What will the IT department look like in the future?

Posted on : 29-01-2019 | By : john.vincent | In : Cloud, Data, General News, Innovation

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We are going through a significant change in how technology services are delivered as we stride further into the latest phase of the Digital Revolution. The internet provided the starting pistol for this phase and now access to new technology, data and services is accelerating at breakneck speed.

More recently the real enablers of a more agile and service-based technology have been the introduction of virtualisation and orchestration technologies which allowed for compute to be tapped into on demand and removed the friction between software and hardware.

The impact of this cannot be underestimated. The removal of the needed to manually configure and provision new compute environments was a huge step forwards, and one which continues with developments in Infrastructure as Code (“IaC”), micro services and server-less technology.

However, whilst these technologies continually disrupt the market, the corresponding changes to the overall operating models has in our view lagged (this is particularly true in larger organisations which have struggled to shift from the old to the new).

If you take a peek into organisation structures today they often still resemble those of the late 90’s where capabilities in infrastructure were organised by specialists such as data centre, storage, service management, application support etc. There have been changes, specifically more recently with the shift to devops and continuous integration and development, but there is still a long way go.

Our recent Technology Futures Survey provided a great insight into how our clients (290) are responding to the shifting technology services landscape.

“What will your IT department look like in 5-7 years’ time?”

There were no surprises in the large majority of respondents agreeing that the organisation would look different in the near future. The big shift is to a more service focused, vendor led technology model, with between 53%-65% believing that this is the direction of travel.

One surprise was a relatively low consensus on the impact that Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) would have on management of live services, with only 10% saying it would be very likely. However, the providers of technology and services formed a smaller proportion of our respondents (28%) and naturally were more positive about the impact of AI.

The Broadgate view is that the changing shape of digital service delivery is challenging previous models and applying tension to organisations and providers alike.  There are two main areas where we see this;

  1. With the shift to cloud based and on-demand services, the need for any provider, whether internal or external, has diminished
  2. Automation, AI and machine learning are developing new capabilities in self-managing technology services

We expect that the technology organisation will shift to focus more on business products and procuring the best fit service providers. Central to this is AI and ML which, where truly intelligent (and not just marketing), can create a self-healing and dynamic compute capability with limited human intervention.

Cloud, machine learning and RPA will remove much of the need to manage and develop code

To really understand how the organisation model is shifting, we have to look at the impact that technology is having the on the whole supply chain. We’ve long outsourced the delivery of services. However, if we look the traditional service providers (IBM, DXC, TCS, Cognizant etc.) that in the first instance acted as brokers to this new digital technology innovations we see that they are increasingly being disintermediated, with provisioning and management now directly in the hands of the consumer.

Companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon have superior technical expertise and they are continuing to expose these directly to the end consumer. Thus, the IT department needs to think less about how to either build or procure from a third party, but more how to build a framework of services which “knits together” a service model which can best meet their business needs with a layered, end-to-end approach. This fits perfectly with a more business product centric approach.

We don’t see an increase for in-house technology footprints with maybe the exception of truly data driven organisations or tech companies themselves.

In our results, the removal of cyber security issues was endorsed by 28% with a further 41% believing that this was a possible outcome. This represents a leap of faith given the current battle that organisations are undertaking to combat data breaches! Broadgate expect that organisations will increasingly shift the management of these security risks to third party providers, with telecommunication carriers also taking more responsibilities over time.

As the results suggest, the commercial and vendor management aspects of the IT department will become more important. This is often a skill which is absent in current companies, so a conscious strategy to develop capability is needed.

Organisations should update their operating model to reflect the changing shape of technology services, with the closer alignment of products and services to technology provision never being as important as it is today.

Indeed, our view is that even if your model serves you well today, by 2022 it is likely to look fairly stale. This is because what your company currently offers to your customers is almost certain to change, which will require fundamental re-engineering across, and around, the entire IT stack.

GDPR – The Countdown Conundrum

Posted on : 30-01-2018 | By : Tom Loxley | In : Cloud, compliance, Cyber Security, data security, Finance, GDPR, General News, Uncategorized

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Crunch time is just around the corner and yet businesses are not prepared, but why?

