Irida Labs | Interview with Thomas Charisis, Digital Strategy Director


Irida Labs is powering Computer Vision based AIoT sensors and solutions, helping companies around the world develop scalable vision-based solutions. The company provides AIoT-optimized embedded vision software using computer vision and deep learning, transforming bounding boxes into real-world vision applications. Today, we interviewed Thomas Charisis, the digital strategy director of the company. Thomas joined Irida Labs as a Marketing Manager, responsible for coordinating the company’s marketing efforts spearheaded by its digital marketing activation. His experience ranges from digital marketing, and web project management to startup growth and sales engineering. Here's what he told us. 

Tell us a few things about Irida Labs. How did it all start and what exactly does the company offer?

The idea of Irida Labs was conceived by three fellow students of the Department of Physics at the University of Patras, Vassilis Tsagaris – Nikos Fragoulis – Christos Theocharatos, during their PhD studies in Digital Image Processing and Embedded Systems. The three old-time friends decided to join forces and their passion for Computer Vision into something tangible while staying in Greece despite the country’s turbulent times back in 2009.  

A lot of ground has been covered since then. Today, Irida Labs growing team counts 25 talented Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Embedded Software engineers, with a shared mission to help companies around the world develop scalable vision-based solutions. Through strong partnerships with world-class leaders and Fortune 500 companies, such as HikVision, Intel, Renesas Electronics, Analog Devices, Qualcomm, Arrow, ARM, Irida Labs has built an ecosystem capable of holistically supporting even the most challenging computer vision applications. 

Irida Labs' product called, is a unique end-to-end software and services platform to deploy Computer Vision & AI at scale, has been spearheading the company’s product portfolio, powered by 6+2 USPTO patents under its hood. Based on people, vehicle, and object detection, identification, tracking, and 3D pose estimation, it allows the deployment of a wide range of solutions in Smart Cities, Industry 4.0, and Retail. 

What differentiates you from the rest of the industry? What value do you bring to the clients and partners?

Since we are one of the earliest adopters of Vision AI worldwide, we have soon realized that despite the plethora of open-source resources on ML and CV algorithms, there is a significant lack of cross-domain expertise and coordination - some companies do good data ML but are not strong in computer vision, while embedded edge HW expertise is scarce. Furthermore, there is significant fragmentation in the systems involved for a successful Vision AI Product Development, whereas deploying thousands of Vision AIoT devices is a complicated task, requiring full software and orchestration infrastructure. This is a fact commonly discovered too late in the process. According to McKinsey & Company, a whopping  74% of Vision AI PoCs do not scale! 

Our unique and innovative offering is our holistic approach; providing end-to-end Vision AI infrastructure that involves Optics and Hardware, Edge Software, Data Management, Edge Device Orchestration, Agile Expertise, Metadata & Analytics, ML Code, APIs, OTA, Testing, Customization - and the list goes on., our end-to-end software and services platform helps us overcome the cross-industry problem and opportunity of scaling Vision AI and deliver complete, easily implemented, scalable solutions with very fast time-to-market.

What would you consider your greatest challenge so far?

Trust in the new paradigm of Computer Vision AI is one of the main challenges we face. Camera systems can be more than just “eyes.” With billions of cameras deployed in embedded applications, storing huge numbers of images or video is no longer a viable way forward.  All that makes sense is the AI-extracted information and how it can be further processed to take decisions and actions in real time. The most pioneering companies such as Tesla, Amazon, and Boston Dynamics, are already pioneering the domain. However, the world is still far from the widespread adoption of Vision AI.
What are the biggest learnings from your journey so far?

Our journey so far has taught us that enjoying the ride, having fun, and pursuing your passion and values while sharing all these with amazing people, can be some of the greatest motivating factors that can get you out of challenging situations and one step closer to success!


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