ARM's Will Tu Wants the Internet of All the Senses

I recently spoke with Tu about the state of the sensor supplier industry and how he thinks it should be responding to growing demand for IoT technologies across industries.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jun 04, 2015

On June 9, Will Tu, the director of embedded (electronics) marketing at semiconductor firm ARM, will chair a preconference symposium about the IoT industry at the annual Sensors Expo and Conference (which, after a long run in Chicago, will take place this year in Long Beach, Calif.). One of Tu's goals in building the day's agenda was to feature content that broadens the point of view around what sensors do, what vital roles they can play in IoT applications, and what sensor makers need to keep in mind as they market their products to new industries.

Slated to speak is Kevin Shaw, who leads business development at Audience Inc. a company that specializes in audio-processing technology used in mobile devices. Audience Inc. was recently purchased by Knowles, a major supplier of microphones and headphones, which Tu thinks is an indication of the growing role that audio sensing is going to serve in IoT products and services.

Also on the roster is Jeff Bier, the founder of the Embedded Vision Alliance. The Alliance, whose membership is composed of dozens of electronics and software companies, is working to support developers and suppliers of embedded-vision technology—think of the Microsoft Kinekt's motion-, facial- and expression-recognition features—and help them connect with manufacturers that could incorporate the technology into their products and services to support IoT applications.

"In cars, you have systems that track how the vehicle acts within its environment, such as wheel speed or acceleration, but a lot of carmakers are not aware of what the passenger is doing in the car," Tu says, as a way of explaining why carmakers might want to incorporate embedded-vision or audio-sensing technology into their vehicles in order to capture what he calls "passenger contextual awareness."

"Humans relate to technology when it's simplified, predictive [and] anticipates your needs," Tu states. "We want to approach sensors [by thinking about how they] help us see and touch." He invited people from camera and microphone companies to discuss how their products fit into IoT technologies—even a startup that is developing a sensor for detecting smells and tastes will make a presentation.

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