The 2018 Broadgate Predictions

Posted on : 19-12-2017 | By : richard.gale | In : Predictions

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Battle of the Chiefs

Chief Information Officer 1 –  Chief Digital Officer 0

Digital has been the interloper into the world of IT – originating from the Marketing Department through the medium of Website morphing into Ecommerce. The result was more budget and so power with the CDiO than the CIO and the two Chiefs have been rubbing along uncomfortably together, neither fully understanding the boundaries between them. 2018 will see the re-emergence of CIO empire as technology becomes more service based (Cloud, SaaS, Microservices etc) and focus returns to delivering high paced successful transformational change.

 

Battle of the Algorithms

Quantum 2 – Security 1

All the major Tech companies now have virtual Quantum computers available (so the toolkits if not the technology). These allow adventurous techies to experiment with Quantum concepts. Who knows what the capabilities are of Quantum but through its enormous processing power it will have the capability to look at every possible combination of events for a giving situation at once. That is great in terms of deciding which share to buy or how people interacting on Facebook but it will also have the potential to crack most current encryption mechanisms. Saying that it will enable another level of secure access too!

 

Battle of the Search Engines

Voice 2 – Screen 0

OK Google, Alexa, Siri…. There’s a great video of Google talking to Alexa on infinite loop. That’s all fun but in 2018 Voice will start to become a dominant force for search and for general utility. Effectively stopping what you are doing and typing in a command or search will start to feel a little strange and old-fashioned. OK in the office we may not all start shouting at our computers (well not more than normal) but around the home, car using our phones it is the obvious way to interact. This trend is already gathering momentum. VR and especially AR will add to this, the main thing holding it back is the fact you look like an idiot with the headset on. Once that is cracked then there will be no stopping it.

 

RoboWars – to be continued…

Robots 1 – People 1

AI and ‘robot process automation’ RPA are everywhere. Every services firm worth its salt has process automation plans and the hype around companies such as Blue Prisim is phenomenal.  This is all very exciting and many doomsayers have been predicting the end of most jobs (and some the end of most people!). Yes. Automation of processes is here. It’s been here for years – that is what most ERP (aka workflow) systems do. It makes absolute sense to automate mundane processes and if you can build in a bit of intelligence to deal with slight differences in the pattern then all the better. Will it result in the loss of millions of jobs… well maybe and probably in the short-term but once again, as every time in the past, technology will replace human endeavour whilst humans will be busy building the next creative, innovative wave.

 

The Lightbulb Moment

Internet 1 – Internet of Things 3

Is there anything left which is not internet connected? Two years ago, there were very few people that had any interest in communicating with a lightbulb – apart from flicking a light-switch. Now IoT connected lightbulbs appear be everywhere and the trend will grow and grow. The speed this happening is accelerating and the scope of connected devices is expanding beyond belief. Who would have thought we needed a smart hairbrush? This is all fine and will enrich our lives in ways we probably haven’t even thought about yet but there is a cost. We are allowing these devices to listen, see, control parts of our lives and the data they gather has value both for good and bad reasons. There is no ‘culture of security’ for IoT. Many of the devices are cheaply designed and manufactured with no thought towards security or data privacy. We are allowing these devices into our lives and we don’t really know what they know and who knows what they know. This may be a subtler change for 2018 – the securing of ‘the Thing’ – well lets hope so!

 

Welcome to our ESports Day

Call Of Duty 2 – Premiership Football 1

Sport is a big business. From Curling to Swimming to Indy Car racing it has a thousand differing forms, millions of participants and billions of armchair viewers. Top class athletes in a popular sport can earn millions of dollars a year both from performing and through product endorsements.

Video games have been popular for years. They started as single, two player games and now are worldwide multiplayer extravaganzas where you can battle, race or fight against people throughout the world. A number of superstars or EAthletes have emerged, first through winning competitions and then through youtube etc where their tournaments are recorded and watched again and again. This business has now broken the $1B mark – still way off ‘real’ sport but its growing massively and some point soon will become part of the mainstream.

The Internet of Things – An interconnected world

Posted on : 30-10-2017 | By : jo.rose | In : Innovation, IoT, Uncategorized

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Soon every device you own, and nearly every object you can imagine, will be connected to the Internet. Gartner estimate that 8.4Bn connected “things” will be in use this year, with estimates from various sources citing some 20Bn-30Bn by 2020.

Indeed, one of the difficult things about predicting the future growth in the internet connected devices is the unknown factor in terms of attempting to anticipate demand for devices that have largely not yet even been invented, let along commercialised.

At this point, even the strictest definitions of IoT remain fuzzy because companies are still working on the technologies and business cases. The pace of change is staggering, and so in reality making estimates is somewhat futile.

That said, whether it’s through your phone, wearable tech devices or everyday household objects, we will become connected in ways we can’t even imagine yet.

