Disruptive Forces – Mobile & Artificial Intelligence – Guest Post by Daniel Rowles

Short Term: Mobile and Retail

Mobile technologies will completely transform the world of retail in the very short term. If I can walk in to a store, be immediately recognised by beacon and my existing account data, a whole lot of interesting things can happen. Combine this with new display technology that allows multiple viewers to see different things on the same screen based on viewing angle, and the instore experience can be fully customised. Add the tagging of all products via NFC or similar and my online and in-store experience can be fully integrated and interactive. Why would I shop in a store that doesn’t immediately know my likes and preferences, my shopping history and can offer me exclusive and personalised offers and experiences? The exciting thing about this, is the technology is already here and its just a matter of integration that needs to be fixed.

Medium Term: Artificial Intelligence

Google has been building the technology to achieve huge leaps in artificial intelligence since they started building their search algorithm. The Big Data technologies they have developed are needed to achieve the level of information processing to make truly useful artificial intelligence a reality and we are getting closer and closer to this reality. This will at the heart of transforming every industry. Computer intelligence will not be the same as human intelligence for a long time, but it will excel in some areas. Driving and medical diagnosis are two areas that in the very short term I’d rather trust a machine than a person. AI will also open up world of ethical questions, but starting to question the role of human intelligence and its fallibility can only be a good thing in my opinion.

Daniel Rowles futureproofDaniel Rowles, CEO Target Internet, Author of Mobile Marketing 
and Digital Branding

 

Different Digital Disruptions – Guest Post By Duncan Stewart

Technological change is almost always told as a story of destruction. A new thing is invented, and it crushes everything in its path. From Frankenstein’s monster terrorising villagers in 1818, through post-nuclear Godzilla stomping Tokyo flat, we have ended up in 2015 with Benedict Evans telling us that “mobile is eating the world.”

But is that view of technology, innovation, and disruption always true?

It sure is some of the time! From 2002 to 2015, US print newspaper ad revenues in constant dollars fell 78%, with a compound annual decline of almost 10%. Coin-operated arcade game revenue fell 89% between 1992 and 2015, again in constant dollars. The largest video rental company in the US went from $6 billion in revenues in 2004 to bankruptcy and zero revenues in 2010, at least in part due to streaming video on demand services. But that was a single company, not an entire industry: the real poster child for digital destruction is what happened to sales of recorded music after the MP3 file and the various players. From 1999 to 2015, US compact disc sales fell 92% in constant dollars.

Can you even imagine being in an industry where revenues – not profits, but revenues – fell 92%? Even Godzilla left more buildings standing!

Based on these examples, it is clear that growth in new technologies always means the end for old industries: digital destroys the old ways of doing news, games, video and music. Case closed.

Not so fast. Being able to read text on a screen has truly changed the world of print newspapers (not to mention print magazines, print directories and print catalogues.) One would therefore reasonably expect the same disruption to occur for print books. Famously, Nicholas Negroponte predicted in 2010 that print books would be dead in five years. Here it is in 2015, and not only are eBook sales stuck under 20% of all books purchased in the US, but sales are actually declining while print book sales are rising.

The gaming market is certainly influenced by new technologies. The rise of the smartphone, tablet and casual games has changed the market, with mobile games surpassing console games in 2015 and predicted to exceed PC games revenues in 2016. But although mobile will be the single largest gaming market, both console and PC games are still growing, up an anticipated five and six percent respectively in 2016. Further, although PC and console titles are not the only game in town (as it were), they will still represent over 60% of the global market in 2016; a far cry from the fate of coin operated arcade games.

Streaming video disruption led to boarded up video rental stores across North America and the largest player will have over 70 million subscribers in over 60 countries by the start of 2016. But what impact has streaming had on traditional TV in North America so far? Although there were fears that 20% of the nearly 100 million subscribers to pay TV service would cancel and ‘cut the cord’ as long ago as 2012, the actual decline was fewer than 170,000 subscribers in 2013 and 2014, and fewer than 10,000 subscribers in 2012. Or between 0.01% and 0.2%. Further, the monthly price paid for pay TV in the US is still rising, and even the number of minutes of TV watched daily has fallen by only seven percent from the peak (of 334 minutes of live and time-shifted TV per day) in 2013. The rise of streaming has had a negative effect on the traditional TV business, but it is orders of magnitude smaller than what happened to rental stores.

Finally, let’s go back to our digital destruction poster child: the music industry. The MP3 file didn’t just change CD revenues into some other kind of physical format revenues, or even into digital revenues, instead the growth and ease of piracy has caused ALL music sales to collapse, right? In fact, between 2008 and 2015 one US live music company saw its concert revenues grow 23% in constant dollars, or 2.8% annually. The digital trend that almost obliterated the CD industry a) didn’t seem to hurt live music at all, and b) may in fact have freed up consumer dollars for spending on live concerts.

Writing from Paris in 1913, Gertrude Stein said “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” She didn’t write it on a smartphone, and a century later I want to modify her quote: digital is not digital is not digital. The forces unleashed by innovation and disruption are not the universal and obliterating things that we imagine or read in the media. The same digital trend that is crushing print in many forms is leaving print books more or less intact. Live music is benefitting from piracy. Sometimes disruption destroys a traditional industry, sometimes it hurts it a bit, and sometimes it actually helps.