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – a new set of rules set out from the European Union which aims to simplify data protection laws and provide citizens across all member states with more control over their personal data”

It is estimated that just under half of businesses are unaware of incoming data protection laws that they will be subject to in just four months’ time, or how the new legislation affects information security.

Following a government survey, the lack of awareness about the upcoming introduction of GDPR has led to the UK government to issue a warning to the public over businesses shortfall in preparation for the change. According to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport secretary Matt Hancock:

“These figures show many organisations still need to act to make sure the personal data they hold is secure and they are prepared for our Data Protection Bill”

GDPR comes into force on 25 May 2018 and potentially huge fines face those who are found to misuse, exploit, lose or otherwise mishandle personal data. This can be as much as up to four percent of company turnover. Organisations could also face penalties if they’re hacked and attempt to hide what happened from customers.

There is also a very real and emerging risk of a huge loss of business. Specifically, 3rd-party compliance and assurance is common practice now and your clients will want to know that you are compliant with GDPR as part of doing business.

Yet regardless of the risks to reputation, potential loss of business and fines with being non-GDPR compliant, the government survey has found that many organisations aren’t prepared – or aren’t even aware – of the incoming legislation and how it will impact on their information and data security strategy.

Not surprisingly, considering the ever-changing landscape of regulatory requirements they have had to adapt to, finance and insurance sectors are said to have the highest awareness of the incoming security legislation. Conversely, only one in four businesses in the construction sector is said to be aware of GDPR, awareness in manufacturing also poor. According to the report, the overall figure comes in at just under half of businesses – including a third of charities – who have subsequently made changes to their cybersecurity policies as a result of GDPR.

If your organisation is one of those who are unsure of your GDPR compliance strategy, areas to consider may include;

  • Creating or improving new cybersecurity procedures
  • Hiring new staff (or creating new roles and responsibilities for your additional staff)
  • Making concentrated efforts to update security software
  • Mapping your current data state, what you hold, where it’s held and how it’s stored

In terms of getting help, this article is a great place to start: What is GDPR? Everything you need to know about the new general data protection regulations

However, if you’re worried your organisation is behind the curve there is still have time to ensure that you do everything to be GDPR compliant. The is an abundance of free guidance available from the National Cyber Security Centre and the on how to ensure your corporate cybersecurity policy is correct and up to date.

The ICO suggests that, rather than being fearful of GDPR, organisations should embrace GDPR as a chance to improve how they do business. The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham stated:

“The GDPR offers a real opportunity to present themselves on the basis of how they respect the privacy of individuals, and over time this can play more of a role in consumer choice. Enhanced customer trust and more competitive advantage are just two of the benefits of getting it right”

If you require pragmatic advice on the implementation of GDPR data security and management, please feel free to contact us for a chat. We have assessed and guided a number of our client through the maze of regulations including GDPR. Please contact Thomas.Loxley@broadgateconsultants.com in the first instance.

 

Be aware of “AI Washing”

Posted on : 26-01-2018 | By : john.vincent | In : Cloud, Data, General News, Innovation

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I checked and it’s almost 5 years ago now that we wrote about the journey to cloud and mentioned “cloud washing“, the process by which technology providers were re-positioning previous offerings to be “cloud enabled”, “cloud ready” and the like.

Of course, the temptation to do this is natural. After all, if the general public can trigger a 200% increase in share price simply by re-branding your iced tea company to “Long Blockchain“, then why not.

And so we enter another “washing” phase, this time in the form of a surge in Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered technologies. As the enterprise interest in AI and machine learning gathers pace, software vendors are falling over each other to meet the market demands.

Indeed, according to Gartner by 2020;

AI technologies will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service

This is great news and the speed of change is outstanding. However, it does pose some challenges for technology leaders and decision makers as the hype continues.

Firstly, we need to apply the “so what?” test against the claims of AI enablement. The fact that a product has AI capabilities doesn’t propel it automatically to the top of selection criteria. It needs to be coupled with a true business value rather than simply a sales and marketing tool.