Many of us have dreamed of our daily life becoming less exhaustive and where our appliances carry out our requests automatically. The alarm sounds and the kettle or coffee machine starts the moment you want to begin your day. Lights come on as you walk through the house. Some unseen computing device responds to your voice commands to read your schedule and messages to you while you get ready, then turns on the TV news.  It lets you know about traffic or rail delays for your journey to work. Your car drives you via the least congested route, helped by video sensor-embedded stoplights adjusting their red and green lights according to the time of day,  freeing you up to get on top of your emails or prep for your meetings that day.

We’ve read and seen such things in science fiction for decades, but they’re now either already possible or on the brink of becoming so. And all this new tech is forming the basis of what people are calling the Internet of Things.

Changes are starting to take root in our cities as well. Better management of energy, water, transportation and safety are bringing people in closer touch with their surroundings and capturing our imaginations for urban bliss – a fully integrated, smart, sustainable city.

There are numerous IoT developments that are making smart cities a reality now, including;

  • Smart Parking – tracking of parking spaces availability in the city.
  • Structural health – Monitoring of vibrations and material conditions in buildings, bridges and historical monuments
  • Noise Urban Maps – Sound measuring in bar areas and centric zones in real time.
  • Traffic Congestion – Monitoring of vehicles and pedestrian levels to optimize driving and walking routes.
  • Smart Lighting – Intelligent and weather adaptive lighting in street lights.
  • Waste Management – Detection of rubbish levels in containers to optimize the trash collection routes.

We are also seeing dramatic increases in activity and innovation on the factory front.

An example of this is in York, Pennsylvania at the Harley-Davidson plant, where sensors linked to manufacturing execution systems are able to collect data and point to any methods that are inefficient and waste time while other sensors can tell when conditions such as air flow and moisture are best for painting and change them if necessary. These technologies may be expensive to adopt, but factories have seen results. Harley-Davidson has been able to make 25 percent more bikes with 30 percent fewer workers.

IoT is also having an impact on the farming industry  – John Deere tractors and machinery are installing sensors that collect data on air and soil temperature, wind speed, humidity, solar radiation and rainfall while smart watering systems save water by detecting leaks and watering only the most needed places in the fields. Sensors are being used to detect pests capable of destroying crops, which reduces the frequency and use of pesticides.

As you can imagine, life in ten years will look materially different from how it looks now as the pace of technology change accelerates, thanks in large part to the coming boom of the Internet of Things.

While these connected technologies take a huge financial investment from companies and from consumers purchasing smart products, the benefits of the “interconnectedness” of devices are seemingly endless.

The Internet of things continues to rapidly evolve and our everyday lives are along for the ride.

Are we addicted to “Digital”?

Posted on : 28-02-2017 | By : john.vincent | In : Cloud, Data, Innovation, IoT, Uncategorized

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There’s no getting away from it. The speed of technology advancement is now a major factor in changing how we interact with the world around us. For the first time, it seems that innovation in technology is being applied across every industry to drive innovation, increase efficiency and open new market possibilities, whilst in our daily lives we rely more and more on a connected existence. This is seen in areas such as the increase in wearable tech and the Internet of Things.

But what is the impact on business and society of this technology revolution regarding human interaction?

Firstly, let’s get the “Digital” word out on the table. Like cloud before it, the industry seems to have adopted a label on which we can pin everything related to advancement in technology. Whilst technically relating to web, mobile, apps etc. it seems every organisation has a “digital agenda”, likely a Chief Digital Officer and often a whole department in which some sort of alchemy takes place to create digital “stuff”. Meanwhile, service providers and consultancies sharpen their marketing pencils to ensure we are all enticed by their “digital capabilities”. Did I miss the big analogue computing cut-over in the last few years?

What “digital” does do (I guess) is position the narrative away from just technology to a business led focus, which is a good thing.

So how is technology changing the way that we interact on a human level? Before we move on to the question of technology dependence, let’s look at some other applications.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a big theme today. We’ve discussed the growth of AI here before and the impact on future jobs. However, one of the areas relating social interaction which is interesting, is the development of emotionally intelligent AI software. This is most evident in call centres where some workers can now receive coaching from software in real-time which analyses their conversations with customers. During the call the software can recommend changes such as with style, pace, warning about the emotional state of the customer etc.

Clever stuff, and whilst replacing call centre agents with robots is still something that many predict is a way off (if at all) it does offer an insight into the way that humans and AI might interact in the future. By developing AI to understand mental states from facial expressions, vocal nuances, body posture and gesture software can make decisions such as adapting the way that navigational systems might work depending on the drivers mental condition (for example, lost or confused) or picking the right moment to sell something based on emotional state. The latter does, however, raise wider ethical issues.