Duncan Stewart,
Director of Research at Deloitte Canada

The Disruption Via All Things Web-Enabled – Guest post by Jeremy Goldman

The Web-enabled Force is the most importance force. There, I said it.

It’s hard to imagine anything more important than the flexibility of the Internet accessed through a browser. The scary thing? We have quite a bit of untapped potential left with respect to the Web-enabled Force.

Let’s take a look at the facts, shall we?

For one, e-learning has barely reached the apex of its growth. With the rise of college tuitions sharply on the rise, options such as Khan Academy and Coursera will only continue to grow. This will put onus, eventually, on higher ed institutions to invest deeply in distance learning, as well as to increase the odds that the next captains of industry hail from unexpected circles that would have previously not had access to such education.

 Now in some ways, standing up for the Web-enabled Force as the most crucial force may be cheating, in a sense, and I’ll tell you why. Quite simply, the Web-enabled Force might be one of the most broad and expansive out of all the forces discussed in this book. It touches and layers over so many other forces, it’s hard to ignore its importance. 

For most busy white collar professionals, the Web-enabled Force affects them on not just a regular basis, but on a minute-by-minute basis. So much of our lives are impacted by being connected to the Web, that when Internet connectivity is temporarily lost, we don’t know what to do with ourselves. In fact, I recently encountered some competitors at a nearby agency bemoaning the fact that access to the Web was finally being brought to their underground subway line. They had previously used this time to catch up on offline reading, listen to audiobooks, and ruminate about the day ahead. Once they were Web enabled during their subway ride, their entire process changed in a heartbeat. So Web enablement isn’t always a force for good – but it’s certainly a disruptive one.

From an organizational perspective, so much needs to be done to take advantage of it properly. For example, one has to understand that while face to face connections won’t go away anytime soon – there’s a biological component to that – distance collaboration tools such as Slack for communications, Box for file sharing, and Asana for task management need to be adopted by companies in order to stay competitive. The organization that doesn’t appreciate how employee expectations have changed, all because of the Web-enabled Force, is not likely to succeed in the long run.

At the same time, organizations are not talking enough about the negatives that our always-connected society bring along with them. For example, knowledge workers often don’t know when to “unplug” metaphorically speaking and use their intellect to create unique value for their customers and clients rather than to reactively check their work email account every 5 minutes. 

Any discussion of the Web-enabled Force wouldn’t be complete without a discussion of social media, a form of communication that shouldn’t be underestimated. As a result of social media, we now have the ability to connect with people who we would have never had the ability to discover in previous generations. The Taipei-based entrepreneur looking to build the world’s first solar-powered hovercraft can now connect with a solar-obsessed investor – who’s also a hovercraft aficionado – located in Sao Paolo. The opportunities for this type of collaboration are endless.

 Moreover, previously enterprises might not have gotten off of the ground because of being unable to find the right raw equipment or materials, or they could not be procured at the right price. Thanks to our Web-enabled society, that’s no longer the case for most of society. B2B ecommerce has largely been solved by platforms such as Alibaba, while marketplaces such as Craigslist are not just valuable for small businesses, but for classifieds-style listings, including dating ads. Speaking of dating, apps and websites as diverse as eHarmony, Tinder, Match, and many others have transformed the concept of dating and marriage across many strata of society.

I’m not going to be so bold as to say the Web-enabled Force has barely tapped its potential; far from it. There has been so much transformation in our society due to Web-enablement that it’s hard to believe its impact will only continue to grow over time. One thing is certain: it is hard to imagine a force that could have more of an overall impact to our society from a social, experiential, and professional perspective.

Jeremy Goldman FutureproofJeremy Goldman, @jeremarketer

CEO and Founder of Firebrand Group, Author, and Keynote Speaker, Founder at Mosaic; Author at Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, & Energize Your Brand with the Power of Social Media

Inc Magazine & The Next Web (TNW) columnist

A Stream of Meaningfulness – Guest Post by Yu Du and Orlando Fernando

A Dialogue between Yu Du and Orlando Fernando

Yu and Orlando are the co-leaders of the Meaningfulness Movement. This dialogue was one of their many discussions that led to start of the movement.

The Essence

Orlando: Our search for meaning is not a luxury but a duty. For me, meaning is the substance of our joy and the expression of our power. We experience our humanity through meaning. We are the creator and inventor of our meaning; it’s a free choice, not an accident.

Yu: You are spot on about the essence of meaningfulness. We are the creator of our inner and outer worlds. Meaningfulness starts from the moment that we truly recognise the power within us and commit to take full responsibility for our life.

I’m struck by the fact that so many people are disengaged at work and feel unfulfilled in their lives. The crisis of meaning is spreading fast in our modern western society when we seem to have more freedom to define meanings than our ancestors. But why? I think one of the reasons is because we— as a society—have lost the ability to tap into the power of practical wisdom, which was one of the main functions of ancient philosophy.

