How will technology change the value of your company?
A huge thank-you to all who attended the Technology and Innovation Forum event that we sponsored last week. Feedback was wonderfully positive, not only for the interesting speakers, but the very different ambience provided by the alternative venue, Centre VR – note the unusual lighting! We were left in no doubt that AI will be transforming business, work and everyday life in general. Our appreciation goes to Dorset Chamber for running the event and especially Ian Girling, CEO and the morning’s host, and Vicki Hailes, Events Manager who made it all happen.
It was succinctly put: “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.”
It’s clear that if we don’t proactively apply new technologies, it will be applied to us and our business.
Justin Levine, MD TheNonExec, took us on a whistle stop tour of some of the world’s more fascinating innovations. Looking at how technology is already disrupting business models right now, Justin provided examples of how robotics will potentially transform the coffee service industry by removing the need for baristas – see the innovative Ratio here…He discussed how Adidas is bringing production back from south-east Asia to their new robotic “Speedfactory” in Germany, and how AI is being used at German e-commerce company Otto to predict 90% of customer demand. His summary was that assessing technology and innovation should be a permanent Board focal point for any SME.
Gary Groves, Controls & Automation specialist from Schneider Electric, talked about digital transformation in industry. Specifically, how unstoppable technology advancements would impact the demand for electricity. Schneider Electric predicts that urbanisation is expected to increase the number of people in cities by 2.5 billion by 2050, estimating there would be 50Billion ‘connected things’ through industrialisation. They are working on how we could satisfy this 50% additional demand through smarter and more efficient energies.
Paul Tansey, MD of Intergage, looked at the subject from the perspective of sales and marketing. The new automated, machine-learning, self-serviced sale funnel can attract and engage, inform & educate the buyer right through to a decision, sale and beyond. And all this 24/7, even while you sleep! Citing the potential demise of sales people in companies, he gave us a glimpse of the future through genius analytics and machine learning. He simply blew our minds when he showed demonstrations of how sophisticated AI is currently, with live outward bound calls made by a Google AI posed as a human and clearly not detected!
The take away key one question Amazon asks its Executives every year is:
“How are YOU planning to use machine learning?” It’s certainly a topic high on our agenda for our non-exec roles. We suggest you be like Amazon and keep asking…BUT we wouldn’t stop at just once a year or keep the debate exclusively to the executives. Surely it’s the youngsters in a company who are not only at the cliff face with personal relationships with your clients but they are the ones who are also dab hands at integrating technology themselves who might even suggest the best ideas. So make it a priority and explore what’s possible.
The talks sparked an engaged and lively discussions in the following Q&A session. It was a shame not to have had the bandwidth for further break out groups where we, for sure, could have deliberated all day!
This is the first in a series of four Innovation and Technology events we are sponsoring via Dorset Chamber. Do not miss out of the future ones, please register your interest with us or keep en eye on the Dorset Chamber diary of events.