Friday, April 27, 2012

Living the Networked Life in New York City

Derek Kuhn
Last week, we demonstrated our latest concept car, built on a Porsche 911 Carrera S, at AT&T’s Living the Networked Life Event in New York City. The car has been on the road since we unveiled it at CES — it even went to Spain for MWC. We ran out of time to ship it to New York, so Mark Rigley, manager of the concept development group at QNX, and I drove it from Ottawa to SoHo. It was my first time driving the Porsche anywhere outside of a ball room, and it turned out to be a great drive.

Mark is super protective of the car, as he’s entitled to be, and he and the team have done a great job putting it together. But wouldn’t you know it? He let me drive and, as I’m pulling off Interstate 81 in Cortland NY, we get rear-ended. No — for real. I pull over, Mark jumps out, and I’m checking the side mirror to open the door safely in traffic but I’m mortified. Turns out that the Porsche’s rear valance is strong like a bull, and we emerge with just a series of scuff marks.

We drove through Binghamton, Scranton, and Poconos to get to the city. Traffic got faster and denser as we entered New Jersey, but Mark, to my surprise, let me drive again! We arrived at the hotel and handed the car off to a professional detailer before it was parked on site.

After setting up the car, we were ready. Soon we were joined by press, analysts, and AT&T partners and executives who all came out to see an important part of the car’s story — the use of AT&T’s WATSON speech engine. The Porsche is a great way to illustrate how helpful WATSON can be in an environment like the car.

Derek (seated in the car) with Mazin Gilbert of AT&T and Jordan Crook of TechCrunch.

The event was a big success and featured a presentation from Krish Prabhu, president and CEO of AT&T Labs Research; it also included demonstrations from AT&T Labs and AT&T Foundry. The demos included a smart door that recognizes you before you reach for your keys, and a smartphone application that performs language translations in real time.

The car will be on the road in coming weeks, including a stop at the CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans, from May 8 to 10. If you're there, be sure to check us out in the Solutions Showcase.

No comments:

Post a Comment