By Mie Hedegaard Hansen og Mads Emil Bak Møller
Insights from two days of TechBBQ
TechBBQ is a two-day tech summit taking place in central Copenhagen. The summit only has a few years on its back, but has, due to massive interest from the tech community, expanded each year and is now hosting more than 5000 people, represented as both entrepreneurs, investors and tech pioneers.
While most of the attendees at TechBBQ where busy gathering insights for their start-ups or finding innovative products and services to invest in, Kruso’s Copenhagen UX-team spend the days scouting for digital trends and tools from different branches of the tech-business.
Utilizing Data in 2018
One central theme in most of the talks was, not surprisingly, data. For a while now, data has been perceived as being the new oil, but this hype also raises several new questions in regard to utilizing the data. One speaker, an AI-consultant, said that most companies have difficulties assessing which data they have at disposal. Often people say “yes! We have data available” - and then they don’t. It often takes several months to retrieve the data and it almost never have the quality you would want it to have. Data projects therefore often run at a more long-termed basis than first expected. Thus, the message is clear: conduct a thorough sizing of the project beforehand! If you don’t know exactly which data you need from the beginning, you’re going to have many fallbacks en route. TechBBQ thereby manifested how the data-debate is no longer centred around questions like “Should we have a data-driven business strategy?”, but rather “How do we prepare our business to be (more or less) data-driven?” - of course naturally followed by “...how do we execute this without violating the GDPR legislation?”. The last-mentioned being something that even the established and more economically advantaged companies find obscured.
Greg Ivanov, Head of AR/VR/Lens Partnerships (EMEA) at Google
Teach Your Computer Like You Teach Your Toddler
As a natural extension of the data-debate, AI was also a highly publicised topic at this year’s TechBBQ. Several speakers debated how AI is providing new business opportunities for almost all kinds of organizations. An AI-expert explained that there has been a paradigm shift within the technological world; previously, we advanced our computers by giving them instructions. Today, we advance our computers by giving them examples. This new method is very similar to the way in which we teach our children to understand the world; you show them a horse 10 times until, at last, they perceive the object as being a horse. Computers are not slightly as smart as the human brain; thus you will have to show the computer examples of a horse 100.000 times before it perceives it correctly every time. However, it is, and will be, interesting to follow the evolution of the way in which we work and interact with computers today and for the years to come.
Technology That Gives Us Superpowers
While browsing around the summit, we stumbled upon this small company called Google, represented by Head of AR/VR/Lens Partnerships (EMEA), Greg Ivanov, sharing his vision for immersive computing and AI. Ivanov stated that we, intuitively, think of computers as something that should give us superpowers, thus, that is what Google is aiming to do when developing their newest technologies, Google Lens and ARCore; two products that push the border between virtuality and reality. VR/AR-technologies open up new and interesting business opportunities regarding improving digital user experiences, for instance in the context of Ecommerce. Consumers are no longer obliged to buy a sofa in-store and bring it home, before seeing it in their living room. Today, AR-tools enable smartphones to integrate virtual content in the real world as seen through the phone’s camera and thereby, to virtually place items in their homes before buying them.
However, by making one simple Google search, it becomes clear that the AR-tools still hold some glitches that are yet to be solved, e.g. when having to distinguish between similar objects. The conclusion must be, that AI-projects of all kinds are long-ranged, hence we won’t necessarily see the effects and paybacks right away. Nonetheless, the ROI of existing AI-technologies has already proven impossible to ignore and the technology is continuously getting smarter and smarter, calling for increased attention towards new AI-driven business opportunities and innovation.