Whilst that sounds obvious, before you cry “pass me another egg Vincent”, it does warrant a pause and reflection. Human behaviour and the pressures on generating business value against a more difficult backdrop can easier drive a penchant for the latest trend (anyone seen “GDPR compliant” monikers appearing?)

In terms of the bandwagon jumping, Gartner says;

Similar to greenwashing, in which companies exaggerate the environmental-friendliness of their products or practices for business benefit, many technology vendors are now “AI washing” by applying the AI label a little too indiscriminately

The second point, is to ask the question “Is this really AI or Automation?”. I’ve sat in a number of vendor presentations through 2017 where I asked exactly that. After much deliberation, pontification and several “well umms” we agreed that it was actually the latter we were discussing. Indeed, there terms are often interchanged at will during pitches which can be somewhat disconcerting.

The thing is, Automation doesn’t have the “blade runner-esc” cachet of AI, which conjures up the usual visions that the film industry has imprinted on our minds (of course, to counter this we’ve now got Robotic Process Automation!)

So what’s the difference between AI and Automation? The basic definition is;

  • Automation is software that follows pre-programmed ‘rules’.
  • Artificial intelligence is designed to simulate human thinking.

Automation is everywhere and been an important part of industry for decades. It enables machines to perform repetitive, monotonous tasks thus freeing up time for human beings to focus on the activities that require more reasoning, rationale and personal touch. This drives efficiency and a more productive and efficient business and personal life.

The difference with Automation is that is requires manual configuration and set up. It is smart, but it has to follow set instructions and workflow.

AI however is not developed simply to follow a set of predefined instructions. It is designed to mimic human behaviour to continuously seek patterns, learn from it data and “experiences” and determine the appropriate course of action or responses based on these parameters. This all comes under the general heading of “machine learning”.

The common “fuel” that drives both Automation and AI is Data. It is the lifeblood of the organisation and we now live is an environment where we talk about “data driven” technologies at the centre of the enterprise.

Whilst it’s hard to ignore all the hype around AI it is important for decision makers to think carefully not only in terms of what they want to achieve, but also how to filter out the “AI washing”.

UberEATS – A tax on Hipsters

Posted on : 28-09-2017 | By : richard.gale | In : App, Consumer behaviour, General News, Hipster, Innovation, Uber, UberEATS

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It was Friday night, we’d all had a long week and so family decision to order a fish and chip supper seemed the right thing to do. I called in the order with the local chippie and popped down the road to pick it up.

 

All was well, the place was warm, buzzing with people and the sight and smells of frying fish. Then I noticed one of the guys packaging up food, printing off labels and placing it to the side of the counter. Then it got really strange, men with enormous beards, checked shirts wandered into the shop looking intently at their phones, walked to the counter, picked up a package, placed it in their shoulder bags and walked straight out again without a word to anyone. The shop guys didn’t even look up.  Had we been invaded by a gang of hungry, kleptomaniac lumberjacks I wondered…

 

I had to ask the guys. No. They said. The fish bar has signed up with UberEATS and they now have a whole new set of customers. They used the UberEATS app to order and then used their phone to find and pick up. Now I thought UberEATS was all about delivery but the guys said a lot of people picked up too on the way back from the station.

 

All seemed pretty logical and I was thinking about yet another use of tech to make our lives easier until one of the guys told me they have a different price list for Uber. It’s about 30% more expensive to cover Uber’s take and, because there is no mechanism to NOT do this, they have to charge for small items like ketchup etc (otherwise no one could order them…).

 

This really got me thinking, I get the convenience angle but is it REALLY worth an extra third on your meal just so you don’t have to pick up the phone? Are there other areas where this is the case and what’s the reasoning behind it?

 

I believe it’s the disconnect between the purchasing and the paying which enables this model to succeed. Once this is broken then the cost of buying becomes less important. It first really began with credit and credit cards where you could buy things you couldn’t afford but now I think the distance has become even greater.

 

I don’t like to use Uber myself but each month money comes out of my card for Uber journeys by various other members of the family. They effectively have a free, on demand, always available transport system whilst I have various amounts of random expenses. I get the convenience factor – out in town on a rainy evening and it’s great to know a clean car with a friendly driver is close by – but for most other journeys then a quick call to our local minicab firm ensures the same service, often at a better price and we’re supporting a local business too.