Philosophy

O: Until the middle of the nineteenth century, philosophy was meant to help us. But then it deserted us. Philosophy no longer integrates knowledge and wisdom, and it’s become the servant of science and logic. Contemporary philosophers are busy writing articles aimed solely at academia. That exercise, however, lacks the power to offer any help toward the crisis.

Y: The failure of contemporary philosophy has prompted individuals to take more responsibilities for themselves: to think deeply and critically about their lives. We acquire wisdom through self-inquiry, through vigorous practice, through expansion of our awareness, through our intentions. That’s the ultimate source of meaningfulness. Earlier on we talked about the importance of recognition of our true power to create meanings. How do we start?

The first step: how not why

O: That depends on who we are and where we are at. One possibility is to find something that has meaning now, or that used to have meaning, and then ask the question of how it has or had meaning.

Not why, but how! Meaning is not a thing or object; it’s a process and a flow. The important thing is not to ask typical questions to “analyse” it, but to try to catch our mind in the process of creating. That’s the first step.

Y: The question of “how” is often overlooked. Some people assume that meaning is somehow hidden, and if we are lucky, it might show up and talk to us. However, if we look very carefully, and trace back to where the meaning was started, clearly it’s not from anywhere else: we are the creator of that meaning. So “how” is the first step to understand the way in which we make meaning, and to realise from our first-hand experience that we as individuals create meaning, no one else. With just this simple realisation, I believe we can create a big shift in many aspects of our lives.

O: Agree. I want to stress the point that meaning is a process. We need to “catch” the mind at the beginning of its creation, and be fully conscious of its dynamism and flow. Meaning is also about taking responsibility and learning how to do it better with greater sense of deliberation. It’s not just being mindful, much more than that.

Meaningfulness and Mindfulness

Y: Interesting that you mention about mindfulness! Mindfulness is about the expansion of our awareness. There is this misperception that “being aware” is enough. Well, I disagree. “Being aware” is just the starting point, and it doesn’t lead to change automatically; only when reflective awareness also takes place and we consciously make the choice to take action, then we see the real shift occurring. I think that’s the power of meaningfulness: it’s a complete process to truly express our creativity.

O: Yes! That’s a crucial point: meaningfulness is about creativity. It is not just observation, but also doing, changing, improving with enthusiasm and joy.

Meditation

Y: By no means is this an easy process. It requires tremendous patience, enthusiasm and consistent practise. I remember we talked in length about developing practical tools to help people in this process. I know you have been working on creating a meditation practise lately.

O: Meditation has become such a buzzword; it’s everywhere, but lots of people only understand it on a superficial level. Meditation is a state of consciousness. There is no better or worse form of meditation. In fact, every moment of our existence is an opportunity to become aware of the fact that we are in a meditative state. The skill of meditation is to direct the power of the mind in a chosen direction, or an object, or a condition.

“Meaningfulness Meditation” is a guided meditation with seven steps. It is designed to help people to enter into a meditative state by concentrating on meaning through the process of thought construction. By tapping into the power of the mind while in a state of concentration, insights and wisdom emerge, and it’s a very empowering experience.

 

Yu Du futureproofYu Du and Orlando Fernando started the Meaningfulness Movement to create a community with a mission: to create and live meaningful lives. They plan to grow the community through discussions, workshops, events, retreats, tears, laughter, silence and much more.

Entry Point—Ethical Hacking Goes Mainstream – Guest Post By Jennifer Arcuri

There’s a worldwide war underway, and without exception, every man, woman and child is under attack. Are you worried? Possibly, although it’s more likely that you’ll feel apathetic towards the vicious battle that surrounds you. Despite the prevalence, persistence, and devastating consequences of digital crime, as well as the constant peddling of a dystopian future on TV, radio, social media and film, many of us are happy – for now at least – to sleepwalk right through it. The speedy acceptance of the phrase “privacy is dead” sums up the collective apathy towards cyber security, a one-­‐way conflict that we are losing, badly.

It goes without saying that we – governments, corporates, and civilians – need to wake up. Binary constructs of ‘0’s and ‘1’s circulating in the cloud might appear innocuous, but in the wrong hands can severely damage, even obliterate, the very infrastructure upon which we rely for our day-­‐to-­‐day existence. Critical data, networking systems, security functions, can be deleted or changed in the momentary click of a return key.

We are living in a port driven society where almost every John and Jane in the first world, and much of the second, has a smart phone, PC, and tablet. All of these devices are connected in one single cloud, allowing each individual to function in their own telecoms network. But as technology becomes smarter, more connected, ever pervasive and proliferating, the risks to our personal security rise exponentially – it only takes one weak link in the chain for disaster to become a reality.

Are things really that bad?

Thankfully, people are starting to wake up to the fact that digital privacy and security is something to be valued and nurtured.

It may be that cyber crime is only just beginning to touch our everyday lives. For some reason, buried deeply in the human psyche, many of us think nothing of governments being hacked. Perhaps we believe it doesn’t really affect us. When familiar corporates, such as Target, eBay, PayPal, Anthem, get hacked, more people sit up and take notice – after all, these are companies we do business with everyday. Hacking is closer to home.

