QNAP, Inc. released its full-throttle network-attached storage innovations around artificial intelligence at CES 2018. This included a new AI developer package with a GPU-accelerated NAS for AI machine learning, the next-generation single-board IoT mini server for small-scale/private IoT applications or large-scale/public IoT deployments, and a clever new companion robot that performs as an artificially intelligent assistant for home environments.

Optimising for machine-learning AI

According to a recent Gartner survey, 59% of organisations are still gathering information to build their AI strategies, while the remainder have already made progress in piloting or adopting AI solutions. QNAP has been quick to realise this important IT trend by reaching beyond storage to empower QNAP NAS solutions optimised for AI and graphics processing to efficiently facilitate AI-oriented computational tasks.

“QuAI” - an AI developer package to quickly build, train and optimise AI models running on QNAP NAS products - was launched

At the QNAP booth, a live demo was presented using the high-performance TS-1277 NAS, powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor, with a high-end graphics card installed to deliver the computing power required for data-intensive machine-learning applications. QNAP also debuted “QuAI” - an AI developer package to quickly build, train and optimise AI models running on QNAP NAS products, to demonstrate the machine's learning capabilities, and exhibit solid results for specific model-based services such as image classification.

Given that applications and services will incorporate AI at some level, QNAP combines its hardware and software strengths to deliver cost-efficient AI-oriented big data storage solutions. This can eventually help organizations drive more intelligent usage and identify business opportunities at every level.

QNAP is keen to be one of the first players in the field of AI, and we are very excited to debut our NAS-based innovations for machine learning AI,” said Meiji Chang, General Manager of QNAP, adding “While AI incorporates big data, big computing in the cloud, and powerful algorithms, QNAP solutions are capable of integrating those elements together to help organizations explore advanced user experiences and greater business value.

Launch of home assistance robot

QNAP’s new companion robot “AfoBot” features voice interaction, face recognition and video calls to help foster easy communication, elder care, entertainment, and daily-life assistance. Its home-oriented design concept is not only for utility purposes but also for enhancing quality of life and greater communication opportunities at home.

AfoBot is only 10.67 inch (27.1 cm) tall, weighs 1.7 kg (3.75lb), has 32 GB of local data storage

Small and unobtrusive, AfoBot is only 10.67 inch (27.1 cm) tall, weighs 1.7 kg (3.75lb), has 32 GB of local data storage, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It provides hands-free voice control to launch programs, commands and actions. It also supports single or four-peer video calls, making it especially easy-to-use for elderly people and connect them to family members and friends as they can use natural speech to interact with the robot. For life assistance, AfoBot supports alarm clock, weather report, automatic photo-capturing, and supports the AfoTalk mobile app for remote control for even greater convenience. AfoBot can also initiate playback of music, video and radio with simple voice commands.

Designed in a focus for home environment, the friendly AfoBot removes the ‘technology gap’ barrier, throws away the keyboard, and uses natural speech to extend ‘real-life’ interactions that makes it easy to become part of the family and helps improve our lives in many potentially life-changing ways,” said Aaron Lee, Vice President of Consumer Solution Business Division of QNAP.

IoT mini server release

The newly launched “QBoat Sunny” has gained significant notoriety, and CES visitors had the chance to see first-hand how this 12cm x 12cm single-board IoT mini server works with Philips Hue for smart lighting, and with Domotz for premiere remote network monitoring and management for professionals. Featuring Container Station and QIoT Suite Lite, QBoat Sunny allows users to seamlessly manage and monitor IoT applications, devices, and data for a streamlined and highly efficient IoT development experience.

QBoat Sunny provides unprecedented processing and storage performance with its AnnapurnaLabs AL-314 processor, 2 GB RAM and two M.2 SATA SSD slots. In addition, QBoat Sunny is equipped with three 1000BASE-T ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A ports, and a M.2 slot for wireless module installation (2230 length). It can connect to versatile IoT development boards, devices, applications, and be used as a server for small-scale/private IoT applications. It can also serve as a fog computing node/gateway in large-scale/public IoT environments, fulfilling a wider range of IoT projects with complete functionality and an affordable price.

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