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Fenix – Access to Energy in the spotlight at CES 2019

Energy Communities

Fenix International has been part of the ENGIE family for some time, and were also on the ENGIE & Partners booth at CES 2019. Their pay-go Access to Energy solution attracted a lot of attention both from the media and the general public.

Jit Bhattacharya, Fenix's CTO, was kind enough to share his main takeaways from this year’s CES.

Hi Jit, what are the main trends you detected at CES 2019? 

We saw four major trends that could impact our business.

Chips are moving beyond CPU and GPU capability to more specialized computing blocks.  For example, leading chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm, Intel, NVIDIA, and even Microchip promoting the integration of Deep Neural Networks, AI Accelerators, and high-bandwidth networking onto commercially available chips. This move makes technologies such as facial recognition, computer vision, or natural language processing much more energy efficient and accessible to battery powered devices.

A complementary trend is the move for many AI technologies moving offline.  One of the most exciting companies I met with was, a company that is making Natural Language Processing available offline on affordable ARM-core processors. With this technology, NLP user interfaces could be a possibility even for products such as ours.

The third trend we saw is that the first business model for AI is really around customization of marketing and user experience.  We saw AI being used to customize razors for men, customize pesticide treatment for plants, or customized retail experiences based on face and skin type.

Another major trend is that China is catching up. The quality of Chinese technology and innovation felt like it was on par with many of the innovations from Europe or the United States.  In the years to come, we expect this trend to continue. Given the importance of China in the technology supply chain, this will definitely have an impact on our team’s ability to innovate new products and solutions more quickly without having to rely on the major technology suppliers.

What are your feedbacks from being on the booth with ENGIE and its partners?

Fenix is really grateful to have been included in the ENGIE Innovation booth at CES. We were able to tell the story of energy access at ENGIE and how the same technologies driving high-value western products are also changing the lives of those living off-grid in sub-Saharan Africa.  We found a number of companies interested in partnering with us and learning more about our Mission.  And we had two excellent press pieces written about Fenix and ENGIE’s Energy Access efforts. 

As for ENGIE, I feel the greatest strength of our positioning was ENGIE having a presence in Eureka Park rather than the main conference venue. At Eureka Park, ENGIE was amongst startup companies, incubators, and innovators.  By having a booth in Eureka Park with our own technologies and solutions on display from across the ENGIE Group, we were able to demonstrate to thousands of people from across the globe that we are more than just an energy company, but an innovation company focused on solving a broad range of problems. 

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