It’s not long before malicious hacks erase or manipulate normal citizens’ data. We live in a world that is increasingly driven by an online community. All of our devices link to an amorphous network. Our data is in the cloud. Health records, banking details, identities, all are vulnerable. Soon hacking victims will not only be those read about in the newspaper, but relatives, friends, work colleagues. You. Apathy has a price and the cost is becoming clearer.

In this new era of cyber crime, we’re all exposed, but most of us lack the appropriate protection or knowledge to combat the threat. When these networks get hacked (and they will be), the civilian population will get hurt, and governments, their agencies, and industry will be blamed.

Inaction is our worst enemy

Even as I write these lines, I find the subject of cyber security daunting to approach. But we can no longer be put off by great tasks or fear. The point of this essay must be made, and above all, heard.

I organise, manage and run tech events under the Innotech Summit brand. My team and I bring together leaders in the fields of technology, finance and politics to discuss the impact of a digital future and to action change. Content-­‐wise, it’s mostly awe-­‐inspiring, innovative, fun, and positive. But it’s not all good. There’s an undeniably nasty undercurrent of dread that goes hand in hand with technological progress – an anxiety that we can’t keep up with our own creations. People are concerned. And it’s not just the tech nerds and security agencies. The woman and man on the street are worried too.

That’s why cyber security is a recurring theme at all of my events. The fact that we can no longer hide from cyber threats is an open secret – but it’s getting late to address the issue.

We need an active defence strategy and soldiers on the front line – now. But the reality is that those with the power to employ skilled ‘soldiers’ and direct resources effectively are failing to do so. Is this inaction a manifestation of the paralysing fear of an encroaching cyber security doomsday? Perhaps. But my experience, gathered as a representative on numerous government trade missions and an attendee of some of the biggest international security events, tells me that it’s because those in power fear accountability for making the bold decisions necessary to take us towards a secure future.

A digital neighbourhood watch

My objective here is to highlight the importance of ethical hackers – of which there are many thousands around the globe – as well as hacking in general.

Hacking. A word capable of sending shivers down spines, disapproving looks across rooms, and eyebrows into furrowed foreheads. It’s a word that we need to revisit, because in an ethical context, hacking is capable of being the solution we so desperately need.

Let me explain.

There is great merit in empowering technically competent civilians to take notice of security threats, and a huge opportunity for the authorities to engage with them. But here lies the big misunderstanding – my experience of working with people on both sides of this divide demonstrates that all hackers are lumped into the same ‘vigilante’ category. Sadly, this means that the community spirit potential of a digital neighbourhood watch scheme is overlooked completely.

At a recent Innotech Summit event, Legislating Lulzsec, the ethics of hacking and what we are doing to better prepare the next generation of digital natives was discussed openly. The purpose was not to focus on the potential criminality of hacking, but to ask the question of whether we can use such skills to benefit and protect civilians, companies and governments. The resounding conclusion, unsurprisingly, was yes – that skilled individuals are the soldiers we need to work on the front line, helping people and organisations to identify and ‘patch’ (essentially, rectify) their cyber weaknesses in order to ensure a safe and secure digital presence.

The discussion then evolved into how we can engage, involve, and apply a network of digitally adept, ethically committed individuals to meet the skills deficit. And a deficit it most certainly is – the accelerating litany of security breaches in government and industry alike makes this clear and impossible to ignore.

We see the early signs now. Governments and branches of the military around the globe are recruiting elite cyber security troops. Unfortunately, they’re using the same approach that’s worked for the recruitment of Navy, Army and Air Force personnel — the mentality is that the ‘best of the best’ are corporate, conformist types that have graduated from MIT or Stanford.

The bulk of cyber talent, however, does not fit into such a limited category. Many of the real geniuses are kids who never finished school or college, thrive in online rather than offline communities, and shudder at the thought of desk jobs. As a result, recruitment targets are being missed. Moreover, the police and non-­‐military branches of those same governments are hell-­‐bent on criminalising, prosecuting, and imprisoning these types of hackers. While it is right to punish crime, we must focus on creating a culture that recognises and understands the hacker mind-­‐set, and provides opportunities for such talent to be directed towards something good – ethical hacking.

Hacking – the good, the bad, and the just plain wrong

But before we can even begin to fill the skills void, we must define – and defend – ‘ethical hacking’. This requires all previous taboo-­‐like notions of ‘hacking’, most of which spring from media-­‐hyped stories that revolve around bad guys stealing information and disrupting networks, to be packed up and put away. Indeed, ‘to hack’, as a verb, means to break into something – an undeniably negative connotation. But it’s time to draw a line in the sand, for hacking is not the same as ethical hacking, a compound noun which has a completely different meaning.

Let’s break it down. ‘Ethics’ – the easy one – can be defined as the discipline dealing with what is good and bad in the context of generally expected societal behaviour, an established line in what defines moral obligation. Quite simply, ‘ethics’ defines what is ‘right’ in any given situation.

The ‘hacking’ extension is more complex. There are many reasons to justify the ‘breaking and entering’ implied by hacking, and it’s easy to understand why it is considered illegal and wrong. The notion that all information should be free and that there is no such thing as intellectual property is no basis for justifying hacking. The system in which we live, and from which the majority benefit, would break down without IP protection.

