In July the ICW community met at Altitude at the top of Milbank Tower on the banks of the river Thames offering spectacular views across London. The focus for this event was the Digital economy and the role of collaboration in the development, utilisation and deployment of new technology.
Our Chairman Lord Evans welcomed our members and guest offering his perspective on the exciting new development in technology having recently been a key note speaker himself on the digital economy.
Katy Liddell, MD of Commercial Development of Telefonica Digital UK, who is responsible for identifying the emerging digital products and services and accelerating commercialisation of these through their UK business, provided the key note address. Positioning collaboration based on customers becoming more demanding driving the need for innovation where collaboration enhances innovation. The two are not mutually exclusive but build off each other. Her key message was that technology can help but we should always remember that people connect with people. This led on to the need to make collaboration an organisational change strategy and create a culture around it and harness diversity to solve problems. The digital revolution is a great opportunity for leaders to take advantage of technology to engage with our people and our customers.
Michele Nati, PhD, is currently Privacy and Trust Technical Leader at Digital Catapult an Innovation Centre for accelerating UK SMEs businesses in the data and IoT areas.
As a national centre to rapidly advance the UK's best digital ideas, it is a not–for-profit established to unlock proprietary data in faster, better and more trusted ways. Its focus is on the Data Value Chain through open Innovation and offers Hands-on help with specific issues around growth and scaling from our network of high-calibre experts. Michele highlighted the barriers and their approach to Building Trust and empowering the customer.
Ivan's presentation was centred on the Silent Herdsman and the deployment of Precision Livestock Farming. The increasing world-wide demand for good quality animal products whilst heavily reducing environmental load and resource use with farms becoming larger to remain profitable and the cost of skilled labour is increasing. The focus was the application of technology within animal production by focusing husbandry staff onto those animals that most require attention. Animal wellbeing is a chain linking to farmer profitability, product quality, consumer satisfaction and environmental sustainability. Silent Herdsman® is the basis for a highly scalable and functional decision support platform provisioning cloud based services that assist in securing a sustainable food supply internationally. The approach involved development of health and condition monitoring through neck mounted collars as a foundation to creating decision support services to catalyse improve production efficiency through animal wellbeing.
Andrew is responsible for working with clients to develop solutions that help drive engagement with colleagues and customers using a range of digital technologies including simulation, serious games, gamification, communications and education.
Filtering The Noise was Andrew's key theme and the emphasis on time. Collaboration has changed dramatically as working patterns have changed. In the 19th century and the early part of the last century we were a directed economy. A few people making decisions and telling everyone else what to do. In our knowledge based society the ability to collaborate, share ideas, pool and collect knowledge, provide access to the right people at the right times is vital. Moving from a process based economy to one that actively requires us to collaborate to be successful. For a long time it was face to face and then the first digital revolution happened. As technology changed, economies became globalised, partnerships more diverse the ability to share information quickly and easily became important.
Email was a boon it is a blunt instrument with 2 billion emails every 20 minutes but we are being inundated with emails demanding instant response. Surely it would be better to provide people only that communication which is critical to them, and allow them to filter out the noise that consistently attached to them.
New global business structures are just one of several critical challenges calling for a new approach to information sharing and collaboration. The time is right with the coming together of technology, cloud based applications, Mobile and desktop platforms converging, Cognitive Computing showing us only what we need to see giving us time to think, create and be productive. One of the challenges of any new way of working, of any new tool is ensuring that we use it effectively and understand how to make the most of these new tools.
Jarnail is directly engaged with Microsoft Research and other specialist labs in Microsoft to envision the future, validating new developments and bring ideas to life. John's responsibilities include identifying, developing and delivering technologies to assist mobility, conducting technology related market research and building partnerships with organisations in the public and private sector that can support Guide Dogs' technology agenda.
Their joint presentation built on the Guide Dogs 'Family Day Out' project first launched at a previous ICW event and now headed 'Cities Unlocked'. The concept was to bring together in collaboration the technology of Microsoft with the needs of blind and partially sighted to enhance their capability to travel. This involved working with Bus and train operators, station management and local councils to pilot a journey from Reading to Paddington utilising digital technology. Not only could the approach help in making such a journey practical it was also able to provide information about the locations as they travelled. This remarkable collaboration has provided a proof of concept that has multiple applications for the future.
Gareth's theme was focused on the Internet of Things (IOT). With its long history of developing both industrial and household products Toshiba has a leading role in IOT including smart metering. The Internet of things, is all about connecting all these IP addressable 'things' to provide value added services, capability and new technology through leveraging this connection. IOT helps us connect all these things together and provide value added services through innovation.
Toshiba UK believe that a cost, data, and service sharing model is most appropriate for consumers creating the most value, and delivering the largest benefits. Convenience is key to enable consumers to engage appropriately, and people will vote with their feet if privacy and security concerns are not addressed. Collaboration and working together is the key for the connected home and IOT opportunity is in technology that improves people's lifestyles.
AXELOS is a joint venture company, created by the Cabinet Office on behalf of Her Majesty's Government (HMG) in the United Kingdom and Capita plc to run the Global Best Practice portfolio. MMT Digital architect, design and build bespoke websites and applications. Working in collaboration together to deliver a secure and scalable web platform that provides key services including: a global partner portal, a new corporate website and a new community where customers can share and collaborate. Working as a single team they successfully migrated from nine separate product websites across two hosting partners to a single unified site. The new fully responsive AXELOS.com enables a user to use it just as effectively on a mobile phone or tablet, as on a desktop or laptop computer.
Will offered his observations about collaborative working in a fast growth start-up. He likened starting a Business is like jumping off a cliff and assembling a plane on the way down”. Will founded Launchpad Recruits a Recruitment and HR Technology platform and recognised the power of collaboration when facing the challenge of how to deploy teams globally, which had the skills and ability to do the job requirement of them, but would also work cohesively as a team and within the cultural framework for a specific customer. He gave his own insight into the art of collaborative thinking alongside the aspiration of his customers and how technology has played a critical part in the evolution of dynamic workforce management. More recently, as they have built the business with teams throughout the world, the need to work closely with those off-shore teams in a dynamic way, is never more critical'.
Andy provided a number of examples where digital collaboration had been working in the context of essential Industries. The use of Digital technologies by Electricity Northwest to link up a Vulnerable Customer Strategy and their Priority Services Register which connected the British Red Cross, National Health Service, National Energy Action and Wales and West Gas Company to identify and respond to those experiencing problems. Digital Mapping ('beneath your feet' - 'above your head') was an approach by Scottish Power and Western Power Distribution to maintain visibility of power networks. Another aspect was the linkup between National Rail Enquiries with Service Delay Information, Real-time updates of repairs by Network Rail, Train Operating Companies, Maintenance Providers.
Looking to the future opportunities for Digital Collaboration Andy identified areas such as; National Smart Meter Programme, Smart Devices and Appliances, Micro Generation and Battery Storage, and Digital Railway to increase capacity and improve service information.