IoT Meetup August 2020/ Report & Videos

Technological innovations and changes in market demand have been gradually pushing organisations’ digital transformation. Recently, COVID-19 has become the strongest force necessitating the adoption of new digital capabilities to sustain business continuity against the background of the turbulent social and economic context. Still, the digitalisation of manufacturing is slow. The pressure of a highly competitive landscape, economic uncertainty, the regulatory environment and skill gap make the transformation of manufacturing enterprises and the industrial ecosystem challenging. Therefore, the August IoT North event was organised to discuss key considerations around the digitalisation of manufacturing. The Zoom event was joined by Ian Gardner from IBM Global Business Services ( and Michael Liou, VP of Strategy & Growth at Chooch AI ( to share insights into the digitalisation journey of organisations and to present a new AI solution that helps contribute to the digital capabilities of organisations. The webinar was co-hosted, as usual, by Pitch-In Project and sponsored by Newcastle University and

Ian Gardner has led a large high-profile Industry 4.0 project for five years to create the factory of the future referenced in the UK government’s Made Smarter report. He is a Distinguished Technical Specialist, Expert Solutions Specialist, IBM Academic Ambassador, and a chartered member of the British Computer Society. Drawing on 25-years' experience in large-scale, high complexity projects around ERP and digital integration, Ian Gardner talked about why organisations need to step on the digitalisation path, discussed the forces of digitalisation, the importance of the development of digital capabilities and the impact of COVID-19. Digital transformation is a long trial-and-error process, which needs to be embarked on now to reap its benefits in the future. Technological leaps, higher product quality and service expectations, sustainability and the environmental agenda, an ageing workforce, shortage of skills and the increase of production output are the stimuli for digitalisation that cannot be ignored. For mature organisations, adding digital capabilities saves costs, for start-ups, it is the enabler of innovation. Due to COVID-19 and associated social, economic and industrial disruptions, manufacturing industry has experienced 75% loss of its output every day. In the business processes, the pandemic affected the finance system, supply chain, human capital management and operations, which are managed more easily with digital solutions. Communication tools (e.g. Webex meeting, Microsoft teams, Google Hangouts) and worker insight platforms that were not widely applied before are becoming popular now. COVID-19 will have short and long-term consequences for business and digital technology applications. Therefore, companies need to consider where they are on the digitalisation journey and where they want to be. High business-value investment should be made, with machine learning and AI, edge computing, Industrial Internet of Things software platform topping the list of key investment assets.

Michael Liou presented the Chooch AI solution that can find applications across wide business and public services. Michael is a multi-disciplined investment professional, private investor, entrepreneur, advisor, and former board member in the Bay Area. Michael’s portfolio includes over 100 investments in FinTech, consumer, SaaS, and healthcare companies. Currently, he leads Strategy & Growth at Chooch AI, developing an end-to-end visual artificial intelligence platform. Although the company is relatively young, it has already managed to secure 18 clients, not to mention the US government. Compared to a lot of other AI solutions that are very focused on specific tasks, Chooch Ai is a flexible vertically integrated platform. The platform provides fast and accurate computer vision training, image, object and process recognition for retail, media, advertising, healthcare, aviation and security industries. For example, in the healthcare industry, the solution helps log accurate anaesthesia timing and discover surgical optimisation to reduce healthcare risks and operational costs. In oil and gas, the monitoring of infrastructure helps detect leaks, identify personnel, vehicles and other objects on sites. As far as the pandemic context is concerned, Chooch AI supports public safety by detecting the absence of mandated safety equipment and the signs of illness. Technically, Chooch AI offers an easy-to-deploy API and dashboard for AIoT and Cloud AI. After Chooch AI models are trained in the cloud, the AI inference engines generated are remotely deployed to industry-leading NVIDIA Jetson processors. On the edge, Chooch AI can process video feeds with as little as 0.2 second response times. Chooch Edge AI deployments are remotely managed and can be updated from the Chooch AI Dashboard in the cloud over time, further improving the scope and performance of AIoT.

To learn more about the application and impacts that AI and IoT have on social, business and other spheres of life, follow the schedule of events here at the IoT North meetup web site: