Archive for the ‘VIP’ Category

What’s Next in Mobility

August 14, 2020

Mobility

FountainBlue’s August 14 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘What’s Next in Mobility’, conducted online with introductory remarks provided by our host company at Samsung.

We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who shared a wide range of perspectives across organizations, across industries, across roles.

The definitions around mobility varied greatly, and are all equally valid. Whether we’re talking about physical mobility or wireless mobility or virtual and immersive mobility, they are all forms of mobility.

And each form of mobility is increasingly adopting a more digital implementation. Indeed, mobility is the great differentiator, and leaders, companies, industries, and countries embracing digital transformation will continue to lead and succeed.

The converse is also true. Leaders, companies and industries which do not embrace the opportunities around digitization and mobility, those who do not embrace the opportunities around market disruptions will be left behind.

With physical mobility, there are opportunities around autonomous driving, clean energy, in-vehicle communication, and transportation in the air and in the water. Although the business case for autonomous driving may be years away, we are already proving that the efficient delivery of products to center hubs (e.g. not last mile) provides a huge market opportunity. 

Wireless mobility is enabling workers to remain in communication and remain productive despite the challenges of working from home. The mass adoption of wireless mobility in these days of sheltering at home shows that we can be amazingly productive, but also that wireless mobility helps us do things beyond work, like telehealth.

And virtual reality brings mobility to the next level with the immersion capabilities of augmented reality. Our panelists talked about several use cases where AR/VR, with the support of AI help enterprises to better manage, to better perform, even when we have to choose contact-free options, even when we are separated by great distances.

With that said, there are challenges to the mass adoption of digital solutions enabling mobility.

  • 5G and 6G mobile networks need to be adopted to get better, faster, more reliable access to bandwidth so that we can process the data. This will take a collaboration of industry, government (local, national), and community leaders.
  • Digital adoption requires endpoints/hardware like phones, tablets, laptops and computers. But having them is not enough. We must be trained on how to effectively and efficiently use these tools. (And those individuals and groups and communities not embracing the digital age most certainly will be left behind.)
  • Solutions must be secure and private, following protocols and policies which protect the rights of the users, while also protecting the greater community, the greater good.
  • Adoption by some industries, including oil and gas and energy and healthcare, will be slower than adoption by tech industries including hardware and software.

Below are some examples of opportunities ahead.

  • There will always be the opportunity to make individual solutions more seamless, more ubiquitous.
  • The more we help the less educated, the less informed, the more tech-philic we all become, the larger the market opportunity will be, the more empowered we will all feel.
  • Wireless mobility is making working from home possible when we are sheltering in place. Continuing advancements in this area will help us all be more productive with our work, and also be better able to connect virtually with others as we play and interact. (Nobody said that this replaces face to face interactions – humans are social animal.!)
  • While it may not yet be safe now to play most sports (unless we are in a closed loop environment), there are opportunities to develop virtual / online entertainment solutions which would resonate with huge volumes of users.
  • Optimizing supply chain and manufacturing costs will continue to be a huge opportunity.
  • Robots and humans will co-exist and mobility solutions will help them optimize how they work together.
  • Contact-free access to experts will be a growing ‘thing’, even when we’re past the pandemic. It’s just more efficient to connect experts to others located anywhere around the world.
  • Optimizing security, privacy while providing full access to users will always be an area of great need.
  • The volume of available data keeps growing. But the more data we have, the more efficiently we need to process the data, so that users can make informed decisions. There will always be opportunities to optimize secure and dynamic access to ‘true’ data.
  • Building user interfaces for applications focused on specific personas (types of customers) will be a huge opportunity. 
  • Chatbots and automation will continue to provide huge opportunities.
  • Mobility solutions are needed in clean room environments where cell phones are not allowed.
  • IoT solutions leveraging RISC-V, a free and open ISA can enable a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration, including customized ASICS for IoT.

Finally, there are comments on how we can each support what’s next in mobility.

  • Join advisories and collectives which will help create collaborations for technology adoption of technology standards.
  • Create cross-industry, cross-leader, cross-organization, cross-country partnerships to serve the needs of the customer.
  • Do your part to bridge the digital divide, helping those less fortunate to be better educated, better prepared, and better equipped to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

It’s clear that What’s Next in Mobility is providing many opportunities to better communicate, collaborate, and celebrate together. The digital is bridging the physical – the more who embrace and join the revolution, the better it is for all.

