Tech all over: from trends to fashion
On May 22nd, the afternoon session of day 2 of the ICT Spring 2019 AI/Digital Summit was opened by Master of Ceremonies Frank Roessig, Fintech Leader, Proximus, who argued that AI will change the way we work, not replace it before handing over to the first speaker.
The post-digital era is upon us
The personal anecdote of Tom Ghelen (Associate Director, Accentue Technology) took the audience back to the first working day of his life in September 1999 when he drove in to Brussels from the country and navigated his way to his place of work using a physical Michelin street map. Today it would be very different! He emphasized the significance of this point by underlining that AI is not going to change the world … it already has! Everything and everybody is already digital.
So the debate now needs to turn to the post-digital era. Mr Ghelen identified several trends which he believes will become important:
1. DARQ Power – (distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality (XR) and quantum computing.). These emerging technologies will transform organisations individually, but collectively, the DARQ technologies will also power the innovation and opportunity uniquely associated with the coming post-digital era. As the business landscape transitions into a combination of digital natives and businesses well into their digital transformations, DARQ is the key that will open unimagined new pathways into the future.
2. Get to know me – AI will continue to drive the “market of one” ever further into our every day lives
3. Human+ Worker – companies need different kinds of worker. Every digital job is generating 4 other jobs, and increasingly HR departments are using technology to select the right people, not only in tracking our digital footprints, but also by testing in augmented reality, and monitoring and ensuring continuity of skills.
4. MYMARKETS – the idea that companies can hook in to what is currently trending and meet the consumers’ demand for it at the speed of now. An example is that Adidas are now able to 3D print shoes in store to a customer’s unique requirements.
Is your Business ready for Gen-Z?
Anshul Gupta (Founder & CEO, RazrCorp) is interested in millennials. He points out that they are the largest generation ever … over 2 billion strong, and asks, “How do businesses get ready for millennials?”
This is a crucial question. Millennials are completely changing the way that we work, shop, market, customer service, bank, entertain and commute, with most of the industries that touch our every day lives already disrupted by their new demands and expectations. Publishing, music, video, retail, travel have all seen incredible change in a very short space of time, change led by emerging technologies and their widespread adoption by the millennial generation. The way we think will change radically says Mr. Gupta, who cites the case of Uber, who he claims are targeting young teens to get them used to the idea of shared usage instead of ownership and quotes American economist and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin who last year claimed that “25 years from now car sharing will be the norm and car ownership the anomaly”.
Mr. Gupta warned also that Gen-Z consumers will change the way companies can function in demanding 24-hour service and a frictionless data experience with little traditional product loyalty thus driving an evolving and growing direct to consumer model, and promoting partnerships as with VW and Lyft, or Toyota and Uber.
Smart & Secure Mobile Connectivity for Enterprise Applications and Internet of Everything
Artem Kirillov (COO & co-founder, MTX Connect) is concerned that although more or less everyone accepts that we are in a heavily connected world, the so called IoE (Internet of Everything) where connected devices outnumber humanity by three to one, we often do not stop to consider what we are using to connect. He challenges the traditional model of a SIM connected to a traditional MNO which has to be changed from territory to territory for operational or billing reasons and promotes the idea of a carrier free B2B connectivity which will co-exist with the local MNO in territories across the globe.
Designing Smart Object
Simone Tertoolen (Designer and founder, MINOIS) is a UI designer who started the User Experience Lab at TomTom which, apart from their pioneering work in GPS devices also did a lot of ergonomics work in rethinking the car user interface. She is currently advising the freight forwarding company Shypple in building a user experience team that will transform the way that this traditional company will interact with its customers in the post-digital age. As her passion is in designing things for users moving from A to B, she has developed some ideas of what are the key things: to consider in designing a UI, and breaks them down into three main areas:
1) Half an Eye – while travelling, the user will often not be able to focus full attention on the device, so the interaction must be clear and easy to read.
2) Only one hand to control the UI – again, a travelling user often does not have the luxury of two free hands, so devices and interfaces need to be designed accordingly
3) No focused attention – the traveler will often be concentrating on other things, so the interface and the results must be intuitive and easy to understand
Tech Trends in Fashion
When she was studying fashion, Ishwari Thopte (FashTech and Investment Program Manager) loved designing, but did not love the bit about actually making what she had designed, and dreamed of the day when such unique, one-off production could be outsourced quickly and cheaply. Later while working at Centre for Fashion Enterprise, London’s pioneering fashion and fashtech incubator, she started to get involved from the ground up with technology and companies that would do exactly that, and a whole lot more. The CFE is a non-profit organization match-funded by University of the Arts London and the European Regional Development Fund, that acts as an incubator and provides business support for new fashion and design talent in London, which includes wearable technology, textile innovations, augmented reality as well as geo-location and billing solutions. As in other market sectors, a budding entrepreneur may have a brilliant idea, but if they don’t also have the technical, infrastructural or administrative and marketing skills necessary, then, like most startups, there is a high chance that they will fail within the first two years.
Milliseconds make Millions: how your site speed impacts your Business
Nuria Gonzalez-Candia (Mobile Specialist, Google) took the stage and introduced the idea of how important time is with websites by using the example of a timer in sports … not only does the timer tell you how fast you have gone, it also differentiates the winners and the losers. Thus it is with site design, particularly as we move further and further away from desk top to smart phone as the driver and consumer of online activity.
