AITech Interview with Kenta Yasukawa, Co- Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Soracom

Kenta, it would be greatly appreciated if you could provide us with insights into your professional trajectory and background that culminated in your position as the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Soracom.

In 2010, I was a researcher at Ericsson working on Connected Home, Connected Car and similar early-days IoT projects. I was drawing diagrams with fluffy clouds in the middle saying all the intelligent decisions would be made and things would get smart and collaborate with each other once they are connected to this new cloud. But back then the only available technologies for that purpose were rule-based engines, inference based on ontology, which did not have enough potential to be the intelligence to achieve a true Internet of Things vision.  

I felt there was potential in cloud technologies, but I didn’t fully know yet what the cloud could offer. So, I joined AWS as a solutions architect to find out. I worked with various customers to architect systems in the cloud and apply AWS best practices. That made me think, that by applying cloud technologies and best practices, any system can be made more reliable, scalable and available. It should be possible to build telecom infrastructure on top of cloud and it should enable a highly scalable connectivity platform.

I shared the idea with Ken Tamagawa, my CEO and Cofounder. He believed in the idea and we started to seek a way to execute and along the way met Dan Funato, my COO and Cofounder. We founded Soracom and I led the reinvention of telecom infrastructure on top of AWS cloud.

Leveraging the cloud-native telecom infrastructure, we have started a smart connectivity platform that can offload customers’ undifferentiated common heavy liftings in their IoT journeys and accelerate their time to market so we can achieve a truly connected world together.

The recent announcement  introduces Soracom’s new services that leverage Generative AI (GenAI) for IoT connectivity. Could you explain how Generative AI fits into the IoT ecosystem and what advantages it brings to IoT deployments?

GenAI has tremendous potential in IoT deployments. Besides adding natural language interfaces to IoT applications, GenAI applications using a Large Language Model (LLM) in particular has potential to be used for data analytics and decision making.

For example, we have tested ChatGPT to analyze time series data received from IoT sensors and trackers and confirmed it can provide insight about data as if you have a data scientist dedicated to you. By providing data and asking questions such as “What does this data mean?” and “What trend or outliers do you see in the data?”, an AI can answer in a natural language that you speak. We realized the potential and integrated GenAI to our time series data storage service, Soracom Harvest. The feature is called Soracom Harvest Intelligence and available to anyone as a public beta. An AI based data analytics is just one-click away. As in the example, GenAI can be a glue between people and data, and help them understand data. This can help people look deeper into a particular time period, detect an event and take action. If it has to be done by humans, it’d be cost prohibitive and not be scalable, but with GenAI, things can be automated and scalable.

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