Defining ethical hacking is a little more complex, of course. Some hackers say that they do no harm – they don’t hack to cause damage but to ‘have a go’ at system security work. This, it could be agued, is okay to an extent. There is even some validity in the oft-­‐claimed hacker motivation of ‘keeping big brother at bay’.

However, hackers that make use of idle time on the computers of others, even without looking at private data, have crossed the line. Such behaviour is clearly theft – remote intruders are not in a position to qualify whether another person’s system is being under or over used.

The ethical minefield gets worse from here. For example, there is a fundamental argument that says some computer break-­‐ins are in the interest of the public or greater good, and therefore justified (if not ethical) in the eyes of the hacker. To them, if they fail to take action on security threats, the software developer or network will not act, leading to further vulnerabilities that would inevitably cause greater destruction down the line.

There is a degree of justification to this argument – patching is critical. However the proper authorities need to be involved to ensure that data protection ethics are controlled and enforced (the problems here are who is responsible for controlling these authorities, and what happens when the only way to beat the bad guys is to… but we’ll save that for another day).

What is ethical hacking?

I define ethical hacking as the authorised search for the source of a problem with a moral obligation to patch the security vulnerability in the best interests of a client or system.

An analogy I often use to explain this is of a thug stabbing an innocent victim with a stiletto (a hacker) and a surgeon cutting a patient open in an operating theatre (an ethical hacker). Malicious hacking is carried out on an unwilling victim and can cause untold damage to a system. Ethical hacking, on the other hand, is undertaken with full approval and is designed to locate the source of a problem, or potential problem, to fix it.

To extend this metaphor, just like the surgeon is qualified, licensed, and under a moral and ethical duty to defend a patient’s life, an ethical hacker, whose programming and coding ‘qualifications’ are best gained through experience, should have the avenues available to be licensed to secure and defend systems in the ever-­‐growing cloud – a cloud that no longer contains computers, but phones, cameras, door locks, light switches, baby monitors, glasses…(the impact of have one’s home hacked by the bad guys is truly terrifying).

Ethical hackers understand their place in a rapidly changing society and know that being part of the humanity collective requires being responsible for their actions and decisions on-­‐ and off-­‐line. They are best placed to protect us, since they understand better than anyone else what happens when everything is connected.

The solution is to promote ethical hacking and support ethical hackers, while encouraging a paradigm shift in the attitude toward it. We can only build and execute a defensive strategy to fight cyber criminals by being offensive, and this entails bringing in those who ‘do what the bad guys do’, but wear white hats while doing it. And public policy needs to embrace them, to give out the Sheriff’s deputy badge.

Your country needs you

Every computer has around 60,000 ports. Ports are like entryways and doors to a home. Some of which admit more traffic than others. Who has keys to the house? What happens when someone breaks in? Which doors are vulnerable? Can the house be made more secure by a home security expert or the police?

We urgently need ethical hackers to be on the look out for digital vulnerabilities (with complete authorised permission, of course) so that they can be patched before the bad guys get in. Those in government and industry must ensure that every civilian is aware of the threats that surround them, is educated in basic security and able to run system scans, and has access to ethical hackers.

This means that we need to raise, educate, and train generations of #digitalnatives –the momentum and intensity required to actively keep up with cyber security threats ensures that we have no option. The principles of ethical hacking must be taught to kids everywhere, in the same way that road safety is instilled from an early age. Universities and after school groups should be encouraged and incentivised to organise ethical hacker clubs – places where its cool to learn and practice ethical hacking. In short, public policy, security, and academic institutions need to promote, support, and enable ethical hackers.

We cannot give up the fight for cyber security. The lifetime efforts and struggles –career, family, savings, work – of everyday people can be wiped out in a moment without it. We must respect and value this information to the maximum extent possible within the data constructs. We continue to live in a society where the integrity of information is assured in order to maintain and encourage investment.

If we ignore the threat, we will soon be living in a society where concatenating disasters will drive hurried and urgent attention to cyber security knowledge as one of the pillars of education in a modern digital society. If we start now, we can smooth the path. Let’s start now. Let’s start training our digital natives to respect the Internet, the cloud, what’s visible in the browser… and what’s behind it.

Governments? Are you listening?

 

Jennifer Arcuri futureproof cyber securityJennifer Arcuri, Founder, The Hacker House
@jennifer_arcuri

 

Disruption Via Big Data Analytics – Guest Post By Lutz Finger

Disruption is a big word. I see many startups that want to be ‘disruptive’. But very rarely we see disruption happening suddenly. Big changes do not happen over night. A lot of industries are about to change due to data. We saw in the last 10 years a lot of advancements in the way how we store and process information. This has created the potential for change by predicting the future. Data by itself is useless but using pattern many companies aim to improve their business or to create even a disruptive idea. For disruption to happen we will need two main parts:

  1. Data is king. Yes, the internet has changed the retail industry but more important it has created a competitive barrier to enter. The world will be soon divided between companies who have data and companies who have not. We will see private equity funds coming that focus only on buying data-heavy assets as well as the revival of the utility companies as they discover their data assets. (Boring is the new sexy)
    Lutz Finger Big Data Analytics
  2. Mindshift – or an broken and ineffective system. Incumbents often have a great headstart with data, but they do not use it – thus others do. Why did google buy Nest? To get data access into your house. Why didn’t the Utility companies install smart devices at the home? They did not know that they could have this data or that data can be useful.

