To coincide with AIA Vision Week, an online five-day event of speakers and industry product showcase, MVPro has rekindled the quickfire Q&A.
We have sought the opinions of presenters, businesses and sponsors on this new online conference format, how they have adapted to the format and also their views on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We will share a number of them across the week. Today Mike Cyros, Vice President Sales & Support, Americas, at Euresys, who are sponsors of AIA Vision Week, provides the answers.
What’s your take on the ‘virtual’ conference?
I visited a large industry conference and exhibition in early February of this year when news of the Coronavirus was already capturing our attention. Already then there were plenty of discussions around as to what the potential impacts of what we now know and refer to COVID-19 would be for these types of large concentrated events.
I applaud the AIA for being one of the first in our industry to take early decisive action to not just postpone, but instead to cancel it in its entirety for this biannual event, and replace it with a virtual event – AIA Vision Week. This was a bold decision to take, and from the moment it was announced, I was excited to participate as I really believe that the reality of our global situation with this pandemic will truly transform how we do business for the long term.
Sure, there won’t be the level of personal contact, meeting new prospects and partners in person, visiting with existing customers, industry networking, etc. On the other hand, think of how many more potential new prospects and partners we could meet when people don’t have to travel long distances to visit a tradeshow and conference. Over the past two months the explosion in popularity of video meetings proves how willing people are to embrace the new reality. Without the travel and logistics (and budget) required, we can now be connected visually in real time at a moment’s notice with the click of a mouse.
There are shortcomings, I feel strongly that for a virtual event to be as effective, we have to explore ways to provide interactive content so that virtual visitors can drill down quickly to the key information they are looking for without having to view tons of static content. The chance for a live video or even just voice chat with “booth staff”, to ask specific questions and interact, is also required for virtual events in the future for them to become high value events.
Euresys are one of the sponsors – what was the motivation behind that?
First and foremost, we saw the opportunity to become one of the key sponsors of the event as a way to demonstrate our willingness to embrace the new reality of social distancing as the world deals with the pandemic. As we are a company that is constantly innovating and hands-on involved in the development and proliferation of industry standards, becoming a lead sponsor for this event was a no-brainer as it stands for everything that we normally do. Of course, the brand exposure is an added benefit. Bottom line, we want to be associated with looking to the future, rather than resisting it and hoping for the “good old days”.
What products will you be showcasing?
We will be highlighting our latest developments and product releases in our industry leading frame grabbers supporting the latest CoaXPress 2.0 standard the full bandwidth offered with CXP-12 speeds. We also will highlight our IP Core offerings and hardware development kits of ready-made FPGA building blocks allowing designers of vision related hardware to quickly integrate sensor interfaces such as MIPI CSI-2 and data interconnect interfaces such as CoaXPress, GigE Vision over 10G nBase-T and USB3 Vision in their camera designs and in their host acquisition devices such as embedded vision processors.
What presentations will you be tuning into and why?
2020 marks the 33rd year I’ve been involved in the machine vision industry. What keeps me so passionate about our industry is not just the amazing applications that our collective products are involved in, but even more importantly how machine vision enables the future. Therefore, some of the presentations that I am really looking forward to are: Monday’s keynote about innovative machine vision applications at Proctor & Gamble; Bob McCurrach of the AIA’s update on the future of vision standards; the industry executive roundtable discussing the state of the vision industry; the presentation on embedded learning and the evolution of machine vision; and finally the deep learning case studies. I expect all of these talks to give us more insight into the future.
How have you and the business adapted during the COVID-19 crisis?
Our US-based staff are located in California and Massachusetts and these two states were amongst the most progressive with early stay at home orders. As our company internally already utilises video calling and chat on a daily basis for internal collaboration due to our global footprint, we already had the infrastructure in place and the mindset for it. Therefore, all but the essential employees that must be hands-on in production and order fulfilment made an easy transition to working from home. Based on feedback received, there has been no impact on the daily quality of service and responsiveness our customers expect of us.
What will be the biggest impact of the COVID-19 crisis?
With the need for social distancing continuing into the foreseeable future, the need for increased automation and human assistance tools that our industry provides will be a positive growth factor. In fact, over the past two months we have seen a significant increase in new product development projects here in North America. Some joke that this is because employees are now working from home more efficiently than sitting in endless meetings and planning discussions at the office – I’ll reserve judgement on that.
I am a firm believer that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to transformational and permanent change in how we do our business on a global scale. For me, this is a glass half full situation, and I only see possibilities rather than drawbacks.