by Talmai Oliveira, Senior Scientist, IoT Labs, Team Lead
I got my first taste of a computer lab when I was eight years old. My mother was working on her Environmental Engineering doctorate and she used to take me with her to the university. I later went on to complete my BSc in computer science at the University of Bahia, an MSc in Mechatronics, and eventually a PhD in computer science and engineering.
All-round experience, focused value propositions
At university, I was active in the student-driven Junior Enterprise company, exploring different roles in marketing, sales and business management, and leading research projects. I then founded and ran my own start-up in Brazil for several years, mainly offering consultancy for research and development of software products and services. After that, I moved to the US to do my PhD at the University of Cincinnati.
I joined Philips Lighting in 2012, initially as a Member of the Research Staff in New York. Since then, the whole team has relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts where I have been a Senior Research Member since 2014. The groups I lead work on two aspects of lighting research: data analytics, and the development of new features and services using the Internet of Things (IoT). Our main focus is on urban outdoor spaces, and how to use data to find insights and solutions that will improve product performance and provide innovative services. I also manage the IoT Labs team, whose main goal is to help other teams to leverage various devices, data feeds, large-scale datasets and social networks, to create new value propositions for our customers.
The magic of lighting
A phrase I’ve often heard since joining Philips Lighting is that everything we see, everything we do, and most of what we feel is affected by lighting. When you think about it, lighting significantly increases the length of our days and our productivity – without it, we would have very limited time for daily activities. It means a lot to me that my ideas and research can have an impact on how people live. At first, the lighting industry may seem rather boring, but it actually affects everyone on a daily basis. Not only is it really important, but it’s also exciting to work on. It’s everywhere; magically scalable to the world we live in.
Within the IoT Labs, I’m helping to create a team that can build, test, and pilot new innovations, so that the team can grow and support numerous projects. We’re a multicultural, multidisciplinary team of analysts, developers, circuit builders, and systems architects. We have scientists with backgrounds in data analytics, control theory, artificial intelligence, deep learning, as well as business architects who can quantify our propositions. As a result, we’re generating tools for indoor and outdoor lighting where our insights help identify the real value of an idea for global roll-out. In one of our current projects, we’re partnering with a major metropolitan area to look at the complicated problem of guaranteeing safety at traffic intersections.
As a husband, and father of a 2-½-year-old boy, I’ve chosen not to travel very much. My team is diverse and flexible enough to cover the various conferences we need to attend. As someone who enjoys his work, I’m free to manage my own time so that I can be with my family. Philips Lighting is good in that respect; while we are a normal lab, most of the working day is very flexible and we can work from home if necessary. Face-to-face contact is always best for a fast communication, of course, but we constantly use online communication as well. Overall, it’s a mellow environment, but with a certain urgency: we can’t afford to sit back and relax!
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