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“Our graphics systems combine supercomputer power with powerful integraation capabilities”

Jansen Ek, Vice president, SGI Asia=Pacific
Email: [email protected]

“Our graphics systems combine supercomputer power with powerful integraation capabilities”

Jansen Ek, vice president, SGI Asia-Pacific, talks of his company’s strength in the field of image processing and geo-spatial solutions.

    • SGI Geospatial Exploitation System (GES)
      Our new Geospatial Exploitation System (GES) is a highly scalable group workstation built around our ccNUMA high-bandwidth multiprocessor architecture and the SG Onyx2 InfiniteReality2ª system, which has unrivaled image generation capabilities.

      What is innovative is that in the GES, graphics systems are directly connected to computation and storage systems. This eliminates the need for constant downloads, a common gripe concerning existing systems. The GES can also be configured with hardware and software from industry-leading vendors to meet any needs in image analysis, photogrammetry, GIS, cartography, or videography.

    • SGI TM Reality Center
      Our SGI TM Reality Center TM facilities are a seamless integration of hardware and software technologies used for immersive, collaborative visualization. Immersive visualization configurations are a recent development, and our Reality Centre already has the facilities that enable the creation and use of these interactive, multisensory, three-dimensional environments.
  • Readers of GISdevelopment.net would like to know about the strength of SGI in geo-spatial technology.
    Basically, our graphics systems combine supercomputer power (bandwidth, throughput and processing), with powerful integration capabilities. This enables photographic data from image processing, remote sensing and satellite-derived sources to be delivered as high-resolution, 3D world models that can be presented and managed in real time.

    SGI graphics systems are not only powerful, they are also cost-effective. Consider our Onyx2 Graphics System. This marvel is a commercial, off-the-shelf computer system. Yet, we’ve managed to make it powerful enough to provide real-time image processing in the new emerging commercial one-meter high-resolution geographic imaging market.

    The Onyx2 system is capable of maintaining full 12-bit RGBA or 16-bit luminance images throughout the entire image-processing pipeline. Within the image pipeline, Onyx2 can perform 7×7 convolutions and bicubic interpolations to preserve image quality right out to the monitors’ gamma LUTs. This is real quality and precision graphics computing. Combine this with the processing power of system’s graphics pipe, and you can see that the Onyx2 is the highest quality and highest performing COTS graphics system available today.

  • As the leading company in providing solution on Image Processing worldwide, what specific product or solution do you have for GIS industry?
    There are two specific solutions that come to mind.
  • In a recent statement of Robert Bishop, CEO, SGI, he said, “the entire focus is being brought back to home ground which is scientific, engineering, technical and content computing.” What impact do you foresee this shift of focus will have on your product users from geo spatial industry?
    In SGI, we have defined geospatial applications as coming under the auspices of technical computing. We have not forgotten the industry. Our focus on scientific, engineering, technical and content computing will enable powerful and innovative product for this industry.
  • How important is Asia-Pacific market in general and India in particular, for SGI?
    The Asia Pacific market is the fastest growing market in the world. Naturally, it is a very important market to SGI. One thing you will note for the Asia-Pacific is that it is vast and fragmented geographically. On top of this, infrastructure development activities, for example, road construction and the deployment of power stations, are still not very extensively undertaken in the Asia Pacific.

    Based on these factors, we believe that GIS technology will be deployed heavily in the Asia Pacific. The same qualities apply to India, a vast country – GIS will be heavily utilized here.

  • It is said that Asia-Pacific market is price sensitive. Please comment.
    For mass-market IT consumer products, price sensitivity is an important factor, and I don’t believe this is true only of the Asia-Pacific. However, customers at the higher end of the computing market are concerned not with price per se, but with the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This is a combination of the price of components, the kind of support provided, robustness of the system, ability to meet needs, and the like. SGI is committed to develop products that help reduce TCO,
  • How would you justify the high cost of your products?
    SGI systems are the industry leader for Image Processing because they have superior scalability, computing and graphical power, enabling them to address our customers’ specific industry needs. SGI also has a philosophy of constantly seeking innovation and increased capabilities. So, for example, we have made a concerted effort into the Linux platform market with our development of an IA-64 platform, to push the boundaries for this platform because we see its great potential. You will continue to see this philosophy being the driving force behind the products that we roll out.
  • In a recent interview with indiainfoline.com you mentioned about setting up of “Graphic Research Centres” in India. Will these centres incorporate geo-spatial solution as well?
    India is a very important market for us at SGI. We are still in the midst of working out the details, but suffice it to say at this point that we plan to engage in increased Research and Development activities in India, and yes, these will incorporate activities pertaining to Geo-spatial technology as well.
  • What should the GIS industry expect from SGI in five years time?
    The GIS industry can expect more innovative technology from us that possess the same qualities that our customers have come to associate with SGI: higher bandwidth, greater scalability, increased processing and graphical power.
  • What role do you think that Internet and hence the GISdevelopment.net can play in bridging the technological gap between the developing and developed countries.
    The Internet is a powerful leveler of opportunity. It has the power to break down geographical, economic, political and social boundaries. Consider the following:
    • Companies are scrambling to leverage on the Internet to help their business processes, from back-end operations right up to Customer Relationship and Supply Chain Management.
    • Computing power is rapidly increasing and becoming increasingly cheaper.
    • The Internet is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.

    What this says to me is that the ability of the Internet to deliver increasingly varied and sophisticated information, tools and knowledge, and its ability to reach an increasingly wider range of audiences, will continue to grow.

    In the GIS arena, I believe GIS portals and GIS ASPs will enable people to have access to tools that may currently be too expensive for them to purchase. This is something that we are beginning to see in the applications provider market – the idea of applications as services that people pay to use, not to buy. I believe this will be an increasingly common market offering as the power of the Internet to streamline and integrate diverse avenues, sources and channels of information becomes increasingly more powerful and commonplace.

    We at SGI believe that Internet will be one of the most important tools, if not the most important tool, for the delivery of media information such as GIS. We have coined a term for this phenomenon, this convergence of e-commerce and the media. We call it ‘Media-commerce’, and we expect to see more and more of it.

  • “Great Looks!”, GISdevelopment.net on behalf of its readers would like to compliment SGI on hardware products’ innovative and breathtaking looks. Is it because, SGI system is supposed to stand apart from the crowd, or because it adds to the ergonomics?
    Our products are designed to address and relate most directly to human characteristics, needs and interests. This requires a special understanding of visual, tactile, safety and convenience criteria, in all these considerations putting the user first in mind.

    Design engineers are fond of describing what they do as adding “passion”, “emotion”, “friendliness”, and “comfort” to a product, and I consider this an accurate statement. What goes into the design of ‘friendly’ devices contributes to the total experience of using those devices.

    Crucially, ‘friendly’ devices require co-operation between engineering, marketing, and industrial design people to improve their ‘look’ and ‘feel’. We at SGI believe that we develop products that respond in important ways to our customers’ needs, with the net result that they generally sell better in the marketplace.