The Media industry has changed! The retail industry has change! The Education sector is changing! Which industry will be next? Looking at VC money. The healthcare sector. It fits the structure: there is a lot of data and a broken system.

By Lutz Finger

@LutzFingerlutzfinger.com

Lutz Finger futureproofLUTZ FINGER is Data Scientist in residence at Cornell University and author of the book “Ask Measure Learn”. He is an authority on data analytics and teaches at Harvard Business School a course about Data Driven Thinking. As director at LinkedIn he oversees internal data products as well as LinkedIn’s Economic Graph Challenge.

LUTZ is a highly regarded technology executive and a popular public speaker on business analytics. As co-founder and former CEO of Fisheye Analytics, a media data-mining company, he supported governments and NGOs with data insights. Fisheye Analytics was acquired by the WPP group.

He serves as an advisor at several data-centric corporations in the United States and publishes a Forbes Column. He has an MBA from INSEAD, as well as an MS in quantum physics from TU Berlin (Germany).

How Disruptive Is Climate Change? Guest post by Giles Gibbons

Let’s start with a definition of Climate Change: for me, I describe it as the reduction of resources used by a company in order to create a sustainable business. As such, I think that Climate Change is not a disruptive force, at least not as a standalone item. It is only when it’s linked to other forces that the disruption occurs. For instance, Uber is a tech disruptor first that comes with a massive impact on climate change. Over the years, we have seen that attitudes with regard to climate change have been very slow in evolving. Recycling has grown in a fairly uniform way over the past 15-20 years. Yes, we see climate change entering into the psyche and business plans, but it is not a disruptive manner. If there is disruption, it comes because Silicone Valley companies have disrupted an industry and, as a by-product, there has been an impact on climate change. If climate change is about using ever less resources in a more astute and efficient manner, it is an ever-present challenge for businesses. We are not just referring to saving environmental resources; but, we are looking at reducing water bills, electricity costs, etc. It’s an evolutionary and ongoing business challenge.

When we look at the Silicone Valley innovations that have made such waves in various industries, the business models are being disrupted and, in many cases, we have been receiving a major windfall for climate change. The point is that, while many of these initiatives are climate change positive, very few start out with Climate Change as the disrupting fuse. [my term!] Maybe Elon Musk’s Tesla is the best counter example. However, for the most part, the corollary is that there is a lot more money floating around for investments in social impact.

On the side of CSR, employees and clients are both aware. However, it is rarely critical to the decision-making. CSR is a component, but an ever reducing part, in our experience. At Nike, for example, it is the CFO who has taken charge of CSR, where it is all about driving a sustainable business. The equation leads with resource and cost reduction. Afterwards, such actions contribute to a positive image for the company. I like to say that CSR provides a broad hue from the consumers’ perspective.

To the extent I am positive about the human being’s power to solve problems, I think that we will come up with solutions for the challenges of climate change and finite natural resources. For example, we see that solar power energy will become two times more powerful within the next 24 months. With the same timeframe, energy storage will become 10x more effective. These advancements will of course bring with them other challenges, but from a business perspective the need to reduce energy costs will remain similarly pertinent over the long term.

Bottom line, we are already on a positive journey with regard to climate change. There will be iconic moments that may alter and shape the narrative, but the need to adapt to climate change is old news. Any potential disruption will occur first and foremost for businesses that are directly in energy. Secondly, there are complementary businesses — such as transportation — that rely heavily on the consumption of these energies.

Giles Gibbons futureproof climate changeGiles Gibbons, CEO and Founder of Good Business, author of “Good Business: Your World Needs You” (on Amazon)

The Technology Based Restaurant – Guest post by Giles Morgan

The low hum was faint at first, slowly getting louder the more you concentrated on the sound, until eventually the black object broke over the horizon at first looking like a Blackhawk helicopter from a Hollywood blockbuster movie, then as it moved in a regimented fashion up and down the vines, its identity was revealed as a drone. Creating wine used to be about experience, gut-instinct and soil to name a few things guaranteeing a successful crop. Now its sensors, data, software and of course drones. Fitted with multispectral and visual sensors, these Drones collect multitudes of data determining the health of the vineyard (e.g. Crop Vigor) whilst on the ground, other sensors monitor temperature and soil. When the process gets to the bottling stage, an NFC (near-field communication) label is produced and placed on the bottle to be read throughout the supply chain from producer to logistics through customs and then to wholesale and finally the restaurant.

The restauranteur checks her cloud-based online platform and sees a visual representation of her food and wine stock supply chain. Three days previous, she had ordered a resupply of exotic ingredients for her head chef and can see where those supplies are in real-time on her interactive map. A warning notification pops up on her SiteSage Energy & Asset Management system alerting her that the temperature in one of the freezers in the restaurant kitchen is decreasing and that she has three hours to move supplies to another unit. Given that Restaurants use up to three times more energy than traditional commercial enterprises, the restauranteur is pleased to see that she has saved 10% energy in the last quarter. Sensors in the fridges allow her to see that there is enough spare capacity in the remaining fridges and organises for the food to be moved.

