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SingTel forum: Living in a volatile world

Ross Milburn | June 11, 2013
Exploiting information intelligence to achieve business productivity and agility was on the agenda at the i.luminate 2013, one of Hong Kong's largest ICT shows.

Chang explained how education will be transformed from a teacher-centric to a learner-centric model, with every student in a personalised learning environment. The process will be lifelong learning, and the content will be available anywhere, and at any time on any device. "All the content will be on the cloud," said Chang. "Assessment of students may be not by people, but by analytics applications. Tools available for education will include interactive textbooks, speech analytics, 4D immersive learning and Web-based administration."

Healthcare will be transformed, with patient-centred care and health records on mobile devices. Each individual will have a personal healthcare portal in the cloud, with proactive 'wellness management' aided by smart healthcare analytics that predict the next emerging health risk factors.

The future of transportation will be changed by information and intelligence. Road surveillance will advise drivers to avoid congestion, and smart, driverless cars may provide increase safety.

"Business is being transformed by business intelligence and analytics for proactive decision-making. Every aspect of business life will be supported by everything as a service on the cloud," said Chang.

Daniel Burrus, CEO, Burrus Research, and author of Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible, presented some of the ideas from his book. According to Burrus, the popularity of smartphones and tablets is a change in our primary computing platform. "Whenever there's platform shift, the leaders of the old platform are not the leaders of the new platform," he said. As examples, Burrus reminded his audience of the decline of Polaroid and Kodak, companies that seemed to ignore major changes in technology. "Did someone say: 'Don't tell Polaroid or Kodak about digital photography?'" Burrus asked.

Hard and soft trends
The future is uncertain, and there are lots of "soft trends" that prove entirely wrong, said Burrus. "When Elvis Presley died, the strong trend in the growth in Elvis impersonators suggested that a third of US citizens would be Elvis impersonators by 2000—that was a soft trend!"

Burrus claimed that, although many trends are "soft", an equal number of "hard" trends provide opportunities to exploit for business success. Some trends are so hard they continue for decades, said Burrus, including Moore's Law which states semiconductors get smaller and cheaper, resulting in copper and fibre with more bandwidth, and faster computers.

Hard trends include the 'Internet of Things' which refers to the numerous devices, machines, and sensors that are being connected. "When you drive over ice, detection sensors will communicate with your car and it may slow down automatically. On farms, Web-connected sensors in the ground will detect drying earth and call in water irrigation only to the areas needed. Healthcare trends include personal sensors for blood pressure, pulse and other variables that can be communicated to a clinic via the user's smartphone.


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