Please join me in thanking our hosts at Samsung, and our participating executives.

The Next Generation Hardware

July 10, 2020

hardware

FountainBlue’s July 10 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Next Generation Hardware’, conducted online with introductory remarks provided by AMD.

We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who shared a wide range of perspectives around the Next Generation of Hardware.

Chips have been powering not just servers, laptops and devices, but now progressively more the Cloud, Gaming, Automotive, AI/ML which requires intensive acceleration of performance, and response times, while also respecting the privacy and security of users.

The hardware – including CPUs, GPUs, Tensor Cores, Digital Signal processing devices, IoT devices – facilitates the generation of the data whereas the software ensures that the right data is captured to drive the application, to report and measure on specific outcomes, to enabled data-based decision-making.

Below is advice from our esteemed hardware executives.

  • As performance and response times as safety-critical – particularly in auto and health-related solutions – OR business-critical – particularly in manufacturing and production – the physical design of all the hardware involved in each solution must be scalable and flexible, working seamlessly with the software.
  • The hardware helps to collect the data, but must be designed so that AI and ML integrated into the software can efficiently collect the relevant data, and provide real-time information to relevant stakeholders.
  • The hardware must be modular enough to work with other hardware units, small enough to fit within a device, powerful enough to meet the needs of the customer, durable enough to withstand intensive usage, and efficient enough to work with minimal power.
    • As an example, the hardware must become even smaller and more portable, so the functionality is provided for demanding customers, in small form factors such as the phones which fit in our pockets!
  • IoT devices will increasingly need to do some processing on the edge, especially when performance is critical. This is the ‘Empowered Edge’.
  • Sort the data in terms of what’s most relevant, most urgent and to what audience, and give actionable real-time reports which would help them make critical decisions.
  • Design the hardware to keep up with the explosion of data, and design it to be flexible enough to work with the software. 

Below are examples of specific enterprise use cases involving augmented reality hardware:

  • Remote assistance, so that the expert can support the user to do everything from monitor or fix or manage equipment or devices from a distant location
  • Guided Workflow, which supports the adoption of efficient processes
  • Digital Collaboration on design and implementation

Below are examples of proactive management solutions related to the production of hardware.

  • Predictive Maintenance to proactively manage when equipment needs parts or service
  • Proactive management of Supply chain to ensure no one part is a limiting factor for production

Below are some thoughts about future trends and things to think about:

  • Much as there has been a consolidation of architectures and GPUs and DSPs, there will also be a consolidation of AI accelerators. Create a software ecosystem to support the AI accelerator, to increase the likelihood of becoming a hardware standard.
  • Leverage biological constructs to design solutions which can store and process immense amounts of data.
  • Hardware does everything from managing the batteries on your phone to navigating home. How can the hardware work with the software to increase performance and accuracy? to do it with a smaller, more powerful footprint? to integrate with other functionality?
  • The Work-From-Home phenomena resulting from the pandemic is exacerbating the adoption of laptop and smartphone hardware innovations as well. With everyone working (or not working) from home, the volume of data is amplified, the adoption of unstructured video data is magnified, and the demand for immediate and accurate response and support is urgent. 
    • What does this mean for chip designers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors? What kinds of innovations would suit this immense and quickly growing WFH user base?
    • What does this mean for the executive who wants to maximize operational and minimize IT issues, while addressing privacy, access and security issues?

We close with some provocative thoughts which might not be too far in the future.

  • What’s next after the smart phone?
  • How do we create an electronic mask for protection?
  • How do we sanitize our clothing between washes?
  • How can we leverage Lidar to better navigate our surroundings?
  • How do we make brain computing a reality?

The pendulum swings back and forth between the hardware and the software, and both will always be important. 

The Future of Work

June 12, 2020

FutureOfWork

FountainBlue’s June 12 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Work’.

We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who shared a wide range of perspectives around the Future of Work.

We have all been impacted by the worldwide pandemic, and more recent by the re-boarding pressures and more recently the civil unrest across the nation. Our thoughts turned to how these game-shifting events will be changing the way we work in the new normal.  

The Future of Work will be digital, leveraging the technology and tools to ensure that people can work productively and securely from anywhere, with full access to tools and information, and in full compliance with regulatory and privacy standards.

Difficult as the technology, process, compliance, security, privacy and other hurdles are to solve, technology leaders and innovators will work together to indeed resolve these issues and provide more versatile, more scalable, more customized solutions for a very demanding and growing customer base. 

Some of the challenging questions are highlighted below:

  • How do we help our people manage work-life integration when work can be done 24×7 from home?
  • How do we facilitate collaboration between staff, partners, customers and executives when we are all working remotely?
  • How do we continue to build current relationships and make new connections when we are not meeting face to face?
  • How will you deliver tradeshow-like experiences for the masses?
  • How do you replace the relationships of trust online which have historically been built in-person?
  • How do we conduct immersive training for our workforce while still sheltering in place?
  • How will schools and universities again survive and thrive while still sheltering in place? and when we re-board?
  • How do we help a remote worker become a fully autonomous worker, with full access to standard operating procedures, roles and responsibilities and priorities?

Below are some suggested best practices in a new normal at work.

  • Ensure that staff has self-service access to HR and IT related support so that they have the infrastructure they need to work seamlessly from remote locations.
  • Embrace digital solutions to optimize both working from home, and also re-boarding.
  • Plan to have sufficient emergency equipment so that those who need to report to work are protected in a future scenario similar to COVID.
  • Provide the equipment and resources so that staff can make productive use of their time.
  • Focus on the result, rather than on when staff can turn in work or how it is done.
  • Think, speak and act like your people are your greatest resource, bringing positive employee experiences to all.
  • Be data-driven so that you can plan-fully address issues and measure and report on outcomes.
  • Generate actionable reports based on specific data.
  • Provide access to contact-less support so that field engineers can access remote experts.
  • Allow customers to personalize their offerings so that they can also efficiently support their staff.
  • Further enable video and audio communications to do everything from telehealth to video conferencing.

Below are some thoughts on the future of work.

  • Look for machine-to-machine communications.
  • Grow the network and infrastructure like 5G/6G to support telecommunications and cell phone usage – there will increasingly be more data to integrate and manage.
  • Design Robotically-based telepresence solutions.
  • Adapt past learnings to new situations/real-world problems.
  • Automate workflow by providing access to self-service applications, incorporating standard modules.
  • Design digital solutions which will replace in-person participation in large conferences.

We concluded that the Future of Work is upon us – with the timeline accelerated through the pandemic. These changes are here to stay. The flexible, the collaborative, the tech-philic leader will be best prepared for this new way of working.

The Last Mile

May 8, 2020

AutonomousDriving

FountainBlue’s May 8 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Last Mile’. We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who shared a wide range of perspectives around the last mile opportunities and challenges.

There were discussions about the challenges for delivering products and services to the last mile and the complexity of tasks necessary to make this happen, including navigating (often crowded, inconsistent and poor) road conditions, and the contact-less movement of parcels for the sake of efficiency and safety. 

Our executives agreed that most of the expense and resources are around delivery to the last mile, and of that distance, the delivery to that last 100 meters – from the curbside to the right door, to the right person. 

Solutions ranged from simulations to robotics to drones, all taking into account privacy and security issues, all leveraging AI and data to optimize results. Below are predictions on how we will be delivering to the last mile going forward.

  • There may be more of an emphasis on commercial vehicles rather than on autonomous driving. 
  • There may be smaller and more frequent deliveries.
  • Enabling people to better work from home is not just relevant now, but also for the foreseeable future as the Future of Work has fundamentally changed.
  • Simulations of how we move and travel might help companies and leaders better plan for last mile deliveries.
  • AR/VR solutions might help companies serve their customers in their homes and businesses, without having to be physically present to do so.
  • Software and automation might help customers to personalize and troubleshoot on their own, with contact-less support.
  • Rural areas which have previously been beyond the reach of delivery services may soon receive deliveries to the door.
  • The use of lockers might become more popular, allowing delivery services to deliver to a local store or market rather than directly to the door of the customer.
  • Leveraging the data around how we commute and travel will help us better plan optimal transit options for workers and citizens.

Our final thoughts were around how we can all plan better to serve more people, including those in most need. Every company, every leader, no matter the background or industry, must be a digital leader, to better serve everyone in that last mile.

Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges

April 10, 2020

Industrial Revolution IT Integration Smart Manufacturing Innovat

FountainBlue’s April 10 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges’. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for our fascinating, wide-reaching and thought-provoking online discussion, featuring our hosts at Honda.

