• Category Archives Next 2011
  • CURRENT TRENDS IN DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

    Companies that are looking to keep up to date with the latest trends in technology and get well equipped for the future cannot miss the NEXT Conference, an event dedicated to people who want to get involved in shaping the digital transformation and where around 1,500 industry visionaries will inspire and inform them about the newest technologies that shape our lives.

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    In the past decade, there has been a lot of talk about the digital transformation of companies through important business changes. But what is digital transformation? A basic definition of digital transformation would be the thorough rethinking of how companies use technology and digital products to create new revenue streams or new business models.

    In order to accomplish these changes, companies need to think ahead of time and always keep up with the novelties in terms of technological advancements. So without further ado, here are the top trends in digital transformation at the moment.

    Internet of Things (IoT) – The IoT is a giant network of connected devices or ‘things’. Almost everything you can think of from cellphones, to appliances, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and even components of machines can be connected to the internet with an on/off switch.

    With around 8.4 billion connected devices in the world, we would say that IoT’s presence in our lives is pretty important. And given that more devices with Wi-Fi capabilities and in-built sensors are being created, that number is expected to skyrocket in the next years.  Actually, analyst firm Gartner estimates that there will be over 26 billion connected devices by 2020.

    This will result in a flood of data coming from all these connected devices, so companies are now working on advanced analytics systems to manage and process that data.

    Which leads us to the next trends in digital transformation – analytics and faster networks.  The analytics systems of the near future will be centered on AI and machine learning and will mainly be aimed at deciphering the reams of data that will be recorded in order to create actionable insights out of it.

    Competition is fierce in the business world, so companies will want access to information in real time, if possible, which entails the need for faster processing of large amounts of data, more intelligent ways to search for information, and faster methods of evaluating data and determining its relevance – hence the need to build 5G networks as soon as possible, along with the development of edge computing systems to replace central servers.

    Last but not least, more AI applications are increasing their popularity among companies that want to grow in areas as marketing, analytics, customer service and robotics.


  • MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION

    Keynote by Matteo Sardi, Head of Communication at Ferrari

    Matteo Sardi is Head of Communication at Ferrari, which holds one of the strongest brands worldwide. At NEXT he shares his grains of communication gold.

    Sardi pinpoints the importance of making a great first impression on digital media. Social media, such as Facebook, has gradually been a great way to release product news and communicate with customers. Sardi points out how picking the right media is a basis before communicating with customers.

    Make people talk
    After choosing the appropriate social media, Sardi recommends an accurate media strategy, where first impression will matter for a long time. Posting exciting and relevant stories that will get in circulation throughout the web will appeal to the customers’ curiosity and keep the story hot and boiling for a long time.

    Involvement both online and offline
    Keeping a story alive and kicking is not only a matter of online activity. Creating real life events and contests are a way of linking the digital medias with offline engagement. Ferrari has engaged their fans by opening a contest, where the participants had to design their own Ferrari online through the car manufacturer’s website in order to take part in the contest and potentially win favorable prizes.

    Listen to your fans
    Sardi wraps up his talk by mentioning “social listening”. Brands have to listen to their customers and fans in order to engage in social media – without listening and acting on positive and negative comments online from their followers, a company will not be able to fully act on the behalf of the social media rules. A failure which can make a brand loose its credibility.

    Ferrari sure knows how to act wisely on social media – without spending a penny!


  • THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL WILL BE PHYSICAL

    Keynote by Tom Uglow, creative director for Google and Youtube in Europe

    Tom Uglow is the creative director for Google and Youtube in Europe. He talks about the importance of trying, even if you fail: It has never been possible to succesfully pull something off 100 pct.. Rather, making mistakes is a part of the process – often you don’t know what the answer is, so you have to explore. And often it goes wrong.

    Tom Uglow works in the creative labs of Google and Youtube. He puts an emphasis on “lab”: They are exploring and making experiments. In short, his job is to think like a user and make sophisticated tools. Making (beautiful) mistakes is a part of the process.

    One example is the Androidify app. The app allows you to make yourself into a android avatar. Google didn’t really know what to do with it and just sat on it for a while. Then, at a mobile conference, they decided to release. It was an instantaneous success and everybody at the conference loved it. These kinds of beautiful mistakes are natural parts of the creative lab.

    Tom Uglow compares innovation with children’s’ play: It often looks like fun and play. In companies, the innovation process is a lot similar: If you’re not having fun, it’s impossible to generate excitement for your project.

    Often, internet phenomenon just sort of happen: Charlie Sheen became an overnight internet meme with his bewildering “Winning”-song. He got 1 mil. followers on Twitter 24 hours after he created an account. The Charlie Sheen effect shows that information is an uncontrollable wave – no one is in charge and everyone can chime in with their own representation.

