Last week we spent 2 days at Manchester’s IP EXPO. Our Solutions Architect Matthew Simmons shares his experience of the event and explains some of the technology that was showcased that could help your business.
Day 1 of IP Expo Manchester started a little later than expected after a last-minute meeting with a prospective client near the conference centre. After a quick browse around the many stands and finding the Oracle team kindly giving away a charger for my phone it was off to the Keynote Theatre for an IP Expo Panel discussion around Blockchain, Serverless, Machine Learning & Edge Computing.
Now, these technological concepts may not mean much to those outside of IT provision but their ability to underpin many different business processes are amazing not just for now but also for the future. James Allerton Austin from Oracle Cloud presented very well, discussing the merits of a private versus a public Blockchain with the only distinction between the two being who is allowed to participate in the network, execute the consensus protocol and maintain the shared ledger.
Angie Ma went on to discuss the benefits of using Machine Learning in the workplace and how AI (Artificial Intelligence) can increase the efficiencies of Business Process by using Cloud Technologies to execute process rather than individuals within the company, therefore, freeing time and resources to act on the analysis rather than analysing themselves.
Lorna Mitchell and Joe Baguley discussed the merits of using SaaS (Software as a Service) and reducing the need for hardware onsite and the maintenance of the Operating Systems of servers. Digital Transformation and utilising Cloud Technologies can mean greater efficiencies and savings around internal staff supporting and maintaining expensive infrastructure for IT. This greatly simplifies what was discussed but can be better explained in other blogs.
After a quick coffee and networking break, I hot-footed my way to the IOT, analytics & AI Theatre
to hear Margriet Groenendijk talk about the convergence of Data Science and Software Development. This discussion mainly looked at the many possibilities for the visualisation of raw data produced by an enterprise and the machine learning / AI abilities to improve efficiencies within that enterprise. The use of AI-based software and the ease of enterprises picking up how to use meant a much better Business Story being told and presented to stakeholders at all levels.
This keynote led me to visit a fantastic company called Splunk who specialise in the presentation and visualisation of data that might not have its own reporting tools. Particularly useful was the ability to take a huge amount of data in log files and present this within graphs and charts with easily searchable options.
Day 1 rounded off with a long discussion with a prominent Data Scientist in the networking area looking at ways to tidy up data within an enterprise and how AI can then be used to present this information to internal and external people in an enterprise. Particularly interesting was the way his company utilises PowerBI and the ability to plug this product directly into onsite CRM and other databases to then tell the business story of that enterprise.
Day 2 kicked off with an amazing Keynote from Dr Hannah Fry around intriguing insights uncovered by looking at ourselves through the eyes of data. Dr Fry and her team at UCL uses a mathematical view to show what it means to be human shapes the way we design our society, from dating and healthcare to catching serial killers and everything in between. A fascinating view of how using Big Data models can give valuable insights into what we do and trends within a group of people.
Bring this into enterprise and the data around our clients means we can look at the bigger trends of how our clients react with us as a company based on how we interact with them and the wider society. So the additional information we get out there through social or communication tools can impact on the behaviour our clients can have with us. Dr Fry and her team look at the AI analysis of this data and use it within enterprise to improve the communication and therefore the interactions.
Following this discussion, there was a short interlude while attending another great networking event with Talk of Manchester at Piccolinos meeting some new businesses and a much lighter discussion on many topics. Lots of new faces and a nice way to share what we do along with what other businesses are doing in Manchester at the moment.
A return to the conference for a final keynote in the Cloud, Networks & Mobility Theatre from Tom Arbuthnot around the use of Microsoft Teams and the Future of Collaboration in Office 365. Tom discussed the impending changes to Skype for Business with bringing this into the Microsoft Teams Platform instead of a stand-alone product. Teams is a fantastic way, as part of your Office 365 license, to bring all aspects of Office 365 together in one place and offers the ability to share this with external people as well.
Building on the many parts of Office 365 (Outlook / Sharepoint / Social Media / Planner / Power BI / PowerApps / Flow) Teams acts as a central Dashboard or Portal which we are now utilising internally at SAn-iT. A very good way of targeting data and communications to particular groups of people within an enterprise to reduce the overload of data that can sometimes become detrimental.
All in all a very good Expo and lots gained from discussion with the various companies exhibiting as well. Lots to bring away and look at ways of applying to our clients.