We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who shared a wide range of perspectives around Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges, especially they are impacted by COVID-19. Although we came from different roles and responsibilities, we agreed on many times:

  • Adopt and create technology that is more data-driven, more sophisticated, more integrated, more pervasive. Automation and process improvement is necessary to efficiently bring customized solutions to customers.
  • Remember that it’s always about the people. We need people as part of the solution – to adopt and integrate the technology, to run and implement and improve the processes, to continually update everything based on the needs of the customers, the needs of the team, the plant, the company.
  • Collaborate with business units and R&D teams will help improve our manufacturing and operations. 
  • Adopt innovative new solutions only if they are relevant and helpful now and in the long term, and not too difficult to implement and scale.
  • Collect masses of data and quickly filtering to collect relevant data points help us better understand the problem (and the opportunity) and better make informed decisions.
  • Understand the problem statement and articulating it well will help teams of engineers, data scientists, business professionals to collaboratively design solutions, create and vet prototypes, revise and refine models, and ultimately more efficiently manufacture goods.

Below are some thoughts of fundable opportunities:

  • Provide an offering which would help companies better bridge simulated scenarios with real-world results.
  • Focus on special edge cases/corner cases for manufacturing or distribution
  • Machines in manufacturing plants will continue to be monitored by sensors, which will in turn generate huge volumes of data. There are opportunities to leverage that data to get insights about maintenance, performance, anomalies, etc., and therefore make better informed decisions and forecasts. See Why TinyML is a Giant Opportunity.
  • Invest in sensors which would help better see environment and obstacles on the manufacturing floor
  • Design solutions which let manufacturers go from manual to automated, from automated to intelligent solutions, and learn and adjust.
  • Design Augmented Reality solutions with digital modeling to help manufacturing leaders better optimize for efficiency, accuracy, performance.
  • Create an offering with addresses the question ‘how do we go from screwdriver to software so that we can better optimize for Industry 4.0.’?
  • Design solutions which are both robust and reliable, while address edge and corner cases.

Below are some philosophical thoughts about Industry 4.0 opportunities and challenges.

  • Whereas it might be more difficult for manufacturing plants to convert into the production of N95 masks to support our healthcare providers during the pandemic, it may be more feasible to produce medical grade plastics, rubbers, mechanical parts – items which are just as useful.
  • The pandemic has further facilitated the convergence across industries – where industry leaders with manufacturing facilities are all supporting our healthcare workers as they serve those impacted by COVID-19.
  • Infrastructure innovations need to take place to ensure that people are better prepared for and better able to respond to the next crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in our personal and work lives, and will have a lasting impact on everyone. 
  • Globalization will lead to localization, with a focus on customized local solutions. In turn, localized solutions will be applicable to global markets. The trick is knowing how to quickly and optimally manage the high variability of scenarios and deliver timely solutions.
  • Let’s design better contingency plans so that we are better prepared for another unforeseen scenario with global impact and ripple effects.
  • There are opportunities for each of us to collaborate as leaders, as technologists, as industries to better run our businesses while better taking care of everyone – doing well, while doing good.

Our final thoughts are around what we are all seeking: sustainability, continuity, innovation for ourselves, our companies, and all those we serve.

Opportunities and Challenges for Innovating on the Edge

March 13, 2020

EdgeComputing

FountainBlue’s March 13 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Innovating on the Edge’, with leaders from Maxim for leading the virtual discussion. Thank you also to our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation.  

We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who worked in and around the edge computing field. As we grow solutions around edge computing, they agreed that it’s important to manage the following:

  • Seamless connection on an ongoing basis
  • Low latency/rapid response, especially when the stakes are high
  • Immersive experience so people can manage and use the solutions effectively
  • Connectivity wherever you go
  • Privacy and security of users and their data

In order to do that, we need to do the following:

  • Capture, manage and process the volumes of data generated by the growing number of sensors, devices, wearables
  • Increase speed of access to the data, without a gap
  • Gather, integrate, process and filter data between all sensors/devices/wearables on the edge in the cloud 
  • Send back filtered/processed data back to the edge for response and action

Challenges and opportunities abound. Below are some thoughts around the data.

  • Optimize the gathering/filtering/processing of data and returning only the ‘relevant’ data back to the edge/device/user
  • Validate the accuracy of the data generated.
  • Remember that where there is data, AI and ML can improve that data, making it more relevant and useful. 

Other challenges and opportunities are highlighted below.