The restaurant manager arrives and fires up his Microsoft MICROS mTablet. He views analytical data on the previous day’s trading through the EPOS system. He then checks out the real-time view of the restaurant bookings for the day and sees several tables available during the first cover, at the click of a button, he pushes a marketing campaign into the Open Table mobile application to drive bookings. He analyses the evening reservations and wait lists, as well as the sales and inventory data. He uses the insights from this data to automatically update his staff coming in for the lunchtime session, a notification is also autonomously pushed to a group of temporary waitresses via the restaurants mobile employee app offering a shift this evening. The manager receives an almost instant notification from Sarah (a temporary waitress registered on the employee app) and the shift is confirmed back to her.

All the servers in the restaurant are equipped with mobile devices that can send orders directly to the kitchen. The craft beer and wine bottles (including the wine bottles from the vineyard) arrive and are lined up in the bar. The restaurant uses SteadyServ iKeg for managing their array of beers. Sensors attached to each keg tracks the type and style of beer, when it was delivered to the restaurant, when it was opened and of course when it will run dry. Spirits in the restaurant use smart spouts from BarVision that helps provide data insight from each pour. Everything is precisely monitored and integrated with EPOS (Electronic Point of Sales) systems.

On arrival from the logistics courier, each box is scanned and the data is uploaded to the cloud. Instant personalised emails are sent to relevant customers booked in for today offering them the chance to pre-order their favourite beer or wine before arriving, the drink list is automatically produced for the bar tender so that a seamless customer experience is created. A further email will be automatically sent to the customer after their evening offering them the opportunity to purchase a case of the wine or craft beer they enjoyed.

The doors open for lunch; every day when the doors open a bot fires a tweet to all the restaurants followers on Twitter with a link to today’s menu and a few special offers targeted at filling unsold tables over the next 7 days.

Customers start to arrive and as usual, people change their mind around which tables to sit at, the waitress checks her mobile tablet and with the swipe of a finger moves the customer to another table automatically rearranging the tables which don’t already have customers.

The couple sit down and use their mobile phones and apps such as Secret DJ to request their favourite music during their meal, requests are queued on the restaurants sound system and played in order, falling back on a playlist should there be a lack of requests.

Their drinks arrive immediately as they have already pre-ordered. The waitress hands the customers their mini slim line tablets which act as their menu’s. With every order, the menu is automatically updated removing customer disappointment if a particular item has sold out, in fact they won’t even know as it is silently removed from the screen.

According to Gartner, 6.4 Billion connected devices will be in use in 2016 with a staggering 5.5 million devices connecting every day and this will reach 20.8 billion devices by 2020. The Internet of Things (IoT) will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016. Finally, by 2020 Gartner believes more than half of Major New Business Processes and Systems will incorporate some element of the Internet of Things.

Exciting times lie ahead with the use of IoT in many industries, that’s for sure. However, not without its dangers especially around security, and with so many devices connected comes the opportunity for hackers to use these devices to launch DDoS attacks which we have already seen in 2016. In addition to this, it’s important to remember the importance of having a robust management platform to monitor and support these large scale connected networks.

As a technologist and innovator, I’m excited by this revolution, if it also removes the disappointment of a corked bottle of wine or helps me discover new foods then even better. Chin! Chin!

 

Giles Morgan futureproofGiles Morgan,
Global Digital Leader |
Global TAS at EY ‘Misfit & Innovator’ M&A

The Power Of The Internet Of Things – Guest post by Jim Hunter (@theiotguru)

The term Internet of Things (or IoT) was coined in 1999.  Just what does this super generic moniker mean?  Literally, it means that physical devices are beginning to connect to the Internet.  If you think about that for a few seconds, technically that is what the Internet is. Physical devices connected together through a common network. The physical devices or “things” of the internet have been servers, routers, switches and all forms of connected compute devices. From that perspective, IoT, is the redefinition of what an internet thing is. More specifically, IoT is a redefinition of what a connected compute device is. The vast majority of theses new IoT connected computer devices will be sensors. Sensors that read, measure, collect and digitize the world around us.

Creating context

The reason sensors are so important is because they provide context. Today the most important devices to create context are those we carry with us. These include our mobile devices and in some cases wearable devices, that are loaded with sensors local to us.

Soon the most important devices will be those around us. In the near future, thousands of sensors will be fixtures in our environment that emit contextual data messages. These sensors will broadcast their contextual identifiers available that answer the questions of who, where, what, when and why to applications that are personal to you.  Sensors will measure and broadcast information about position, health, energy, radio strength climate, traffic, vibration, stress, noise, light … basically anything that can be measured and has value to mankind will be measured.  That measured information will be broadcast over a short distance to mobile devices that are within range.  For any given moment in time, a detailed digital picture of you and your surroundings can be captured for your private applications to consider.

