BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN) - Edge AI and the Internet of Things


by Melissa Darmawan

BrainChip Holdings Limited (ASX:BRN) Vice President of Worldwide Sales, Rob Telson, provides an update on the company and discusses industrial applications for the company's technology.

Melissa Darmawan: Thanks for tuning in. I'm Melissa Darmawan for Finance News. Joining me from BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN) is Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing Rob Telson. Rob, nice to see you again and happy new year.

Rob Telson: You know, Melissa, happy new year to you, and it's great to see you again.

Melissa Darmawan: Welcome back to the network. For those who are new to finding out more about BrainChip, how is BrainChip's approach to artificial intelligence different from traditional approaches?

Rob Telson: Being that this isn't our first interview. I won't spend a lot of time on it, but the fact of the matter is we've developed an artificial intelligence based off of an architecture called the neuromorphic architecture. Our approach is to mimic the brain. And when we mean mimic the brain, we mean we're functioning very similar to how our brain functions, and how we can address and process multiple levels of information at the same time. And when we do that, our human brain consumes only energy where it's focusing. So, as you're listening to me today, you're looking at me and your hands are probably holding onto each other, something to that extent. A lot of different senses are taking place, but you're really listening, and your brain's consuming most of its energy doing that. And that's the way BrainChip's Akida processor is developed. And compared to other artificial intelligence technologies that exist today, they don't function that way. What they do is they process all the information at the same time. And, by processing all the information at the same time, they're consuming a lot of energy and a lot of power. And so, our architecture is, what we believe, the wave of the future, and we're very excited about how our architecture is being received and the interest level in our technology.

Melissa Darmawan: Could you talk us through where the company's focus is and how you see current and future clients using your technology?

Rob Telson: Yeah. Good question. So, as of right now, our focus as a company is on 100 per cent commercialisation. I mean, we are hands down trying to grow the company, scale the company, and invest in... What most technology companies do is they transition from a product development environment into commercialising your technology. A lot of investment goes into that. A lot of people from marketing and sales, customer support, and all the other dynamics that go with that. But the specific technologies, or the specific areas, where we see that Akida is going to make a massive impact, we always use the smart city, smart health, smart home and smart transportation as four key categories. And you can break that down into a variety of different categories or target markets, per se. But one that we're also trying to really focus on is what we call the industrial IOT market.

And, in industrial IOT, what we're talking about is massive machinery, massive conveyor belts, all the dynamics of how we live our lives today behind the scenes. And having artificial intelligence implemented into some of those applications allows companies to be able to change their pick lines and their conveyor lines on the fly using Akida, from let's say bottles to boxes, or fruits to vegetables, and being able to use Akida to help make these transitions very efficient, very effective, without pre-programming or reprogramming of networks or systems or anything to that extent, all the way through to what we call vibration analysis, where we can determine whether a machine is healthy or not healthy and might need service. So, besides the four target areas where we've invested a lot of time and we've kind of planted the seeds and we want to see this grow, we're also moving into the industrial applications space because we really see an opportunity where Akida can thrive.

Melissa Darmawan: So, moving on to your recent performance, BrainChip had a breakout quarter, including the grant of three additional patents, not to mention another patent that was approved lately. Could you talk us through these accomplishments?

Rob Telson: Peter van der Made, Anil Mankar, and everyone on the research and development and the engineering side of this company, they've put their heart and soul into this technology. And the exciting thing is to see these patents get granted, and we continue to develop and involve our patent portfolio. We have many more patents that are pending, that they're working on getting approvals on. But these are exciting times. And when I take a look at it, as someone who's been in this technology space for a long time, it kind of reminds me of some other companies that have gone through massive growth, adoption early, and then new development, and then massive growth again. Companies like Tesla. If you looked at Tesla, when they went public, they didn't have a product that they were actually delivering at the time. And they went public with a market cap of US$1.7 billion. They went public a little over 10 years ago. It took them four to six years to introduce their Model S vehicle from the time they went public and put it into production. The amazing thing today, though, it's a US$900 billion market cap. Those are exciting things, and that's what technology companies do. They continue to develop. They continue to grow. And we feel at BrainChip, you know, we're focused on the Edge AI inference market, it's in its infancy.

And the really cool thing for me is that we are actually entering this technology, what we call AIOT. And for those that aren't familiar with the terms, IOT means internet of things. These are connected devices, and most of these devices are devices that depend on battery life. And again, as I mentioned earlier, I talked about the fact that one of the things that we do really well is we consume very little energy with our technology. And so we really focus on areas of IOT applications or what we call edge-based devices. The "A" stands for artificial intelligence. We are very early on in introducing intelligence into IOT and edge-based devices. And that's where we're going to thrive. And so when we look at BrainChip and where we're going, as long as we continue to execute, as long as we continue to execute both on our technology on our business strategies and everything around the company, you know, we see that we're in an excellent spot from that end. So, we're very, very excited.

Melissa Darmawan: What's also exciting was that BrainChip welcomed Sean Hehir as CEO at the tail end of last year. How has he settled in?

Rob Telson: The words that I'll describe for Sean Hehir are "laser focused". He's an excellent addition to our team. He fits in very well, but he is all about moving at a faster pace and driving all of us to really go above and beyond. And it's an excellent time for us to have that mindset. So, Sean coming in, he's laser focused, he's driving us all in the right direction. We also introduced our Chief Marketing Officer, Jerome Nadel. And again, he's an another great addition to the company. So, as I said earlier on, we're making the right moves to position ourselves and Akida, which has a long way to go in regards to growth and market impact and market penetration with the right people within this team. We've got a good, good position for us, moving forward.

Melissa Darmawan: Rob, one last fun question from me. Who is your favourite AI character and why?

Rob Telson: I'm going to keep it real. And I'm going to say my favourite AI character is… Robot Ken. Robot Ken, he is at the heart and soul of BrainChip. And we've got a lot of fans out there that really enjoy the Robot Ken and the fact that that Robot Ken is all about the five sensor modalities, and that's what we really pride ourselves on. The thing that I'm thinking about, though, and for our listeners and viewers, Robot Ken needs a buddy. And so we're just trying to figure out who that buddy is. Maybe it's a dog, you know? Maybe we name the dog "Higgins". I don't know. But yeah, Robot Ken and his companion, potential companion, those are my favourite AI characters.

Melissa Darmawan: Very exciting times ahead. We love that word. Rob, always great to speak with you, and I wish you the best for 2022.

Rob Telson: Melissa, thank you very much. Wishing you guys the best as well. We look forward to future conversations. And for all those that are following us at BrainChip, we truly appreciate all your support, and we're looking forward to an exciting 2022, so thank you.


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