  • Make algorithms effective enough to be useful, small enough to not consume too much power, not take too much time to process.
  • Design the architecture to better manage the power for devices/sensors/wearables on the edge.
  • Make the hardware small and compact, but also simple to integrate with the firmware and software.
  • The processing of images and videos will also provide many opportunities.

Below is advice on how to better innovate on the edge.

  • Provide options for selecting variables and rules which impact what data.
  • Validate the integrity of the data received from sources on the edge.
  • Make predictions about what’s going to happen based on patterns of what’s happened in the past.
  • Work with regulators so that they understand how technology works and can update their policies so that people are protected, but they can also get access to life-saving and life-improving solutions in such regulated industries as automotive and healthcare.
  • Proactively manage and maintain systems, computers and machines so that they can send data about system health and issues, including issues which might be related to their own functioning.
  • If you’re running multiple engineering/product teams, help them collaborate on common solutions, bringing the best brains and solutions together rather than working in silos
  • Provide personalized solutions for client companies which would have immediate benefits as well as scalable impact.
  • The mass adoption of 5G wireless has reached health and infrastructure obstacles, so don’t count on its adoption as part of your sales and marketing strategy for your edge computing solution.
  • Create edge computing solutions which meet the ‘hard constraints’ of being on the edge: the need for POWER, the SIZE of the device, and the COST to manufacture, distribute and maintain these devices/sensors/wearables. 

We end with the staggering thought that we will soon have 42 billion connected devices. The solutions that we are providing and planning today are real use cases. But think also about what’s transformational for the future – not just what devices are sensing, but also empowering a tool/process/human/algorithm to take proactive action, based on data generated, models created. We are not quite there, and is much thinking, collaboration, and working to do before we get there, and many safeguards to put in place to make sure that’s done right.

DevOps Opportunities and Challenges

February 15, 2020

DevOps

FountainBlue’s February 14 VIP roundtable, on the topic of ‘DevOps Opportunities and Challenges’. Thank you also to our gracious host at Comcast. Below are notes from the conversation.  

We were fortunate to have a diverse range of executives in attendance who worked in devops in many different ways. Collectively, they defined ‘devops’ in the following way:

  • tools and processes designed to empower and enable developers to better serve internal and external customers;
  • systems and solutions intended to help developers integrate solutions end-to-end, rather than handing off projects to other parties;
  • integrated solutions and processes which help individuals, teams, and leaders better respond to a fast-moving, highly-demanding customer base;
  • systems designed to facilitate the communication and coordination, encourage the collaboration between silos of stakeholders.

Our executives agreed that the many elements of devops solutions are integral to the success of ventures large and small, and that individuals and companies who don’t acknowledge and accept this fact will be left behind.

Below are thoughts on how best to support the adoption of devops principles.

  • Consider the needs of all stakeholders in designing solutions.
  • Align all stakeholders behind a corporate vision, a common goal.
  • Hold everyone accountable for the success of a project, rather than on 
  • Blur the line on role definition, boundaries between what you do and what others do. Focus on what we do together, what success together looks like, how to align behind a common mission/vision/milestone.
  • Help people plan from the top down, deliver from the bottom up.
  • Clear, transparent communication from the top-down, from the bottom up is critical.
  • Not everyone will embrace the new way of doing business with devops principles. 
  • Collaboratively design a process which delivers measured results. From there, you can decide on which tools and which people can help deliver those results.
  • Find and recruit the passionate, the talented, the open, the hungry and empower them to succeed.
  • Embrace a culture of accountability. Erase a culture of entitlement. 
  • Executive sponsorship and buy-in are essential to encourage a shift to a more open, more devops-oriented culture.
  • Consider Security and Scalability issues in designing extensible devops solutions.

We close with some key comments:

  • Partnerships within and across the company are key to all devops initiatives.
  • Devops leaders and innovators are resourceful, action-oriented and results-focused.

Thank you again for taking the time to join us and share your perspective and information. 

Healthcare Opportunities and Challenges

January 21, 2020

Healthcare

FountainBlue’s January 17 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Healthcare Opportunities and Challenges’. Thank you also to our gracious host at Roche. Below are notes from the conversation.  

We had an outstanding group of diverse executives, all representing the breadth and depth of healthcare – from medical equipment and medical supplies and devices, to healthcare services and providers, to the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and miscellaneous scientific and professional services related to the curative, preventive, rehabilitative, and palliative care of patients of every ilk.