IoT privacy issues

The personal and private nature of your data and identity require this design, as opposed to your device broadcasting its presence to other devices. This also means that creating informational infrastructure that works hand in hand with applications on personal devices is the future of the IoT, and a massive opportunity. This is not new. Essentially, this is how GPS location works. The GPS satellites broadcast small information messages that include their identity and the time. It is up to the personalized location devices to make those messages usable for a consumer. This design is also appearing in shopping situations, where stores broadcast location-specific RFID (Radio Frequency ID) to tell listening apps where products are in a store, and the application then converts those messages into product location information and related purchase deals for the user.

It is important to understand that there are a variety of ways to maintain security and privacy, even for the broadcasting RFID.  For example, a given ID could actually be an abstracted hash.  To make sense of an abstracted hash, the application would have to pass the hash to a decoder.  This decoder may be in a cloud or fog service.  The decoder may require authentication to decode the hash to the actual information pertaining to the RFID. This authenticated lookup also allows a given RFID, to decode into different information, depending on the authentication level of a given user.  For example, a teenager may get different information from an RFID than a parent or head of household may from the same RFID with the same application.  Most importantly, a given RFID may return completely different information, if decoded by completely different services.  For example, consider RFID 0088776655AB.  This RFID may decode to a value that results in displaying a fire hydrant for an emergency fire fighters Heads Up Display (HUD).  As well, the same RFID may decode to a no parking zone in a traffic application.  It may also decode as an obstruction warning for a person who is sight challenged.  Different apps can process the same IoT surroundings differently, which will enable a massive new wave of value add applications.

The above example, is just one of many of the value propositions of IoT.  With IoT, we are giving a voice to an unprecedented number of things that can measure every aspect of our world.  These things will provide context like we have never known before.  They will answer the questions of who, where, what, when and why.

jim hunter futureproof IOTJim Hunter,
Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems Inc.,
@theiotguru on Twitter

 

 

The Burgeoning Landscape of Localization Tools and Smartphones – Guest post by Anne Bezançon

For the first time in human history, every movement in the physical world can be identified, recorded and analyzed through our mobile phones, smartwatches, fitness trackers and soon smart-tattoos and implants. This fundamentally changes our relationship to ourselves and others because “digital” and “physical” are now merging, providing a completely new source of data and analysis, and ultimately a higher-fidelity representation of who we are.

The expected impact of localization tools

The impact of these capabilities goes way beyond their initial application to maps and navigation or even geofence marketing. We are exploring use-cases across all verticals: advertising (from attribution of campaigns to segmentation of audiences based on their behavior in the physical world), retail (consumer patterns, routes, frequency, times), healthcare (from tracking an infectious disease across the country to reminding folks of the proximity of a pharmacy to pick up their prescription), sports and entertainment (from performance tracking apps to geofencing communications within a venue for a few hours), news (local citizen journalism), financial services (fraud prevention by matching transaction to place), transportation and logistics/delivery (from Uber to Fedex, route optimization, user feedback in real-time), field service operations (team management for utilities), and, of course, public safety and government (managing refugee flows is a timely concern). From collecting anonymous data from millions of users and extracting statistical models of behavior to addressing one individual’s specific needs based on interactive systems, localization tools are going to change every sector of activity.

From a company’s perspective, what needs to be done to take advantage of it?

First, think about what you could know through these tools that you don’t today. Localization tools provide data that was not available before.

Second, research and identify the right partner who has the expertise and technology to help you.

Third, start doing something, iterate and learn. There are major opportunities for competitive edge with the right combination of one and two above.

What are some of the risks and opportunities?

The biggest risk lies in the need to define new boundaries and protection mechanisms for privacy, as regulators are still lagging behind with the very rapid evolution of technology, particularly in mobile, internet of things, etc.

The opportunities are many from a business standpoint, since more “picks and shovels” need to be built, either specialized in certain “vertical” problems and solutions, or specialized in back-end computation of increasingly large amounts of data, or yet in front end data visualization for both consumers and business decision makers.

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Anne_Bezancon_Placecast FutureproofAnne Bezançon is the founder and President of Placecast, the leading enterprise platform for monetizing mobile location and user data at scale. The company specializes in providing proven, secure, privacy-first solutions for big data monetization to the largest Telecom (AT&T, Rogers, Telefonica), Financial Institutions and Media companies in the world. Over 500 brands have used the Placecast platform, including Starbucks, Subway, HP, JetBlue, McDonald’s, and Pizza Hut.

A native of France, Anne discovered her passion for technology when she helped develop the Minitel, a precursor to the Internet. Anne moved to the Silicon Valley in 1996. She has since started three companies and participated in the launch of two more. In 1995, she organized the NGO Forum of the United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing, and pioneered private sponsorships from Apple and HP to enable training in word processing and email for 40,000 participants.

Anne was invited to meet with the French President during his official visit to San Francisco in March 2014. Anne was also named to the 2013 “Mobile Women to Watch” list from Mobile Marketer. In 2011, Anne attended the eG8 Summit, an invitation-only summit of leaders in government and industry focusing on the Internet in the context of global public policy. She writes thought leadership pieces for leading tech and business publications, including Forbes. Anne holds a diploma from Sciences-Po Paris, and an LLM in Business Law. She is the author of several patents in the field of location-based technology, and speaks frequently at various tech industry and business events.