Connected technology is the lifeblood of the Internet of Things (IoT), or so say the new predictions from market data company Forrester Research.
The company has put together a list of IoT predictions for 2018, highlighting the increasing impact that connected technology is having upon businesses. The new findings come in a report titled “Predictions 2018: IoT Moves From Experimentation To Business Scale.”
According to a recent McKinsey report, the economic benefits of the IoT are expected to reach between $3.9 trillion and $11.1 trillion within the next decade. The effects of the IoT will be across all industries, and industry leaders will need to understand where their resources can be properly allocated in order to gain the benefits of this transformative tech.
IoT platforms to get more specific
Forrester predicts that IoT platform offerings will start to specialize in “design” and “operate” scenarios.
“Design” use, Smart2Zero interprets, refers to case scenarios that involve creating connected offerings or with environments to engage with customers. In contrast, “operate” use cases are set to enhance processes, creating new efficiencies or enhancing customer experiences.
In line with a growing number of commentators, the Forrester report indicates that there will be a shift away from platforms that are general, like the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite or the General Electric Predix, and towards smaller companies offering specialized IoT services.
The kinds of specific offerings that enterprises could pilot and roll out include voice-based services to consumers and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) services.
B2B opportunities and cybersecurity risks
“IoT is re-shaping how businesses are organized, including the roles and responsibilities of individuals — and how they work together” said Christopher Voce, Vice President, Research Director at Forrester. “Capturing the promise of any of these scenarios requires organizations to collaborate in new ways.”
Forrester’s research predicts there will also be more exchanges of data and insights between firms. This will lead to more B2B opportunities for companies commercializing data analysis.
Of course, as Forrester’s report points out, this new connected technology comes with well-documented risks. Implementing IoT solutions in businesses currently comes with a large amount of security risk. This could lead to an increase of IoT-related cyberattacks next year and beyond.
According to a study by consulting firm Altman Vilandrie & Company, 48 percent of participating companies have suffered at least one IoT security incident. And almost half of the businesses featured in the study with annual revenues over $2 billion estimated the potential cost of an IoT breach at more than $20 million.
Samsung set to open AI research lab in Cambridge
Tech giant Samsung is opening an AI research lab in Cambridge. The move to do this has been welcomed by British Prime Minister Theresa May, but there’s concern over a mass funneling of graduates out of academic AI research.
This centre joins Samsung’s other AI centres in Moscow and Toronto. The move to build a research lab in Britain, specifically for AI, comes as no surprise following a recent announcement by Prime Minister May’s government.
U.K. spurs AI research
The U.K. government recently announced a USD$400 million investment in AI from corporations and investment firms based in and out of the U.K. In addition, a report from the House of Lords Artificial Intelligence Committee states that while the U.K. can’t outspend leaders like China, they can still become leaders in AI.
BBC reported that the new centre will be lead by professor Andrew Blake, formerly of Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge and the new Samsung AI lab “could recruit as many as 150 scientists.”
The brain drain
According to the BBC, there’s concern over a funneling of graduates in AI research out of academics and into private sector work:
“A recent study by recruitment specialists Odgers Berndtson found just 225 students in the country were doing post-graduate technology research in specialist areas including AI and machine learning. “In the US, PhD qualified experts can command packages of $300,000 [£223,000]. And in the UK, whilst not yet at that level, salaries are spiralling,” said Mike Drew, head of technology at the headhunting company. A large part of the problem is that industry is picking university departments clean of their talent. A distinguished academic in the AI field confirmed this to me – he said anyone who had done post-graduate research in machine learning could ‘name their price.'”
This isn’t an isolated situation, the same concern was raised when Facebook decided to open new AI labs in Seattle and Pittsburgh, with professors, scholars and researchers from local universities worrying about the future of academic AI research when so many graduates leave for corporate — and greener — pastures.
The future of AI depends on who’s at the table
A new report from Canada’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship about AI’s implications for policy makers found that, to be successful in implementing AI in government, a diversity in conversation must happen.
Conversations about AI aren’t just limited to government, or to Canada. Countries all over the world are tossing their hats in the ring to figure out how to best, and most seamlessly integrate AI into the public realm.
