CTO of OLX, the largest customer-to-customer resell platform in Indonesia, Rendra Toro is an Intel® Software Innovator interested in Internet of Things and Machine Learning. With a lifelong interest in computers and programming that he is passing on to his kids, Rendra shares with us how he got his start in technology and what he’s working on today.
Tell us about your background.
I studied Mechatronics in university, learning a lot about robotics and Artificial intelligence where I started playing around with microcontrollers. I‘ve been working with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) as part of my job since 2001. In 2008 I started to develop mobile applications that related to the corporate application base. I still enjoy playing around with microcontrollers; my hobby is to try crazy ideas and see what I can do with them.
With all of the Internet of Things (IoT) hype, I think this is the time to play with bigger design of products connected to the internet. Previously I only worked with robotics that connected to WAN, MAN or LAN of corporate networks. And those robots were only working on assembly or the packaging process in manufacturing. When you start taking internet connection into consideration, your start to think about a lot of things that can be managed as IoT. One of the most interesting things to me with IoT is are the smart home solutions that are already being implemented in various devices.
What got you started in technology?
I have a friend, and when we were in 3rd grade at primary school, he had a passion for microcontrollers. He taught me a lot about how to use solder, play with printed circuit boards (PCB), and figuring out which resistors and transistors were needed for the circuit.
My father worked as librarian in the agricultural ministry and on weekends he would take me to the office so I could play around with his office PC. After a few months he bought me a simple Intel® 80286 PC so I could start learning about computers and programming. I also had a cousin that had a lot of knowledge about computer programming and I was able to learn about GW-Basic and Q-Basic from him.
The combination of electronic circuits and programming I grew up with has led me to have me a passion for IoT and Machine Learning today.
What projects are you working on now?
At work, we have a few things that need to implement Machine Learning to get faster operation times and more insight for our business intelligence. The hardest thing has been to get our team onboard to try TensorFlow for machine learning, and convince them that this tool is good. Some of them don’t have a technical background as a coder, but they have a willingness to learn which is an important part of our team dynamic is.
Tell us about your role with Dirakit.
I’m the CTO of Dirakit, where I teach and create content for training classes on IoT and Machine Learning. I also speak on these topics at conferences on behalf of Dirakit. We have our own team to manage and maintain the dirakit.com website, all related to technology stack we use for the website I manage.
What trends do you see happening in technology in the near future?
I think there will be more automated tasks, and the ‘smart’ home, office and manufacturing trend will grow. I don't know yet, but I believe it will make our lives more fun because we will have more time for family and enjoying life. And I think in the future, deep learning will be a very popular topic for innovators.
Outside of technology, what type of hobbies do you enjoy?
I'm father of 2 sons and 1 daughter. My elder son is an enthusiastic game developer, he started learning the whole concept in primary school, and I’m proud of him. In addition to still playing around with microcontrollers, I love spending time with my family, watching movies, playing games, and going swimming.
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