So what about the increase in digital dependency and the social impacts? Anyone who has been in close proximity to “millennial gatherings” will have witnessed the sight of them sitting together, head bowed, thumbs moving at a speed akin to Bradley Coopers character in Limitless punctuated by the odd murmuring, comment or interjection. Seems once we drop in a bit of digital tech and a few apps we stifle the art of conversation.

In 2014 a programmer called Kevin Holesh developed an app called Moment which measures the time that a user is interacting with a screen (it doesn’t count time on phone calls). The results interesting, with 88% of those that downloaded the app using their phone for more than an hour a day, with the average being three hours. Indeed, over a 24 hour period, the average user checked their phone 39 times. By comparison, just 6 years earlier in 2008 (before the widespread use of smartphones) people spent just 18 minutes a day on their phone.

It’s the impact on students and the next generation that has raised a few alarm bells. Patricia Greenfield, distinguished professor of psychology and director of the UCLA Children’s Digital Media Center in a recent study found that college students felt closest (or “bonded”) to their friends when they discussed face to face and most distant from them when they text-messaged. However, the students still most often communicated by text.

“Being able to understand the feelings of other people is extremely important to society,” Greenfield said. “I think we can all see a reduction in that.”

Technology is changing everything about how we interact with each other, how we arrange our lives, what we eat, where and how we travel, how we find a partner, how we exercise etc… It is what makes up the rich fabric of the digitised society and will certainly continue to evolve at a pace. Humans, however, may be going the other way.

A Few Thoughts on IoT and its Adoption

Posted on : 11-05-2016 | By : Maria Motyka | In : Innovation, IoT

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The “Internet of Things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic both within and outside corporate environments. As Internet is becoming not only widely available, but even considered a right (as it enables citizens to enjoy their right to expression and opinion, among other basic human rights), the ground is being set for the world of connected devices.

Contrary to common belief, concept is not new (if you are old enough, you’ll remember the story of programmers connecting to Coke machines over the internet in the 1980s to check whether they were stocked before deciding to make the trip down a few floors…) – the term IoT was first used by Kevin Ashton, co-founder of the Auto-ID Centre at MIT in 1999, in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble.

Perhaps the best quote on the topic of IoT is one he made in an article for the RFID journal:

“If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best”.

So, where are we heading with the IoT? Following last year’s peak of the IoT hype (visible through both media and investment), 2016 is the time for a reality-check on IoT and establishing realistic expectations, according to Gartner. A full adoption IoT will be marked by the development IoT platforms and business solutions, the latter being still in an early stage of development.

Mind-blowing numbers. The numbers however suggest, that we have come a long way in terms of IoT adoption. As early as in 2008, there were already more Internet-connected things than people and it is estimated that by 2020, the number of devices connected to the Internet will reach a whooping 50 billion. We can also expect $19 trillion in profits and cost savings coming from IoT over the next 9 years (CMO stats).

So, what about the practical applications of IoT now? One exciting example of IoT application is Nest, which offers Thermostat Smoke + CO Alarm and Camera devices at home. The company’s offering delivers a lot more than just a smoke detector that does not just get attention by frantically swinging a towel at it when grilling sausages 😉

For instance, you can connect to the thermostats throughout the house from a remote app, adjust them manually or, more importantly, detect whether anyone is inside the house and then regulate the device automatically. On the smoke detection side the devices “speak” (or send alerts) rather than annoyingly just emit beeps, and are aware of environmental difference and severity of event.

This is the important piece which relates directly back to Ashtons vision. Indeed, Nest has been working on a smart fridge which can use the same technology to turn up the fridge when no one is at home (as it knows the door won’t be opened).

Other practical examples are in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors. In the former, we already see sensors monitoring an individual’s vital signs such as heart rate, movement, blood pressure etc… and using this data either for personal fitness or medical analysis. There are plenty of smart, but simple, initiatives in this area.

One example of this is Hyginex. This start-up is tackling one of the biggest issues in healthcare, that of hospital acquired infections which lead to just shy of 100,000 deaths each year in the US. Of these, it is estimated that 80% are due to staff not washing hands. To combat this, Hyginex have developed a wristband which reminds them when to sanitise with special “over-bed sensors”  designating patient zones and soap and alcohol dispenser sensors interacting with the wristbands to monitor quality and duration of hygiene events. Simple and smart.

According to Soreon Research, smart wearable devices, which everyone is so hyped about, may help save 1.3 million lives by 2020.

In manufacturing, IoT has potential to radically redefine the supply chain and enable the leaders to provide more differentiated services to customers through a networked ecosystem. Ultimately this supply chain will be able to react intelligently to drive efficiency through changes in environment, circumstance, political landscape and the like. A way off maybe, but we are already seeing commercial telematics solutions delivering efficiency in fleet logistics.

Of course there are many challenges to overcome, not least being the never ending reliance on data and an increasing exposure to cyber-risk.

However, the IoT promises a very different world from that which human beings have orchestrated so far. We are getting closer and closer to its promises being delivered.

 

 

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!