Currently although 50%-60% of queries online are made from mobile devices, sales conversions are twice as high on the desktop. This is changing, the next billion users will be mobile only, so in a few years many people will see desktop computing as a part of our history. Thus the customer relationship with you, or not, will occur through your mobile interface, which will either grow or slow your business, and therefore dictates that new development needs to be mobile first.
Customers will compare your response times with the global market leaders, and not necessarily in your field, and the estimate is that an additional 1 second delay in mobile load times can impact conversion rates by as much as 20%, and that 53% of mobile site visitors leave if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
The conclusion is that companies need a plan of action involving planning, coordination and discipline with clearly defined KPIs that allow you to monitor whether you are meeting your clients’ needs. Do you need the website to load in 2 seconds, 3 seconds, 10 seconds? Get it right at the beginning, and make sure that the software remains performant and doesn’t become bloated and slow down, because there are plenty of other sites out there who are ready to replace you.
Future Forecast: Cloudy with a high chance of AI. How to build a Best in Class Platform to harness the Power of Artificial Intelligence
Jerome Bouthers (CIO and Head of Innovation for EMEA, J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg) questions the current trend by the cloud providers of inextricably linking cloud services with AI, and argues that neither is dependent upon the other. Yes, AI needs a lot of data, supplied vary fast and without bottle necks, but that does not mean that it has to be in the cloud, any more than it has to run on an ultra-high performance computer … it all depends on the application that is being developed. The important thing is to recognize the layers in the build process, and to ensure that appropriate technology is used at each level.
AI transforming FINTECH – when and how?
Karl A. Johannesson (Strategic Advisor EU Markets, DeepBlue Technology) has spent the last 25 years working with the world’s biggest companies in high tech and sees the key trends for Fintech as starting by picking the “low hanging fruits” which he sees in areas such as:
- API and Data with machine learning algorithms for incremental increase in productivity.
- Blockchain and data security defining data storage processes to the benefit of standardization and an increase in streamlining
- Decision making support using deep learning techniques and semi-automated decision making tools
- Chatbots with continuous transition towards optimizing the man/machine interface
- Workflow rationalization with resultant productivity gains and cost reductions
The results should be an increase in the accuracy of decisions making, better fraud detection and wealth management for the masses, a complete redefinition of customer service, regulatory compliance, trading and money management.
Unlocking Potential – Perspectives in organizing Transformations
A Round Table moderated by Patrice Witz (Technology & Digital Partner, PwC Luxembourg) gathered Daniele Pagani (Head of Digitalisation & IT Arcelor Mittal Flat Europe), Anne Hoffmann (Head of Digital & Deputy Curator, Les 2 Musées de la Ville de Luxembourg), Gilles Delattre (VP Digital Transformation Office, Luxair), Roger Kraemer (Coordinator Digital Banking BCEE) and Remy Els (CIO, Foyer Assurances). Transformation has always been a sensitive area of human resource and customer management, never more so that when ushering in disruptive new practices into well established businesses. Moderator Patrice Witz went round the table and asked the panel for their views on why, how to get started, and how to organize?
Roger Kraemer notes that customer behaviour is changing a lot, that these days everyone has their bank in their pocket. The new mobile banks are capturing 25% of all new customers, so the legacy banks have to react. He quoted the example of N26 Bank which has 230 staff and over 3 million customers and compared to his own which has 1600 staff, and simply because of the scale of Luxembourg, a whole lot fewer customers.
Gilles Delattre explained that in the travel industry the disruption largely started with RyanAir in 2000 with almost all sales taking place across the internet and observed that at some stage the traditional companies feel the pain and have to react.
Anne Hoffmann’s mission is to project the history of Luxembourg in a contemporary visitor experience and transform the museums into “digital” museums. For her, having a clear vision from her director was vital.
Remy Els spoke of the need for a sense of urgency, and underlined that the company’s leadership needs to be sure of the “whys”.
For Daniele Pagani the main driver was simply survival in a market with lower steel consumption and over capacity. It was necessary to become more agile, more customer-centric and simplify the business
Patrice Witz then asked the panel what were the key challenges, and what particular problems arose?
Gilles Delattre spoke of the need to have alignment on the “pain points” and what to do when they arise, and expressed the sentiment that in order to drive any kind of radical change you need one sponsor, one decider, otherwise it is very difficult to get things through.
Daniele Pagani referred to his organisation’s complexity and number of plants and said that it is not enough to have approval at board level, to drive change in what happens in the field and on the shop floor you have to win support across the entire organization … every process, every plant.
Roger Kraemer said that not only do you have to convince the board, but for a well-established business like BCEE you have to change the mindset in employees whose average age in their case is 43 years. To have any chance of success you have to start change management from day 1, otherwise you are fighting a losing battle.
Patrice Wittz closed in asking the panel to recount the single key thing that they learned from their transformations. For Remy Els it was about people ... finding the right talents and keeping them. Gilles Delattre gave the sound advice that as a group you should divide a big project into small pieces and fail fast, or, as he put it “cut the elephant”. Roger Kraemer simply said that “you have to dare” while Anne Hoffmann opined that you should aim for the lowest fruits, prove value, then you can justify more … so build on success. Daniele Pagani closed with the three words of advice “listen, listen, listen”.
Photos: Marion Dessard