Through the variance of perspectives, our healthcare executives agreed the data revolution continues and is impacting healthcare in many ways, even enabling personalized medicine. For example, the sheer volume of knowledge is overwhelming and the accumulation of knowledge continues to escalate. In fact, accumulated medical knowledge took 50 years to double, but today, it takes 73 days.  

What becomes critical then is figuring out what data is relevant to whom for what purpose and how that relevant data will drive better decision-making for patients, practitioners, providers, vendors, care-givers, insurers, etc. 

Below are some opportunities highlighted by our executives:

  • Leverage the data to optimize diagnosis, decision-making, and treatment easier, more collaborative, more robust, more dynamic.
  • Embrace technological solutions to age-old health challenges.
  • Help institutions and providers leverage technology to be more effective and more efficient.
  • Provide integrated hardware and software solutions which help patients optimize their own health, manage their own conditions.
  • Efficiently provide comprehensive, individualized programs which are scalable and customizable, yet also cost-effective to manage and run.
  • Serve the proactive, informed patient/consumer who will increasingly demand more personalized services.
  • Offer technology solutions which enabled integrated health and wellness.
  • Create solutions which help hospitals integrate legacy data and hardware, while also improving processes and providing more digital functionality.
  • Consider opportunities around remote monitoring for the aging population, leveraging mobile devices and sensors.
  • Optimize logistics, delivery, fulfillment and retail support for the highly-regulated healthcare market.
  • Integrate today’s hot technologies into comprehensive healthcare applications: AI/ML, Edge Computing, IoT, Robotics, Deep Fake, 3D modeling, AR/VR…

A major theme in the discussion is that collaboration across leaders, organizations, nations, and industries is key.

  • Corporations continue to make build/buy/partner decisions with start-ups targeting specific niche markets.
  • The sharing of data, if managed well to respect privacy and access, can benefit all stakeholders.
  • Create platforms which would allow multiple stakeholders to collaborate in the service of patients, in the search for cures.
  • Industry leaders and technologists and advocacy groups need to partner with policymakers to improve the evaluation process, to better serve patients.
  • Genius ideas can come from anywhere – providing the data and information will help more geniuses step forward.

The bottom line is that no matter where we sit at the table, as a patient, as a technologist, as a provider, we are all in charge of our own health. Empowering all stakeholders with tools, resources and information will help us all make better healthcare choices.

Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

December 8, 2019

SmartCities

FountainBlue’s December 6 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings’. Thank you also to our gracious host at Hyundai. Below are notes from the conversation.  

As usual, our executives in attendance for this month’s roundtable represented a wide breadth of companies, industries, experience and perspectives. They shared many common thoughts around this month’s topic.

They each agreed that it’s always about the data. (Of course it’s about the data.!) However, instead of thinking about the vast volumes of generated data (which has doubled in the last 3-5 years!), think about how best to filter that data so that it’s immediately relevant, as defined by individual users.

In the context of smart cities and smart buildings, remember that we are talking about 1) physical hardware – from networks to computers to robotics and sensors – and 2) the data generated by all these physical elements (see above), and then 3) the leveraging of that data through software and integrated solutions so that we address specific customer and market needs. 

Below are several specific use cases.

  • Automobile manufacturers are becoming smart mobility partners as well. It’s not just about selling cars, it’s about providing an experience which keeps drivers and passengers connected and safe. 
  • Robotics solutions will help deliver goods to the last mile, within city infrastructure – both physical and digital (networks). 
  • Provide transit for the last mile in crowded cities – transit which is flexible, customizable and safe. 
  • Occupancy maps for buildings and more sophisticated lighting and heating options will optimize building efficiency. The technology is available for the most part, but the adoption may be slow.
  • Doors becoming sensors may help manage security and access into buildings.
  • Sophisticated cameras can help proactively target the type of outlying behaviors worthy of action, and quickly mobilize relevant authorities. 
  • Connecting inanimate objects with each other – car-to-car, car-to-building, sensor-to-building, etc., can help address specific communication and collaboration and safety goals. It will also generate huge volumes of data which need to be managed proactively.
  • Provide low-friction shared mobility in collaboration with local cities, businesses, citizens while also respecting the privacy and security of all participants. Then leveraging aggregated and anonymized data to better understand how we can anticipate and serve individuals, groups, etc., and better anticipate the motivations and behaviors of individuals. There are many business implications if this is done well. 

