At the Baidu AI Developers Conference, there was a very interesting phenomenon. In Baidu Brain 3.0 in addition to open a number of AI capabilities, but also for the first time the chip into the technical system, launched the Baidu Independent research and Development of China's first cloud full-featured AI Chip "Kunlun", which contains training chip "Kunlun 818-300" and the Inference chip "Kunlun 818-100".
In the impression of most people, Baidu has been a company focused on software-level innovation, and in the last two years the rapid growth is also Dueros, Paddlepaddle and Apollo Software-level Open platform.
But this impression is being broken over the years. In addition to the introduction of Kunlun at this conference, Baidu also launched a series of hardware products such as "Small Home", "small smart speaker" and so on.
Many people believe that Baidu is becoming a hardware company. Like the previous phone boom, it is eager to expand its revenue model through consumer hardware.
But in fact, whether it is a chip or smart speakers, is not a high net income, can bring huge cash flow to the enterprise category. Baidu's behavior trajectory is not on the soft and hard two roads to make two choice of choice, but is through the continuous cross-border become a platform-based enterprises.
When the platform becomes inevitable, what are the Giants chasing?
If we put the scale around the world, we will find that Baidu's change is no exception.
For example, the hardware technology has always conquer Apple, in this year's WWDC did not introduce any hardware updates, but also did not launch the legendary new notebook. Apple, on the other hand, highlights the new features of its four operating systems, the more intelligent Siri and the Arkit, on WWDC2018.
Microsoft, which also has a large number of hardware products, has published a number of AI black technologies based on cloud computing platform Azure and voice assistant Cortana in Build2018, and has shifted from self-developed hardware to partnering with other vendors to deliver software-level development kits, such as the launch of visual AI development kits with Qualcomm, and DJI jointly release the SDK for Windows.
Not to mention the same is the search engine as the starting point for the AI, often launched the "hardware family bucket" Google.
It is not difficult to see that these international giants are in the form of hardware and software double repair to complete their capabilities. Do not confine themselves to the software or hardware under any one label, but to extend their tentacles long and extensive, and strive to the platform of the direction of development.
The Giants are gradually erasing the names of hardware developers or software creators, and using more equal gestures to speak with the developer and industry partners to broaden and open more space, further acceptance and symbiosis through technological means.
There is no chance behind any trend, the global technology giants are now in the same direction to the development of platform, the path can reach the other side of what is the attraction?
Sailing ERA and enclosure movement: platform-free as possible
I believe that for any of these enterprises, the development of the platform is not an easy choice. Let the study of the algorithm and data Baidu into the chip, which relies heavily on the hardware technology industry, or let the ecology has been very close to the apple down the body to "please" developers, the Giants pay the cost is not low.
But in today's time node, the development of platform has become almost a way for the Giants. Regardless of whether the road is software or hardware, eventually will be pooled into the platform of development.
The reason why we can make this conclusion is that the relationship between AI business and platform development is inseparable.
With the rise of deep learning, increased computing power and the soaring volume of data from mobile Internet, the three positives have made AI once again the biggest business opportunity for the entire technology industry. The new productivity and human-computer interaction of new technologies mean that it is possible to subvert the business empire established by today's technology giants.
So the Giants are bound to enter the battlefield, and on the AI battlefield, platform development can bring two important effects to the enterprise, as well as the infinite possibility behind the two kinds of effects.
The first is the effect of "iron-linked boat".
In the face of AI this strange sea, we seem to have come to the era of great sailing, race against the unknown in the field of mining treasures. Can face a new technology and industry, each enterprise is also "dry ducks."
At this time want to form a greater power, one of the methods is to calculate the force, software, algorithms, hardware these separate boat boats, control the AI industry more links. When there is no more space between the decks, the power on the ship is no longer isolated. Like Baidu gathered a scene application platform (Apollo, Dueros), Deep Learning Development Framework (PADDLEPADDLE), and now open the B-terminal application chip and C-terminal consumer hardware path. Combined to provide an AI solution as complete as possible, in isolation from each link, you can minimize the cost of frequent adjustment of the technology interface. At the same time, a more complete layout can be from multiple dimensions to counter opponents, gathering power in the AI's great sailing times.
The second type is the "partner siphon" effect.
AI is a sea full of waves, but also an urgent need to reclaim the place of XXX. Relying on the power of the one or two giants alone, it is difficult to put the technology xxx into a lot of refined and highly professional scenes. To achieve this, the tech giants need to give as much support as possible to developers and partners, and then continue to sow them down.
At this time more comprehensive and open platform development is particularly important, platform-based enterprises for their own capacity range of overweight, partners and developers can form a siphon effect, bringing exponential growth.
This is in Baidu's Dueros and Apollo performance incisively and vividly. The developer conference at the Apollo display of agriculture, mining, logistics vehicles, trucks, time-sharing, travel and other 9 of major operations, no one is directly to the vertical field partners. Dueros, a dialogue platform that has always been open-minded, has experienced a lot of landing applications and experience feedback, and has taken the lead in the 3.0 release of the business closed loop through a dialogue-based content ecosystem. This is the development of the platform siphon talent, further enhance their own enclosure speed typical case.
Globalization + whole chain is Baidu's subject of AI
The same is true of a handful of tech giants, as well as a rush of competition.
We have to admit that AI as a highly technology-intensive industry, the entry threshold is very high. Ai has given the opportunity to make more than two changes in the Internet and mobile Internet, whether it's the huge cost of data mining, model training, or the huge human costs associated with the close link between AI and academia, which means the AI giants can't start from scratch. Enterprises with enough technical cards and capital cards can sit on the table.
Even on a global scale, the players who really hold tickets are just a few tech giants. The rest of the algorithmic startups or traditional companies are dancing with the Giants and are being folded under a certain camp.
Now Baidu, Microsoft, Apple and Google and other giants together on the soft and hard one platform, apparently unwilling to share in the AI industry with other giants. For these giants, the biggest business opportunity for AI is the ability to break the model of division of labor in the PC era.
The Division of labor in the so-called PC era is the industry category and the accumulated experience gap that the technology giants have defined in the past. For example, if Baidu enters the mobile hardware industry, there are more investment also difficult to launch better than the iphone products. And if Apple launches a search engine, it can only compete for the fraction market.
But Ai brings in the unknown sea treasure, in the strange new continent enclosure. For the Giants, this is the best chance to break the boundaries of the past division of labor.
Baidu launched today's hardware, is not the first step of Baidu platform development. The small family of AI hardware, to the open development of Dueros, Apollo and Paddlepaddle. Baidu's logo on Ai has long been a global chain of development.
A platform-based approach to data, algorithm development, application scenarios and many other industrial details, through the developers and partners planted seeds, in the scale of the effect of harvesting enough business benefits. and the platform model of the formation of a vast and dense root system, so that others can hardly shake this advantage. At this point, there is a competitive relationship with Baidu, almost only Google, Microsoft and Apple, which also have the platform of energy giants. It is also natural to put the scope of the expedition around the globe.
The business world is like a ring, the participants lay the future, their movements form a trend, and the real driving trend is the imagination of the future. Inevitable and possible are already doomed, we need to do is to wait for the ring to turn, let everything happen.
Baidu Google Apple of the same direction: the development of the platform of the inevitable and possible