 

Once I started to think about time value vs. cost aspects of this then the new model started to break down. But pretty quickly, the scale, the tech and service plus the obscuring of costs outweigh any pricing concerns.  As these disruptive concepts grow into the mainstream, Uber and other disrupters still need to learn how to operate within the existing rules. Maybe….

Why are more women not choosing technology as a career?

Posted on : 13-07-2017 | By : Aimee Rankine | In : Cyber Security, General News

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I recently attended a ‘Women in Cybersecurity’ talk at InfoSec. Being relatively new to the world of IT and thought it would be a good way to start educating myself. It was exciting for me to see so many women talking so passionately about a subject and I felt like I had made a good choice in pursuing a career in IT. Unfortunately, as I learnt during the course of the morning, not that many women agree with me.

Women make up 47% of the UK workforce, yet only make up 21% of the workforce in Core STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields. In ICT women account for less than 20% of the workforce.

As the STEM sectors continue to grow, women are not taking up the newly created positions at the same rate as men. However, it is in a company’s best interest to attract women to these roles. Research consistently shows that groups perform to a higher standard if the gender balance is even, or when women outnumber men. For example, Catalyst research found that companies with high-level female representation on boards significantly outperformed those with sustained low representation by 84% on return on sales, 60% on return on invested capital, and 46% on return on equity.

The Women’s Business Council predicts that we could add 10% (that is over £150bn) to our GDP by 2030 if all the women that wanted to work were employed. These are significant numbers, so why are STEM companies still struggling to get women involved and what can be done to make these environments more appealing?

I once read, “men are interested in things, and women are interested in people”. I put this theory to the test by looking at a group of my closest friends. One out of the five is in a STEM field, the others are all in fields such as hospitality and education, so that theory seems like it has a leg to stand on. Then I posed the question “why didn’t you fancy a job in a STEM field?” to the other four and the immediate response was “because it’s boring”. A blunt answer, but when I thought about it, STEM subjects were not the lessons any of us most looked forward to at school, and if you did not enjoy it in school why would you pursue you it as a career later on in life? Maybe that is why only 16% of graduates in computer science last year were female. In recent years, organisations such as TechFutureGirls and CoderDojo have been created to provide free courses for schools to give young people the skills they need for future careers in tech and maintain an interest in the field as they progress through their education.

Another possible contributing factor is implicit or unconscious bias which happens when our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising.

In 2012, a study by Corinne Moss-Racusin was conducted where science faculties asked staff to review a number of applications which were identical apart from the gender of the name. The study found that science faculties were more likely to rate male candidates as better qualified, give them a higher starting salary’ and invest more in their development than the female candidates and overall hire the male over the female.

Women are 45% more likely to leave within a year than men are, they sight such reasons as a hostile macho culture, the feeling of isolation and lack of effective sponsors. With more women leaving the industry, senior female role models become harder to come by.

Sometimes, women often feel like they have to make a choice between having a career and having a family. In a recent study, 85% of 716 women surveyed who have left the tech industry cite maternity leave policy as a major factor in their decision to leave. Tech employers who are not supportive of their female staff and do not offer flexibility in working can only further discourage females from joining up. Allowing flexible working directly correlates with more women in management positions. Rigid working patterns can prevent women from moving into senior management positions as “presenteeism” can restrict the balance between work and childcare priorities. Flexible working is an effective means of retaining this talent. An alternative is allowing fathers to take extended paid maternity leave. If maternity leave is shared, it could blur that gender divide.

Another option for larger companies is to provide onsite childcare, Goldman Sachs provide an onsite nursery offering a few weeks free childcare then a paid service. Women are then free to pop down to see their child at any time. Some companies have introduced a ‘babies at work’ policy, where parents can bring their child to work every day, allowing them to return to work much earlier, but not tech companies.

To attract women into the tech industry, companies need to keep women interested in IT throughout education and their careers with training, mentorship, flexibility and policies that give women the opportunity to succeed.