Below are thoughts on how generating relevant data will lead to new businesses and better business models.

  • With volumes of collected data, you can not just understand who’s going where when, but also look at the patterns of behavior and see what might be impacting specific behaviors. These ‘movement maps’ is machine learning at its finest!
  • The ability to dynamically filter data based on a multitude of factors will create endless business opportunities, especially if the same data set can serve many different niche customers, and deeply serve individual customers.
  • Understanding past behaviors and data, and also current patterns of behavior will help businesses better anticipate and address needs. The possibilities are endless.
  • Having a standard set of protocols and formats will help integrate and manage data. Collaboration needs to happen in order to set these standards.

The group shared some final thoughts in specific areas:

  • Personalization is key – how do you both provide exactly and specifically what someone wants while also dynamically serving everyone else and their specific needs?
  • Security is fundamental. 
  • Privacy is to always be respected. 
  • Collaboration between government authorities, businesses, investors, users, etc., is essential.

We concluded with many thoughts on the Circular Economy and asked ourselves how can we all do good – serving those with some basic human needs, while also doing well? What’s the business case for serving those with the basic needs and who will help bring everyone forward. We didn’t have an answer, but agreed with Margaret Mead. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Data is the New Black

November 9, 2019

data

FountainBlue’s November 1 VIP roundtable, on the topic of ‘Data is the New Black’. Thank you also to our gracious host at Automation Anywhere. Below are notes from the conversation.  

Here’s the thing about data:

  • There’s a wealth of it, and it’s just getting overwhelming bigger.
  • It drives everything – every industry, every person, every company. 
  • It’s good news for the semiconductor industry and other sectors which make sure that we have the storage, the energy, the network needed so that people can keep getting access to that data.
  • Data within legacy systems might be valuable, but it is likely also difficult to access.
  • Data across multiple sources might be useful, but it is likely to connect data across multiple source into a common dataset, useful enough to understand problems and make decisions.

With that said, here’s the challenge and opportunity around data.

  • There’s so much of it that we need to filter it first to identify which data is relevant and then also for what we need immediately, what we need in the short term, and what we might need in the long term.
  • It takes a lot of energy and resources to keep the data, so we must be strategic about what data to keep and how we can efficiently get it into the hands of those who need it most.
  • Compliance to security and privacy issues make data management high-stakes for all. 
  • Having an interoperable standard for data sharing might help better integrate data across sources, teams, companies, industries.
  • Customers today are empowered and fickle. Companies must be able to innovate and customize more quickly to serve their needs.
  • Even adopted solutions have much shorter life cycles today, as customers want solutions which are better and faster and more battery efficient. 
  • People are at the heart of the problem around data privacy. They want their privacy and their access. It’s hard to give people both at the same time every time.  

Below are some shared best practices:

  • Make a plan on how data is gathered, managed and distributed. 
  • Plan for a future with much more data. Be selective about what data is important.
  • Collaborate with other people, companies and industries and share best practices.
  • Focus your data plans on the needs of your customers and your partners.
  • Consider the intentions and ethics around the people and companies providing the data.
  • Policy may not be the answer to managing data mishandling. Indeed, it may cause more complications, less fairness.
  • People should be responsible enough to know how their data is used and astute enough to take the data they receive with a grain of salt – even to the point of questioning the validity of the data and the intentions of the party providing the data.
  • Create solutions with tiny form factors to better address the needs of demanding customers.
  • Ask for less information from customers when you ask them to sign up for something – the less friction you’re providing to the customer experience, the better results you could get.
  • There will be a growing convergence of tech and ethics and values. Speak to the elephant in the room – facilitate that conversation between stakeholders within and across organizations.  
  • Use fewer resources to manage ‘garbage data’. Yes, all data might one day be useful, but focus on the data that’s more likely to be useful, now and soon, rather than data which might one day be useful. 

Below are thoughts on the future opportunities.

  • The future may have more self-learning – e.g. more AI, less raw data.
  • Use ML to identify patterns early enough to address and even prevent diseases. 
  • Making sense of unstructured data provides huge opportunities. 

The bottom line is that data is everywhere – the use of access and usage are complicated, the stakes are high – you want to give the right people immediate and full access without compromising the integrity and accuracy of the data, and while respecting the privacy of those who ‘own’ the data.