Fred Patton

At Samsung’s Innovation Summit in Israel, Data Rules

Six miles south from the heart of Tel Aviv, the historic Port of Jaffa is a beach town where the past and future converge. Ancient, wind-weathered buildings house modern art galleries. Cobbled streets show off this year’s latest cars. And on March 11th, Samsung hosted its fourth Innovation Summit in Israel, providing a glimpse at the future of data, and how it stands to transform our world.

“At its heart, data is the same thing it’s always been – a tool for making sense of the world around us,” said Young Sohn, Samsung President and Chief Strategy Office and HARMAN Chairman. “There’s more data than ever…this new economy generates jobs, generates business, and generates opportunities for many entrepreneurs.”

Sohn highlighted how the industrial economy from the 20th century has been replaced by a new data economy, driven in large part by the proliferation of mobile devices such as the recent Galaxy S9. Ten years ago, four of the most valuable companies in the world were oil companies. Today, all ten of the most valuable companies are data companies.

“I’m excited for everyone in this room,” Sohn continued. “We can take advantage of what happened with the internet era, the mobile era, and now, with data and Artificial Intelligence, we can take advantage of opportunities in this fourth era of innovation.”

The packed audience listened intently as Sohn offered a glimpse at how data and AI could revolutionize the world’s biggest industries. In health, startups are developing improved algorithms to combine MRI, blood, and DNA data in order to better diagnose mental disorders. In cyber security, Darktrace is using AI to mimic the self-learning capabilities of the human immune system to radically change how security can be implemented.  And finally, he explained how all of these innovations in IoT + Artificial Intelligence are ushering in a new wave of industry – referred to as Industry 4.0.

Sohn then invited two guest speakers to the stage, each of them experts in the data revolution.

Richard Muirhead discussed how the intersection of blockchain, AI, and the proliferation of mobile phones could revolutionize multiple sectors – finance, government, and beyond. A key element to this opportunity is that devices like individuals’ mobile phones are great sources of new data, and technologies like blockchain help leverage that data in a way that is trustworthy and secure.  “If you marry the handset in peoples’ hands…with a whole ecosystem of new applications, I think that spells an incredible opportunity. We’ll see, I believe very firmly, an explosion in the applications down the line.”

Yoav Shoham, Stanford Professor and entrepreneur, charted the growth of AI and where it’s headed. He put the trajectory of AI in a historical context, and noted that even though “we’re so far from what we usually associate with human intelligence” there was so much AI is doing already – from powering mobility, to financial applications, to language processing, to machine learning – to be excited about.

Mobility, and the Power of Partnership

Following the guest speakers, Sohn focused on one more industry – automotive. He invited key partners to the stage to discuss Samsung’s vision for the future of autonomous mobility.

First, Katrin Schneider, Vice President in the Connected Car Division at HARMAN, discussed the company’s transition – going from a company known for its audio products, to a company known for its leadership in the connected car space. “We are very proud, because HARMAN transformed, over the last ten years, from a pure hardware manufacturer to a premium solutions partner.” She continued, “The digital car is becoming more popular…and we can provide an end-to-end view.”

Following Katrin’s remarks, Nick Fishwick, Director of Product Management for Samsung DRVLINE, talked about the open platform at the heart of Samsung’s ecosystem to develop solutions in autonomous mobility. You can read more about it here.

In the final part of the program, Fishwick invited four Samsung partners who provide various solutions for autonomous vehicles and are part of the DRVLINE ecosystem to join him onstage: Omer Keilaf from Innoviz, Dror Jerushalmi from Valens, Hagai Zyss from Autotalks, and Oren Betzaleli from HARMAN.

The panel covered a variety of topics: new innovations in solid-state LiDAR technology, in-car networking requirements, car-to-everything connectivity infrastructure, data security, and even how one panelist – Jerushalmi – won an Emmy Award for his video processing technology. When asked about what advice they would give to aspiring entrepreneurs, the panel universally agreed that it was critical to seek good partners. As Keliaf put it, “In the automotive space, you need to choose the right partners, because it’s a long journey…Samsung as a technical lead, now with automotive experience with HARMAN…it’s the best benefit you could ask for in a partner.”

Following the program, entrepreneurs, investors, and media got the chance to explore potential partnerships together in the networking and demonstration space downstairs. “I enjoyed the event very much,” said Opher Suhami, an attendee. “I made some good connections this evening…and hearing from the key speakers about other parts of the industry was really interesting.”

As the Summit came to a close, attendees left with business cards, handshakes, and a sense of renewed energy. Leaving Jaffa’s historic port, participants in Samsung’s Israel Innovation Summit played a role in shaping a healthier, safer, better future.

If you missed the Summit, or attended but would like a refresher, the playlist below contains all the videos for the Summit.