So, to summarise;

  • Currently women make up less than 20% of the IT workforce
  • Staff recruitment and retention in IT is a huge problem, and even worse with women
  • When women make up more than half of the board, revenue increases

The IT staff resource pool is limited. Low retention increases cost. So why not kill two birds with one stone. If you can attract women that would not normally work in STEM and create an environment they enjoy being a part of, you have struck gold. High staff retention and a female presence on the board would have great impact. Offering shared parental leave and flexible working hours are just some of the steps companies can take to achieve this.

Featured Tech Startup – Interview With Allan Martinson, Starship Robots

Posted on : 26-04-2016 | By : Maria Motyka | In : 5 Minutes With, Cyber Security, Featured Startup, General News, Innovation, IoT

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What is it like to be part of a startup which brings robots to life (and to the streets of London)?

Our robots have been named #4 most anticipated tech product of 2016, right after Apple’s new iPhone. It is totally awesome!!! I have been part of many companies in my life but this one has completely spoiled me. It is such a ride.

 

starship woww

 

Starship Robots was featured in Forbes’ first episode of ‘The Premise’ tech podcast, during which one of the co-founders of Starship noted that the delivery industry is the largest undisrupted industry in the world and stated that “Millions of parcels are being delivered every day in a wasteful manner and its possible to automate this using today’s technology”. Could you please expand on this?

In EU and US alone the delivery firms carry 25 billion packages a year, plus we are doing 130 billion shopping trips on our cars. There is absolutely no point of moving a 2 or 7 ton gas-guzzling vehicle to bring somebody a few kilos of deliveries. You better put wheels to this package or bag and let it roll to you, with 0 emissions, 0 noise, 0 road congestion.

An average family loses an hour per day on shopping trips. We have a mission of giving people this 1 hour back. You can do your own math how many billions of hours we could release.

 

What do you consider as the most interesting insight you have learnt during Starship Robots’ trials? How prepared are consumers for their adoption?

People are MUCH more friendly towards those devices than we ever thought. And absolute majority takes them as the most natural thing on Earth.

 

starshipp

 

Each of Starship’s innocent-looking robots is equipped with 9 cameras, providing you with a 360 perspective. How would you respond to concerns over data privacy linked to what some could consider the introduction of surveillance machines to the streets and people’s doorsteps?

What is the difference between a driven looking at surroundings through the car’s window and our operator (potentially) looking at the sidewalk through cameras? Nothing. Following your logic, we should drive cars with closed eyes 🙂

 

As someone working in new tech, how do you imagine European metropolises in 10, 20 years?

European cities in 20 years will have self-driving cars and around 3 delivery robot per each such car. That is not a joke but based on our calculation on transportation needs.

 

When can we expect a launch of Starship Robots?

We expect a full launch in 2017. BTW We are looking for a name for the robot and feel free to submit ideas on www.starship.xyz.

A Few More Thoughts on Data Security and Data Privacy in the ‘Golden Age of Surveillance’

Posted on : 30-03-2016 | By : Maria Motyka | In : Cyber Security, Data, General News, Innovation

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In the era of unparalleled tech innovation and global terrorism threats, 1) more and more of our sensitive data is being collected and 2) sophisticated surveillance measures are put into practice. We are being gradually deprived of (or perhaps willingly giving away) our privacy. Security guru Bruce Schneier goes as far as referring to current times as the ‘Golden Age of Surveillance’.

We previously discussed the issue of data security and privacy in the context of top 2015 hacks as well as innovations such as A.I. toys and healthcare wearables in our December blog post: Data Privacy/Security You Can Run But You Can’t Hide.

Here’s some more food for thought on the topic.

Governments and corporations not only collect much larger and more wide ranging datasets on us as individuals, but are also, now more than ever, able to compile it, make sense of it and take action based on in-depth big data insight. As noted by Chief Data Scientist of an admired Silicon Valley company during an interview with Jemand mit Eiern, the goal is to “change people’s actual behaviour at scale” through capturing their behaviors and identifying the ‘good’ versus ’bad’ behaviours to then create ways to reward the ‘good’ and punish the ‘bad’. The ultimate goal? Profit and control.

