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Executive Interview: Perry Lea, Book Author, Entrepreneur, Director of Architecture: Microsoft

Perry Lea is a 30-year veteran technologist. He spent over 20 years at Hewlett-Packard as a chief architect and distinguished technologist of the LaserJet business. He then led a team at Micron as a technologist and strategic director, working on emerging compute using in-memory processing for machine learning and computer vision. Perry’s leadership extended to Cradlepoint, where he pivoted the company into 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). Soon afterwards, he co-founded Rumble, an industry leader in edge/IoT products. He was also a principal architect for Microsoft’s Xbox and xCloud and today is a director of architecture for Microsoft. Perry has degrees in computer science and computer engineering, and an EngrD in electrical engineering from Columbia University. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a senior member/ distinguished speaker of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He holds 50 patents, with 30 pending. After recently publishing a new book, “IoT and Edge Computing for Architects,” he took a few minutes to speak with AI Trends Editor John P. Desmond about his work.

Perry Lea, book author, startup founder, Director of Architecture: Microsoft

AI Trends: Thank you Perry for talking to us today, just after the release of your new book, very timely. So what would you say is the best way to define the Internet of Things?

Perry Lea: Well I like to define it as the ability to connect the previously unconnectable world. Thirty years ago we didn’t have the technology, or the genuine interest in connecting inanimate objects or unconnectable things and do it pervasively. So, what’s happened in the last 30 years is we’ve ridden on Moore’s Law, Dennard scaling [Ed. Note: As transistors get smaller, their power density stays constant.], Nielsen’s Law [Ed. Note: Users’ internet bandwidth grows by 50 percent per year.], the big hierarchy of computer science and computer engineering laws that have driven the industry. That has now stretched down into IoT devices connecting things, people, animals, vegetables and minerals. And now you have the ability to do that at scale, and at a cost point that you can do interesting things.

And people are coming up with very creative and interesting and sometimes business-savvy IoT devices, and other times they’re more of hype and fads, or have a business model that just won’t succeed. So the book is about IoT and edge computing, which kind of talks about that, but from an enterprise commercial scale, industrial scale.

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