, coming up next time on CES Tech Talk, we are tackling a growing topic, a red hot topic at CES, that is digital health. And we are speaking with a major insurance company about their plans for CES 2020. And remember, every company today is or needs to be a tech company. Our conversation with Humana is coming up on our next edition.

Tyler Suiters

Now, we want you to be CES ready year-round, so what you can do is subscribe to the CES Tech Talk podcast and that way you won't miss any episodes as we're getting you geared up for the 2020 show. As for CES 2020, the show dates once again, January 7-10 in Los Vegas. The information you need to get ready is at CES.tech.

Tyler Suiters

Before we go, a big shout out and thank you to the stars who really make this show go, Executive Producer Tina Anthony, and our Senior Studio Engineer John Lindsey. You two are the very best in the business. I'm Tyler Suiters, let's talk tech again soon.

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