23
Feb
2017

The Top Ten Tech Trends from the Our Crowd Summit

One of my favorite presentations at last weeks Our Crowd Summit in Jerusalem was on the ‘Top Ten Tech Trends That Will Change Everything’, so I thought I’d share what they were and some thoughts on each. 

I could definitely identify with the first one on the list, the rise of AI and machine learning.  My role as Cre8tek Chair means this is a space I’m very familiar with, and there is definitely an increasing awareness from business on the importance of ensuring they are able access to the rich level of information these tools can deliver, in addition to the ability they provide to focus human resources on value adding activities. It’s also functionality that we’re acutely interested in at Icon Group as we believe the insights delivered give the ability to drive improved healthcare outcomes.  

Number 2 talked about the increasing application of  AR and VR tools in business rather than gaming. I’m hugely excited about the potential here, as back in my time in the Google Glass Explorer program I always believed the real value of the product lay in  being able to being to overlay real time, relevant information into a persons line of sight. We did some work around this with Glass, which conceptually worked well but was limited by the functionality of the tech at the time. As the next generation of smart glasses hits the market we’re ready and waiting with some really exciting use cases that we can’t wait to get started on, so expect to hear more from Icon Group on that in the near future. 

Anyone who’s had Siri continually misinterpret what they are asking her can identidy with the next identified trend, which put the focus on tech that filters out background noise. We had a great on stage demonstation of the effectiveness of one of the Our Crowd portfolio companies, Vocal Zoom, and with the ever increasing number of voice controlled lifestyle assistants such as Alexa it’s not hard to see why this was sitting in the number 3 position.  

Number 4 referenced the increasing use of technology in agri businesses, as digital natives take over family farming businesses and want to apply the same tech based tools they utilize in their day to day lives.  Accessing  information  via sensors and monitors enables real time informed decision making, allowing for new farming styles which are not only less manual but capable of significantly reducing wasting and spoilage. With an ongoing, ever increasing  need for fresh food and the ready availability of sensors, the cloud and analytics tools, the time is right for the development and deployment products that meet the needs of this sector. 

Drones have been a hot topic for a number of years with their use in photography now almost a commoditized activity. Product delivery by drones is getting a lot of press, but there is a major commmercialisation opportunity in deploying drones as patrol agents in the agricultural and industrial sectors which sees this take out the Number 5 slot. 

Stuart and I had the chance to visit Airobotics and see first hand their fully autonomous ‘drone in a box’ in action, with its ability to have battery and sensor swaps managed remotely making a myriad of potential commercial opportunities obvious. 

The only thing that surprised me about the trend occupying the Number 6 position was that it was so far down the list, but maybe that’s symptomatic of the ongoing challenge in adoption and uptake of digital tools in the healthcare space. The opportunities and benefits are clear, and I’ve written more than enough about my views on this previously to justify taking up any additional space in this post. 

I have to admit I’m still getting my head around Number 7 and blockchain in general, but with the increasing number of conversations around its potential application in the validation and securitization of healthcare information it’s definitely time for me to commit to getting my knowledge further up the curve. 

No such issue with Number 8 though, my participation in Virgin Galactics Future Astronaut program is a clear illustration of my keen interest in the shift in space technology from being an almost exclusively state funded activity to one with vigorous participation from the private sector. 

I don’t think there’s any business that isn’t already keenly focused on its cyber security risks (& if there is then it’s a position I completely fail to understand), but the prevalence of connected devices in our homes is opening up an increasing additional risk profile as hackers target poorly secured products to gain access to bank accounts, passwords and other information we all commonly store on our home network.  Number 9 flagged the threat that your internet enabled fridge or TV can potentially pose, and the opportunity this creates as consumers demand better defenses in their connected devices. 

It doesn’t seem that long ago that driverless cars looked to still be a long way away from widespread deployment, but the timeline to adoption looks to be crunching at a much faster rate than anticipated. The final trend in the top 10 identified not only the tech associated with the vehicles themselves, but the additional opportunities that will undoubtedly accompany the complete disruption of transportation as we know it. 

This presentation only went for about 15 minutes and was delivered in a fast and furious style, but I’ve found it’s the one that’s stuck in my mind ever since the Summit and I keep revisiting the thinking that it triggered, so wanted to share it here. Many thanks to Laly David and Elan Zivotofsky for such an entertaining and thought provoking presentation. 

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