The application of big data to alter behaviours is very clear on both the corporate and government side; from Google, which announced that its maps will no longer merely provide users with a route they search for, but also suggest a destination, to China, which is now building a ‘pre-crime’ big data platform. China’s new tool will allow predictive policing, identifying individuals who ‘have the potential’ to engage in suspicious activities, based on complex data derived from citizens’ online and offline activity (including transactions, locations, who they engage with etc.) and thus to prevent crime, altering the way individuals behave.

Schneier finds what happens a ‘at the back-end’ in terms of big data rather disturbing. During Forbes’s first tech podcast ‘The Premise‘ he spoke about ‘dossiers’ that are built up with multiple inputs, such as “face recognition plus miniature cameras, plus Facebook’s database of tagged photos, plus the credit card database of your purchasing habits data… all of that put together…” The data privacy thought leader stresses that while on the corporate side big data and surveillance are used to get people to consume things, on the government side it is a tool for a variety of things: law enforcement, social control, terrorism, and political manipulation, making sure that ‘certain’ ideas don’t spread and silencing ‘certain’ people.

Knowledge is power and it is important to consider whom these surveillance/intelligence powers can be used against. Snowden recently reminded us of the case of UK Government Communications Headquarters (GSCHQ), which has previously used their ‘powers’ to spy on journalists and human rights groups such as Amnesty International.

How much of our data do we agree to ‘give away’? Is it at all possible to ensure that only the ‘good guys’ can access all this big, big data which, as we discussed, can be used to alter our behaviours?

During one of his recentAsk Me Anything Reddit sessions, Bill Gates himself drew the attention to the issue of data security. Microsoft’s founder demanded more public debate around bulk data collection and stressed that there are currently insufficient safeguards in place to make sure that information on us is only used for – what he called – the ‘proper’ reasons.

How do you even define ‘proper’ reasons?

The issue is highly relevant to the UK. In an interview for the Guardian, UN privacy chief Joseph Cannataci stated that “UK surveillance is worse than 1984″, “a rather bad joke at its citizens’ expense” and criticised the government for its approach to the Investigatory Powers Bill  In the case of the bill proceeding into statute, the Snooper’s Charter will have significant ramifications for Brits’ collective privacy.

Edward Snowden, during a talk he gave in Poland in mid-March, summarised the surveillance vs. security ‘dilemma’ (one, which the British MPs are currently facing) as follows:

 “Do we want liberty or do we want sort of a sense of total order where you may feel that life is a little bit more predictable but you are reliant upon some great authority that really has the extraordinary power to interfere in your life and tell you where to go what to do and how (…) and watch you at all times in exchange for a feeling of safety that in practical way is not delivered in any more reliable way today than it was before?”.

Schneier agrees with this view and stresses that surveillance with no probable cause is not compatible with liberty:

“the whole point of democracy is that we are willing to live with some amount of crime because we realise that a totalitarian police state is much worse”.

At the same time, the security champion discredits the ‘myth’ that surveillance is good for security: “There is no evidence for that. It has been stated as a truism and we’re expected to believe”. Whenever we see counter-terrorism success it is based on targeted, not mass surveillance.

Big data will get bigger, there is no question to it. However, “we need comprehensive laws that regulate all forms of data: collection, storage, use, sale, destruction. The whole process”, Schneier argues. Let’s hope that sooner or later we will learn to appreciate our privacy and put in place systems to protect it.

Adios Davos – Key Points From the Yearly Gathering

Posted on : 29-01-2016 | By : Jack.Rawden | In : General News

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The velocity, scope and systems impact of the changes currently occurring across sectors leave no question about the beginning of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s time to say goodbye to the world as we know it and according to Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF We must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. There has never been a time of greater promise, or greater peril.”

Davos

 The 1st Industrial Revolution mechanised production through the use of water. The 2nd enabled mass production through the use of electric power. The 3rd was led by the digitisation and allowed the automation of production through IT and electronics. What will the 4th revolution result in? One of its consequences will be the blurring of the lines between the digital, the physical and the biological spheres.

The broad scope of the theme allowed the Davos discussion to take various directions – from robots’ role in healthcare and the disappearance of the Internet as we know it (it is to become part of everyone’s ‘presence’) to Mexico being the only nation recognising its citizens’ rights to broadband internet connection and smartphone devices being the first and the only ‘computer’ many people have.

