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Three game-changing technologies of 2016

Kenny MacIver — November 2016

Insight from digital guru Don Tapscott, Hotels.com CTO Thierry Bedos and Fujitsu CTO Dr Joseph Reger on blockchains, business-wide big data analytics and the dawn of the AI era.

The blockchain revolution
Don Tapscott
Digital visionary and business author

The underlying technology of blockchain might actually represent a second era of the internet. For the past 40 years we’ve had the internet of information; and now, with blockchains, we’re getting the internet of value.

Blockchains will affect the enterprise very profoundly, regardless of what industry you’re in.  That will cause us to rethink the boundaries of the firm. Blockchain gets to the core of commercial activity, of wealth creation, to the heart of innovation, to the real machinery about what makes an economy work. It raises the prospect of changing the fundamental structure of the corporation, of how we orchestrate capability in society, innovate to create goods and services, and engage with the rest of the world.

If you’re a CIO or a CTO or someone who cares about technology in your company, this is the biggest thing since the worldwide web, and it may be bigger. And there are very far-reaching new business models already occurring that are just shaking the windows and rattling the walls of many industries.

Big data in the business mainstream
Thierry Bedos
CTO, Hotels.com

We have adopted big data as a technology and proved and implemented some early use cases. We’ve already reaped the benefits of the technology and now we are at a stage where we need to transform to ‘business-as-usual’ for big data. So how do we make big data a part of our everyday business life? How do we make it useful in everything we do?

The expectations of customers have risen over the past few years, in terms of the features we offer them and the speed at which we are able to deliver those features. But also just the speed of the service itself. Customers don’t want to wait for another two or three seconds to get to the next webpage. They want instant response. And if they don’t get that, they go to the next site and to the competition, which is just basically one click away.

So the purpose of us using big data is to make sure we can tailor the experience, the offering to each and every customer in a way that is meaningful and relevant to them, so that they can get to what they want, which is to find the best hotel for them as quickly as possible.

The dawn of machine learning
Dr Joseph Reger
CTO, EMEIA, Fujitsu

What is commonly referred to as artificial intelligence is moving into the business very visibly, although most of what the technology industry does currently under the label of AI is actually intelligence amplification, which is like a mighty exo-skeleton for the brain. It assists human intelligence to make better decisions, to work faster and so on.

But just in the past year or so, there have been enormous advances. Essentially, a large number of businesses seeking disruptive innovation and digital transformation are now using some sort of self-learning, deep-learning intelligent algorithms — learning algorithms that can react to unknown situations, that can make decisions in situations that were never foreseen by their creators.

So I think in the next five years the impact of all these activities will be very visible in many areas of industry and society — from self-driving cars to human-looking service robots.

First published
November 2016
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About: Big Thinkers of 2016
Big Thinkers of 2016 Insights from technology and business leaders Monique Shivanandan, Patrick Bass, Dr Joseph Reger, Thierry Bedos and Steffen Krotsch, plus business school professors, authors and thought leaders Don Tapscott, Carlo Ratti, Linda Hill and Herminia Ibarra.

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