This month Hamilton Forth attended the DIGIT Expo 2022, the largest annual technology event in Scotland with over one thousand delegates, fifty exhibitors and forty different speakers from a variety of organisations. Here, Tom shares his thoughts on the expo and the key takeaways from the speakers during the event.
Attending the DIGIT Expo as my first event will be one to remember. The buzzing atmosphere, stream of professionals and interesting exhibitors made the event a valuable and knowledge enhancing day. The expo included an array of activities including live keynotes, speeches, interactive workshops, a bustling exhibition hall and networking area. The events featured insights from a diverse group of technology leaders and innovators exploring key themes such as AI, Data Innovation, DevOps, Digital leadership, Web 3.0, and cyber security.
AI – Its Impact on Future Business
A highly comprehensive and enthusiastic talk from Daniel Hulme (Chief AI Officer – WPP) outlined key information on the current development of AI and its potential impact on future businesses. The use of machine learning and implementation of AI has acted as a competitive advantage for organisations in recent years, significantly improving the overall speed, cost and flexibility for organisations operations.
During the talk, the importance of data was highlighted, acknowledging organisations must understand their current situation by gathering and using data, provide insights by making sense of that data and highlight where to plan future measures, and action that insight by shifting towards a targeted effort to deliver impactful change. Daniel touched on other interesting topics including goal directed adaptive behaviour, a theory once researched upon by Sternberg and Salter in 1982 who acknowledged that without an objective, it’s impossible to compare the success of one intelligent system over another. Daniel dived further into this topic and explained that AI consumes data from a multitude of devices. Whether we carry these devices around – like our phones – or they are immersed in the walls and objects we interact with, we’re seeing a boom of data that is being mined for insights. This technology is often called the Internet of Things (IoT), and it’s becoming the centre of AI.
AI is likely to be the single most influential technology development in the future of how people live, work, and do business. Its impact on corporate analytics will allow for more accurate forecasts, lower the amount of time we spend on dull and repetitive tasks such as data collection and purification, and empower workforces to act on data-driven insights regardless of their function or degree of technical ability.
The following talk surrounded Data Monetisation by Gillian Tomlinson (Chief Data Office – Weir Group) which touched on similar points to Daniel such as AI and machine learning, whilst also focusing on the use of big data, analytics and data sharing. Gillian explained how mining operators within Weir Group are now also using AI and machine learning across their supply chain, allowing for the performance of their vehicles and routes to be tracked. Gillian expressed that this allows them to develop greater insights to their mines accounting for drivers ability and also their vehicles efficiency. This has allowed for greater efficiency and allowed Weir Group to ‘transform’ their current supply chain by investing in additional capabilities such as drone technology to further enhance their day-to-day activities. Gillian expressed that this allows possible flaws to be detected, highlighting crucial areas of interest, and deal with health and safety concerns.
Similarly, operators are employing autonomous vehicles and AI-powered robots to do human-like tasks such as monitoring hazardous conditions and risky regions on a mining site. Gillian stated that wearable technology is another area of increased interest in the field, providing frontline employees with dynamic new technologies to streamline day-to-day activities. Another eye-opening talk, acknowledging that technologies such as AI and machine learning are transforming industries around the globe in parallel with advanced analytics and data collection. Organisations such as Weir group who leverage data insights and automation subsequently deliver greater results by increasing their efficiency and reducing overall operating costs.
Whilst there is still uncertainty of what the economic climate in 2023 will look like, AI and Data are two industries which are predicted to be indispensable in the future. The two topics discussed only scratch the surface of the variety of subjects and knowledgeable speakers at the expo. It was great to meet and speak with so many exhibitors, hearing of their successes in 2022 and future development plans for 2023. Though many industries were impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic, the success of IT organisations operations and projects was great to hear. Myself and the Hamilton Forth team will certainly be attending the expo again next year, where we hope to continue to meet and hear of organisations successes in 2023 and plans for 2024.
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