The approaching changes will likely have a positive impact on global income levels, improving the quality of the lives of many. We expect the adoption of ground-breaking innovations on the supply-side, enabling major improvements in productivity and efficiency. The resulting decrease in costs will lead to the opening of new markets and economic growth.

However, just like with any other major global-scale changes, there will likely be winners and losers. One of its possible consequences is increased inequality, especially in the labor markets – robots will take over millions of jobs, broadening the returns to capital & returns to labour gap. It was noted, that while a driverless, automated truck company for example would no longer need truck drivers, its management would likely to get high-paying jobs. US Vice President Joe Biden even wared, that the current industrial revolution might destroy the middle class, which would no longer be able to hold onto the promise of a better life achieved through hard work.

Aside from the potential growth in inequality and the fragmenting of societies Schwab’s concerns also include the inability of several organisations to adapt to change, governments’ failure to implement and take the full advantage of new technologies, as well as security issues caused by shifts in power.

What should we do in order to fully embrace the opportunities and address the challenges related to the upcoming changes? WEF’s founder appealed to leaders and citizens to “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”

Data privacy/security – you can run but you can’t hide?

Posted on : 18-12-2015 | By : Jack.Rawden | In : Cloud, Cyber Security, Data, General News, Innovation

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Security and privacy are among some of the top themes discussed throughout 2015 and will likely remain an equally popular topic in 2016.

On one hand, consumers’ private data is increasingly being revealed through major security breaches and hacks, causing widespread outrage. On the other, in the face of terror, many are willing to voluntarily give up more and more of their privacy to be (or at least feel) more secure.

At the same time, new technologies offer solutions in healthcare, payments and entertainment, to name a few, with the potential to have a highly positive impact on the quality of our everyday lives. Their adoption however is often almost synonymous with sharing highly intimate data, raising concerns of many.

All of the above stir the data privacy/security debate. How much privacy are we willing to give up and in exchange for what?

data

Your kids’ A.I. frenemies

In many cases it’s not even just about our data and our security…

For example, the scandal over the recent V-Tech hack, exposing data of 6.4 million children and the launch of the widely boycotted A.I., Wi-Fi enabled Barbie, designed to engage in dialogue with kids and ‘treasure’ their secrets, beg the question whether we are really willing to risk not only ours, but also our children’s sensitive data being revealed, in exchange for more interactive play experience.

Data collected via high-tech toys could not only be used for commercial reasons, but also for example to identify the times you leave home to drop off your kids to school.

 

‘Terrorised’ into sharing data?

In the wake of Paris attacks, European parliament civil liberties committee dropped its opposition to EU counter-terror plan to collect air passengers’ data. Data protection watchdogs described this as “the first large-scale and indiscriminate collection of personal data in the history of the European Union”.

The passing of laws allowing the EU to collect and store our personal data in the name of terrorism prevention means irreversible changes to the extent to which we are invigilated, taking us yet another step closer to the Big Brother reality scenario.

Nevertheless, it seems like privacy becomes irrelevant to the scared masses.

The UK media is heating up the atmosphere with warnings that a UK terror attack is only a matter of time and escalating fear through falsely labelling tube fire alarm incidents ‘terrorist’ scares; the Brits are concerned with safety. According to Dr David Purves, psychologist specialising in trauma “When something dramatic happens, such as the attacks in Paris, something called the ‘availability heuristic’ kicks in”. This means that certain things, such as a terrorist attack, seem more likely than they really are. The UK national counter-terrorism security office (NACTSO) publishing official advice on how to behave in case of a terror attack, including to ‘run or hide rather than lie down and play dead’, doesn’t necessarily contribute to our sense of security.

In this context, we either chose to turn a blind eye or even support governments’ and EU institutions’ steps depriving us from our privacy. The question is whether there is an end to this? Under more severe terrorist threats, how much surveillance are we willing to agree to?

 

IT health-care?

