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The IO of AI

With a new CEO taking over, I've listened with great interest to how Perry Mulligan would position the company going forward. Microvision's new positioning has been established as "The IO of AI" which I think is an intriguing concept for sure.

The market leading AI platform is Amazon's Alexa service. When you think of an Amazon Echo speaker, its' utility really is to play music from services like Spotify, and also for smart home applications like turning on lights and things like this. Definitely fun and convenient. But for Amazon, which is of course a retailer above all else, this use case doesn't really enable their primary desire, which is to sell more goods to you.

If we could imagine the speaker to have an embedded interactive projection display, we could say something like "Alexa, show me golf shirts", which it could then project on the wall or tabletop, complete with a "touch to buy" button. Now, they could do this with an LCD touchscreen panel but that makes the whole device much larger, all the time. With Amazon's "Echo Show" product, you've basically got a 'Mom's TV in the kitchen' type of thing, which I don't think is what they really want.

I think Amazon's larger vision is to make the devices as inconspicuous as possible, so the AI service is just there, waiting for your command. An embedded interactive laser projector would allow the device to remain small and portable, and the display and interaction to be available on demand, without a big black square sitting there all the time that the display is not in use.

So, we know there is a battle royale in this space, primarily between Amazon, Google and Apple. My view is that Amazon would have the most to gain from adding interactive projection to their device, as it would make transacting on their AI platform much easier, and protect their leadership position in the space by co-opting the disruptive innovation of interactive projection.

Is this a realistic thing to expect?

In this article, Foxconn-Sharp is described as the sole manufacturer Amazon Echo devices

And as it turns out, Foxconn-Sharp also manufactures the Apple HomePod. (This article from 2016 identifies Taiwan's HTC as the Google Home speaker manufacturer.)

One week ago, Foxconn-Sharp describes establishing mass production of new, brighter green laser diodes to 6M units a year, beginning in October, with AI speaker projection displays mentioned as an "assumed application".

In the below presentation, we see the new MVIS CEO pretty boldly laying it on the line with the assertion that interactive display, embodied in the slide by the AI smart speaker application, will be the biggest contributor to 2019's "probable" revenue. "If it is easier to interact, it is easier to transact."

So, we will see. If it is indeed the case that the company's technology, the supply chain's readiness and product demand from a major player converge here, then something pretty unique may be getting ready to happen.


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