    Tom Uglow thinks the future of digital is really physical. Actual things are nice: Augmented reality is awkward. He lists 7 ideas that are not that hard to imagine in the future:

    1) Eye-tracking as targeting: Relevant content is being loaded when the user is moving his eyes around the web page.

    2) Function-led display advertising: HTML5 makes banner advertisements into user-oriented microsites. The best ads will actually be useful to the user.

    3) Ad network loyalty programs: Ads become more personal and limited.

    4) User-led advertainment: Ads become stories that can unfold at the users’ pace.

    5) User-focused microdonations systems: Even small donations like 1 USD can become substantial if it is easy to donate and a lot of people do it.

    6) Data streams will be personal: Your gadgets will provide you with automated information like your pulse, temperature, location, blood sugar etc: Instead of looking up the information, the information comes to you.

    7) Geo-location/time-based arts: Arts using mobile participation and iterative dramas. Theatres using NCF and GPS.


  • BIOCHEMISTRY – SEARCHING FOR SERENDIPITY

    Keynote by Mark Bünger, Research Director of LUX

    Mark Bünger is the Research Director of LUX. Besides researching green buildings and alternative energy, Bünger is into biochemistry.

    In fact he is so much into biochemistry that he wants to convince the participants at NEXT about it.  By teaming people together two on two, the participants are ought to look each other in the eyes, touch each other’s cheeks – and thereby experiencing their own natural biochemical reactions; racing heartbeat, laughter, cheeks turning red. Biochemistry ignites your visual communication and pushes you out of your comfort zone!

    Copy/paste your genes
    Bünger thinks we can learn a lot from a software developer’s way of thinking. When a software developer builds a program, he copies and pastes pieces of code from one end of the program to another. That’s exactly what we can do with our genes – copy/paste genes in between each other to regenerate body parts.

    Biochemistry can make the blind see again
    The mindset of software developers will also let human beings discover how body parts are constructed and developed. By trying to make a bug grow multiple eyes – and failing the project – scientists discovered how an eye is build and developed. A quite interesting discovery for blind people, as the scientist might figure out how to grow new eyes for sightless human beings.

    Biochemistry is not a beautiful mistake
    Mark Bünger argues that biochemistry is not a beautiful mistake. Biochemistry – unlike for example the discovery of the microwave oven – is a simple process of trying again and again until coming up with reliable answers.


  • NEXT REALITY ARCHITECTURE

    Keynote by Matthias Hollwich, Architect / co-founder HWKN

    Matthias Hollwich, co-founder of architecture firm HWKN and architecture community Architizer, talks about the news ways of designing a house – architects using crowd-sourcing.

    Matthias starts out passing around three photo boards around and invites the audience to draw and infuse their ideas on top of the existing architecture: New Aging, Rising Sea Levels and Fun Sustainability.

    Matthias Hollwich wants to make the most dangerous nursing home of the planet: A nursing home where residents would rather go home to their communities, creating social life.

    Matthias Hollwich is one of the key persons behind BOOM – a bold new community. BOOM is about making a vivacious and engaging retiring home covering a whole neighbourhood. BOOM was commissioned by a group of investors who originally wanted Architizer to design the community. Instead, Hollwich says, Architizer wanted to kickstart the project. Hollwich was very specific in choosing the architect firms for the task: They should be curious, willing to collaborate and most importantly, never have done anything related to aging. Ten different architecture companies were handpicked for the task.

    Architecture is usually a very one-sided process where one architecture company is responsible for the whole product: It is expensive and the company is sitting in an ivory tower, hard to approach in the first place. Also, the most prestigious projects tend to be used only once, making architecture a very costly business model. In fact, only 5 pct. of homes in the US are designed by architects.

    The BOOM project makes architecture a process with no hierarchy, where ideas are being generated within the people. Every step of the process is visible for the public, allowing them to give the architects input. This gives the residents first hand insight and a feeling of ownership.

    So instead of making architecture a completely crowdsourced task like Architizer tried – no doubt an impossible feat – concepts like BOOM allows the architects to be in the driving seat, while they tap into the vast of crowd-generated knowledge.


  • BEYOND THE GREENS – LET THE PEOPLE LEAD

    Keynote by Ted Howes, Fmr IDEO Global Lead, Energy Domain

    On a daily occurrence Ted Howes leads IDEO’s Energy Domain. At this year’s NEXT conference Howes enters the stage to talk about sustainability.

    He covers the theme Beautiful Mistakes with different examples from his long career. Howes points at the energy company PG&E as an example of a beautiful mistake.

    Wireless technology blinded PG&E
    PG&E saw an opportunity in embedding wireless technology to interact with their electric meters. Amazed by the new technological prospects, PG&E started replacing all of their older technologies with the new wireless ones. Soon their customers became concerned – were these new wireless connections actual harmful to people’s health?