— Sean Mullin (@MullinSean) May 2, 2018
The report, “The AI Shift: Implications for policymakers”, outlines that there’s a need for what Brookfield calls ”deliberate conversation” and that it needs to happen “amongst policymakers, technologists, social scientists and broader communities that will be impacted by a shift toward a prediction-centred society.”
The institute also observed that a further exploration of what will happen when AI is used in government, and a closer look at the decision-making process behind such AI, is needed.
Imogen Parker, the head of justice, rights and digital society for the Nuffield Foundation, a charitable trust that funds research and student programming in the UK, outlined in her piece for TechUK what is meant by “deliberate conversation.”
Parker writers that, as the UK has announced that they want to be a leading force in ethics for technology and data use, they need to have a “diversity of voices” looking into risks and potential outcomes of the use and employment of AI in the public sphere.
Brookfield has released a briefer on AI and the basic terminology associated, it includes a helpful section that explains the ethical implications.
“Due to the increasing reliance on and trust in automated systems in contexts that may require them to make moral decisions,” reads the document. “Users should consider whether the values embedded in the code reflect their own.”
An overview of our Evidence Meeting 3 on #AI and Accountability — looking at the ethical implications of AI; specifically, issues around accountability, transparency, and explainability.https://t.co/VIOuGpoaMD pic.twitter.com/K8FbTNCTEi
— APPG AI (@APPG_AI) May 2, 2018
The idea of a value set in a machine not reflecting a person’s values — or reflecting, depending on who the person is — is a topic of ongoing discussion. At UC Berkeley, professor Anca Dragan is working on developing algorithms for human-robot interaction to ensure that conflicts between humans and robots are avoided by teaching robots to express their intentions and capabilities. Research like hers is crucial to the ongoing and ever-evolving field of AI because there have already been conflicts between humans and AI, like the self-driving car that killed a woman in Arizona.
The conversation around AI will determine the future we build with it. And if the report from Brookfield is correct, more deliberate discussion needs to happen — and soon.
Talent and diversity to drive this year’s Elevate tech festival
The Elevate Tech festival is only one year old, but after watching this week’s launch event at Shopify’s Toronto HQ, it appears that Canada’s largest tech festival has grown by leaps and bounds.
Elevate will run in Toronto from September 24-27, with 10,000 attendees expected and 250 venues taking part. Notable speakers on this year’s main stage will include Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder of dating app Bumble, and environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.
Celebrating Canada’s talent
This year’s festival will put a big emphasis on talent, one of Canada’s greatest assets when it comes to tech innovation. Elevate is teaming up with Startup Open House, as well as last year’s partners NewCo, to help connect 4,000 students, job-seekers, and young professionals with some of the many great companies driving Canada’s innovation ecosystem.
While last year’s festival made the point of putting Toronto and its tech innovation ecosystem on the global stage, the conversation has broadened for Elevate 2018. Now billed as Canada’s Tech Week, CEO Razor Suleman said the 2018 festival will shed light on Canada’s growing tech landscape as a whole, and even reach out to Canadian expats around the globe, letting them know that things are moving in the right direction back home.
Collaboration, diversity and growing together
For Suleman, the biggest lesson learned from last year’s Elevate, and the biggest opportunity for 2018, is the strength of collaboration that made the festival possible.
“Partnering with the community and being open and collaborative is the best way to create something that we’re all passionate about, and ultimately scale the festival and realize the vision we have,” said Suleman.
Crucial to that collaboration is showing the diverse nature of Canada’s innovation community. Just as at last year’s Elevate, the motto ‘Diversity is our strength’ is key to Canada’s Tech Week. Suleman said that this year’s festival will continue to seek out new ways to reach out to diverse parts of Canada’s innovation community and get them involved.
“This year when we looked at the ten-thousand-person capacity that we have, we broke down the different demographics and wanted to make sure that we got representation. We’re super passionate, as is our parter TD, about involving students. We’ve got the Investor Group coming. We’d love to have more female investors, we’d love to have more women in tech, we’d love to have entrepreneurs that are visible minorities. All of the ecosystem is welcome.”
Between big name speakers, the emphasis on talent and the continued commitment to diversity, Elevate’s 2018 offering is sure to stir creative innovation and collaboration.
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