According to Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter, Britain is on ‘the brink of a personalised healthcare revolution that could scarcely have been predicted a few years ago.’; the NHS is soon to go high-tech with new proposals announced in mid-2015. Within the next five years, UK patients are very likely to be able to use the Internet to order prescriptions or access their health records, as well as speak to their GP. Wearable healthcare devices are also going mainstream, with estimates of 70% of us using them by 2025 (IDC).

A world in which we are much more in control over our wellness by being able to constantly track and monitor the state of your health and reach the expertise of our doctor through video calling does sound idyllic.

However, healthcare digitisation also has serious data security implications. Hacked healthcare data could be used for several purposes; imagine your potential employer or insurer could use it to assess the state your health? What if a hacker could tweak your health records?

A NHS spokesman said: ‘Ensuring patient confidentiality is of upmost importance to everyone working in the NHS and the robust processes already in place to ensure that patient data is protected extends data held electronically’, but let’s be realistic – if self-driving cars and Pentagon are being hacked, wearable health & wellness devices and the NHS are far from ‘unhackable’.

Broadgate’s Crystal Ball – Our predictions for 2016

Posted on : 18-12-2015 | By : richard.gale | In : General News

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During the past few weeks, 2016 trend predictions have flooded our news feeds. After compiling and combining them with our view on the approaching changes, here’s Broadgate’s view on IT in 2016.

future

Adaptive Security Architecture

In the context of companies’ growing awareness of the importance of security and the need to build it into all business processes, end-to-end, Gartner predicts that the near future will bring more tools to go on the offensive, leveraging predictive modeling, for example, allowing apps to protect themselves (!). Therefore, go on offensive and build in security to every project, product, process and service, instead of treating it as an add on and an afterthought or having separate “security” projects.

 

IoT and Big Data Science

IoT will gradually overtake every-thing and generate data-rich insights about us. Gartner notes that the rapid growth in the number of sensors embedded in various technologies of both personal and professional use will lead to the generation of tons of intelligence on our daily patterns. The more ‘things’ and areas of our lives IoT takes over, the more data is going to be collected. According to Gartner, by 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet is expected to reach 25 billion. As each year is moving us much closer to the IoT big data/even bigger insights reality, it will be challenging to find efficient ways of digging through and making sense of the constant generation of streams of data.

As we stated this time last year, talking about the ‘future’ of 2015 –  Loading large amounts of disparate information into a central store is all well and good but it is asking the right questions of it and understanding the outputs is what it’s all about. If you don’t think about what you need the information for then it will not provide value or insight to your business. We welcome the change in thinking from Big Data to Data Science.

 

Connected Devices

Our bodies are going to be increasingly connected to the Internet through smart devices within the next couple of years. This is reality, not Sci-Fi; those, who claim that wearables will struggle to find their place in everyday life in 2016, should familiarise themselves with the outcomes of Gartner’s October Symposium/ITxpo. It is predicted that in two years, 2 million employees, primarily those engaged in physically demanding or dangerous work, will be required to wear health & fitness tracking devices as a condition of employment (Gartner). According to a different source, in nine years, 70% of us are going to use wearables (IDC).

 

The Hybrid Cloud

Following our 2015 prediction of cloud becoming the default coming true, towards 2016 the integration of on-premises cloud infrastructure and the public cloud is becoming an operating standard; the demand for the hybrid cloud is growing at a rate of 27% (MarketsandMarkets). Google’s hire of Diane Greene, co-founder of VMware, to head up Google Cloud, shows Google’s commitment to offering services to enterprise cloud customers. A hybrid Kubernetes scheme is said to be part of the deal (Knorr, Infoworld), which will likely have a significant impact the growth of the hybrid cloud in 2016.

 

The outsourcing of personal data

Barely a week goes by without another retailer or bank losing customer information by getting hacked. This is becoming a serious and expensive problem for firms, each one is having to put complex defense mechanisms in place to protect themselves.

We think the outsourcing of responsibility (and sensitive data) to specialist firms will be a growing trend in 2016. These firms can have high levels of security controls and will have the processing ability to support a large number of clients.

Obviously one potential issue is that these organisations will be targeted by the criminals and when one does get breached it will have a much greater impact….

 

We are truly excited to see what 2016 will surprise us with!