The Innovation Journal’s Editor-in-Chief Mei Jiang recently had the opportunity to sit down with HP’s Chief Engineer and Senior Fellow, Chandrakant Patel, to discuss what it’s like to innovate at HP, and how HP is taking on Megatrends with breakthroughs in technology, and his inspiration for engineering amazing.
MEI: Chandrakant, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to lend your expert perspective to how HP innovates to address the Megatrends impacting our future. Have you always been driven to look for ways to solve the challenges of societies and the world around us?
CHANDRAKANT: Absolutely, I am always observing and learning how technology can deliver value by providing useful services. A decade ago, my late father bought an HP All-in-One (AIO) computer in India. He plugged a USB product called “Magic Jack” into the HP AIO, and was instantly in touch with his global community of friends and family through Internet telephony. He loved the HP user experience, and that he could blend these products to overcome the challenges of communication across the globe. While the network connection was poor, the voice telephony rarely failed him and he was able to enjoy patchy video conversations.
The value driven purchase—the savings in telephony as an example—paid back his computer in its lifetime. While my family and I lived in the United States, we could provide for him by taking turns to visit him in India over the course of a year. We employed help in India, but our conduit for communications and taking care of his chores such as bills was all centered around the HP computer and his masterful solution.
MEI: How do you see Megatrends impacting your future and the ingenuity that will be required to overcome the challenges they present?
CHANDRAKANT: I picture myself a decade from now. Much like my father, l will buy an HP computing device because it uses sophisticated cameras and sensors to discern my emotion and measure my key vital signs—oxygen saturation rate, respiratory rate, etc. My children, millennials, are there for me but are challenged by the mass urbanization, traffic, and resource constraints - and cannot be at my home all the time.
The demographic changes—an aging population in the United States and healthcare supply side constraints—have made the HP solution an invaluable ramp for telemedicine driven healthcare. Furthermore, the same HP computing device also manages my utilities—power, and water—and delivers savings in a resource-constrained world.
I thank the foresight of HP leaders for studying the social, economic, and ecological Megatrends a decade earlier and translating those trends into technologies and solutions that provide value to customers.
MEI: What specific insights will HP have to enable this future you envision?
CHANDRAKANT:HP will recognize the home experience as a multi-disciplinary, systemic innovation that requires a set of technical capabilities. In my home experience example, HP will imagine the technical capabilities as a stack, starting with core engineering to build flexible, configurable HP computing devices with rich sensing. Intelligence and rich user experience such as brain-computer interface, are built-in software using machine learning algorithms. As the algorithms improve, weekly in many cases, over-the-air updates even improve the logic in the computer! The computer hardware improves, and the entire three-year hardware update cycle becomes a thing of the past!
All of these technical capabilities will be built as part of the HP Engine Room.
MEI: Can you describe the concept of the HP Engine Room?
CHANDRAKANT:HP is akin to a powerful and elegant ship. On the bridge, the course of the company has been set by Megatrends and the solutions that will make lives better for everyone, everywhere. Down below, the multi-disciplinary engine room is ready, and organized, to amaze and propel us forward.
MEI: How will multi-disciplinary systemic innovation be leveraged across markets, solutions, and experiences?
CHANDRAKANT:While my future state example was around home experiences, the HP Engine Room allows for all solutions to share the same capabilities and attributes. HP 3D print engines, for example, built with several engineering disciplines, will be flexible and configurable. Machine learning will be utilized to engineer materials at voxel scale by flexing the various actuators in the engine. Data gathered from thousands of engines will deliver an “art to part” user experience for manufacturing based on learning from thousands of finished parts. And security will underpin everything.
For the engine room to be successful, we need to tap into the brilliant minds across HP—physicists, chemists, mechanical engineers, computer scientists. With that in mind, we are creating virtual communities and affinity groups in key engineering fundamentals and technologies. These cross-company teams will enable HP to harness tomorrow’s technologies, and address any challenges and opportunities Megatrends offer.