Thinking Beyond the Hype: Reflections on the 10th CW International Conference
In my role as MD Europe for Innovecs, I attended the latest tech and telecoms conference, hosted by Cambridge Wireless, Thinking Beyond The Hype. A 400 person delegation from startups, think tanks, and noteworthy brands such as Vodafone, Inmarsat, Iridium, Gartner, ARM, and DCMS collectively discussed progress and innovation within running themes including Industrial IoT, the road to 5G, Blockchain, Mixed-Reality (MR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).
Except for AR and VR, most of the afore-mentioned themes have been shown on the Gartner Hype Cycle in the Peak of Inflated Expectations (see figure 1). Therein lies the challenge for the event participants: Are there any identifiable solutions, business models and killer apps bringing societal and commercial value at scale as digital economies progress? Or in plainer English, what is the business case for 5G? Or how can organizations harness IoT, MR, AI, ML, (and any other acronym), or ubiquitous connectivity to successfully drive more cost-effective, productive, secure, and convenient digital services for their customers?
Several success stories did emerge through the day. For example, Finning. The largest distributor of Caterpillar equipment in the world, illustrated how a digital strategy which included connecting all remote devices, end to end digitization of their supply chain processes, investment in big data aggregation and processing, and preventative and predictive analysis, has led to 10 – 20% operational gains (8% reduction in fleet size, 31% reduction in cost per tonne and 32% increase in fuel efficiency) across UK & Ireland.
Another example is DarkTrace, a successful startup in the Cybersecurity space, which has focused its unique approach on algorithm design and data processing to expose intelligent insights into possible Cyber Attacks around the world. ARM, the Softbank owned semiconductor and software design company, has put a firm footing in Cloud-based, secure Embedded SIM technology to power Industrial IoT solutions.
Several emerging trends were discussed throughout the day:
- Represented by the GEO satellite provider, Inmarsat, and conversely, the LEO satellite provider, Iridium, both expressed an evolution in the satellite business model from selling capacity through building affordable B2B2x managed service solutions across a number of verticals including transport, agriculture, health, education, disaster response in a world of ubiquitous connectivity.
- In the world of AR and MR, Ultrahaptics demonstrated an innovative commercial approach to blending in the sense of touch to form Mixed-Reality experiences – and get this! – without gloves or wearables through the use of ultrasound.
- The discussion on AI and ML led to a need for more service providers who have the ability to combine massive data sets and harness meaningful insights through clever algorithms to solve real-life business problems.
In aggregate, for startups and young solution providers like Innovecs, the days of monolithic incumbents solving customer and industry issues are gone. The road to 5G heralds a brave new world where smaller players, with smart solutions, can play a part and win a slice of the growing digital pie. What it needs is an open collaboration, flexible commercial contracts and distinct lines of accountability. The policymakers in the room, of course, said conducive regulation enabling markets to foster innovation is a clear requirement. What may emerge is plenty of trials and proof of concepts. However, one would argue, the scale is also possible with aligned objectives and investment (between Government, investors, and industry)
Where can Innovecs play a part in this world of next-generation wireless? With proven capability in SaaS cloud platform development, UI/UX, business intelligence and data analytics, gamification and vertical prowess in the supply chain, healthcare, retail, and telco, there’s a fantastic opportunity for large and small service providers to partner with cost-efficient solution providers like Innovecs. In this digital era, Innovecs builds customer-centered digital solutions for business – where both consumer and business see the benefits of simplicity in user flow design, security in the management of data, analytics in offering valuable insights and operational efficiency in the digitization of legacy problems.
Open the doors to collaboration…