    Criticism was pouring over PG&E. Angry customers protested against the wireless technologies, but feeling overheard and forced to accept the replacement.

    Listen to your customers
    As a result, PG&E had to switch back to the old technology once again to satisfy their customers – a really expensive and troublesome learning. PG&E did however learn how much listening to customers is worth. Ted Howes points at the importance of letting users lead and play an active role in embedding new products – otherwise it is difficult, if not infeasible, to convince customers to embrace new technology in their everyday life.  Even though PG&E’s attempt to embed wireless technology turned out a mistake, the energy company has learned a lesson.


  • THE WORLD IS GOING CO!

    Keynote by Alfons Cornella, Infonomia

    First speaker of the day is Alfons Cornella. He is the founder and president of Infonomia. He emphasizes that everything in the future will be based on just two letters: ‘Co’.

    Old disciplines like sports, music, and science have always been based on collaborations. This tendency is just rising – for example, the CERN-project in Switzerland is a huge collaboration between uncountable scientists all over the world. In scientific articles, the names of authors take up fifteen pages alone.

    Co-branding, co-products, and co-markets are also becoming more popular for companies. The collaborations allow the company to combine their specialities and expand their knowledge banks. Alfons Cornella thinks coping with a more complex world requires more collaboration.

    Infonomia founded co-society in order to accommodate to this market. co-society is a network of companies that collaborate in order to strengthen their own company.

    However, co-society did run into some problems: Not surprisingly, humans and companies, are selfish. In order to overcome this selfishness and make the collaboration a reality, co-society put an emphasis on trust, tools, and techniques. The tools include a shared platform for the companies. An example – a furniture company is connected to a shoes company. Two companies who wouldn’t normally have anything in common. However, by comparing the customer base of both companies, the companies realised that they have a lively and engaged young customer base, making this a common ground for the companies.

    In short, the most important task of co-society is to find common grounds for the companies. Collaborating companies will entail more positive synergy between the companies.

    The only difference between a mistake and a success is one thing: Time. A mistake now might be a success in the future – a beautiful mistake!


  • IMOBOT, THE MODULAR ROBOT

    iMobot is a modular robot you can reconfigure

    iMobot is a modular robot that twists and turns and crawls through the landscape.

    It is like the LEGO of robots: One module of iMobot works fine by itself, but it is when you put them together, real awesomeness ensues.

    A single module looks deceptively simple and crude, but iMobot actually has four degrees of freedom and can roll through the various terrains with ease. This makes it suitable for rescue missions where a camera can be hooked up to the end of a iMobot snake. The iMobot can then snake its way through debris and spaces inaccesible to humans.

    Currently, iMobot is used in robotics research. The modular concept allows researchers to add iMobot to their setups easily, without using time on research that have already been done.

    iMobot started at UC Davis when mechanical engineering student Graham Ryland was finishing his degree. He then founded the company Barobo with professor Harry H. Cheng where iMobot is currently being developed.


  • AIR GUITAR? TRY AIRPIANO INSTEAD!

    Play piano with no physical contact between instrument and your fingers

    You’ve probably played air guitar to your favorite tune. If you are more cultivated, you’re maybe more into air violins. Or air harps. Or air pianos. Now you can do just that: Play an airpiano.

    Airpiano has 8 infrared sensors that acts as keys. They measure the distance from the keyboard to your hand. Each sensor has three different tones depending on how high you raise your hand, totaling 24 different notes. You simply play the Airpiano by waving your hand over the keyboard – no physical contact is needed.


    A New Instrument – how it works
    Airpiano


  • DON-8R: THE ROBOT THAT COLLECTS MONEY FOR CHARITY

    The next generation of charity collectors? This cute robot might replace human collectors

    Maybe you have been mildly annoyed by charity collectors who have confronted you on the street to collect money for their cause. Enter DON-8r. This small robot is so cute you want to hug it. DON-8r is maybe the next generation of charity collectors: It is not intruding your personal space or being in your face. Rather, Don-8R seems to gather the crowds.

    DON-8r runs on donations: By plopping a coin down its back slit, it thanks you and does a little dance by driving around. After 30 seconds, it stops.

    However, the real question is: How does DON-8r measure up against a human charity collector?

    The charity organization Folkekirkens Nødhjælp decided to put it to a test: DON-8r and a human charity worker battled in the streets of Aarhus. Each got 6 minutes to collect as much money as possible for the famine-stricken Horn of Africa.

    The result: While the human collector managed to raise 295 kr and a 25 øre-stamp, DON-8r got a respectable 185 kr. Also, the human collector was “lucky” to cash in a 100 kr-note from somebody he knew.

    DON-8r is designed by product designer Tim Pryde at University of Dundee as his final project. You can come see the cute robot at the NEXT2011 and donate to Folkekirkens Nødhjælp.