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CEDIA Expo Keynote: Catering To The Individual

CEDIA Expo keynote speaker sees beyond the one-size-fits-all mentality in technology

Dr. Poppy Crum

“We each have unique experiences of the world. It’s a beautiful part of being human,” said Dr. Poppy Crum in the CEDIA Expo 2021 keynote address on Thursday. “But at the same time, we build technology that assumes we’re all the same, one-size-fits-all solutions. Now there’s a big gap between knowing what someone is experiencing and how we build technology that taps into that and supports every one of us in those ways.”

Technology has been stuck in a legacy pattern for the past 50 years and delivered on the assumption that we’re all the same, perhaps because of cost efficiencies or the inability to scale production. Thanks to the continuing evolution of technology and the introduction and improvement in AI and machine learning, however, we can now “build technology for individuals, and instead think about the intent of the technology rather than how a technology works,” she said.

“Are we capturing the right dimensions to preserve and transmit the intent of the creator?” Crum asked. This is the challenge that integrators, installers, creators and designers face with each project, and while the limits of technology have always been a concern or stumbling block, Crum conveyed her hope that emerging technologies will be able to close the loop between us and the environments where we tell and consume our stories.

“Technology, meaning the amalgamation of sensors in our environment, paired with machine learning and artificial intelligence has rapidly changed how much our technology can know about us, or knows with us. Which also changes how it can support us,” Crum explained when addressing how the rapidly advancing technologies of speech recognition and user biometric data can converge with existing environments.

The evolution of technology is critical to creating environments that not only serve a purpose, but become part of the connected home, office or space. “Devices will know more about us than we do,” she said in addressing concerns about developing technologies being used in unethical ways.

“Any time you build the plane, you’re also going to have the plane crashes, but there are so many opportunities for us to grow and change as we build that infrastructure,” Crum added. “When convenience, new capability and accessibility are on the table, these things come together and we go with it because we see the future. We see new directions and opportunities.”

“One-size-fits-all technology will be a thing of the past,” said Crum. “Transformations in technology have allowed us to completely rethink what it means for individuals to have a successful experience. And it’s those advancements that are starting to transform how we think about creative intent and the technology capabilities that we bring to everybody in our environments.”

See also: CEDIA Expo 2021 Panel: The Common Thread Is Matter