Innovation That Matters

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5 ways emerging tech is revolutionising organisations

How can digital transformation best be used by brands to gain a competitive advantage? What we learned at Disruption Summit Europe 2019

From automation to chatbots, digital transformation is being embraced in innovative ways by business across both private and public sectors, several of which were highlighted at this week’s Disruption Summit Europe 2019. The London event explored the digital transformations needed for organisations to thrive.

A key focus of the conference was on how organisations can adopt new technologies and business innovations to be truly disruptive.

“It’s an undeniable fact that the businesses of today need to embrace change since the world around them is very dynamic and too many are too slow to react,” said Rob Prevett, Founder and CEO of D/RUSPTION.

If you’re hoping to be a disruptor and not disrupted, here are five trends we found that show how digital technology can be used by brands to succeed in a dynamic environment. 

1. Artificial intelligence in hiring

Businesses are increasingly interested in the potential of AI to improve human resources. Not only can it make hiring easier and faster, but it can also decrease the chance of unconscious biases and promote diversity. 

Diversity creates resilient teams which are therefore better equipped to adapt to change. Amanda Smith, Head of User-Centred Policy Design at the Ministry of Justice, mentioned how for this same reason, the Ministry of Justice has partnered with the Royal College of Art to bring-in new, fresh perspectives.

Earlier this year we spotted Harver, which is using machine learning and automation to help companies improve large-scale hiring processes. The software uses data to sort, test and vet candidates. The tests can examine everything from personality to typing skills. The program then assesses the results and determines which candidates are the best fit for an interview.

The software is already used by several large, international companies like Netflix and Uber. 

2. Automation will be top-down, not bottom-up

We may think the value of automation is bottom-up, starting with the simplest processes first. However, David Biden, CEO at human+ provides a different perspective. 

In healthcare, Biden suggests there are a plethora of opportunities for automating the work of doctors. If you think about how a doctor works, they provide algorithmic-like decisions based on previous experience (data). Given the shortage of healthcare professionals, this seems highly valuable. 

For example, Springwise has covered Ping an Good Doctor, a medical clinic in China that requires no staff and a Tel Aviv-based digital healthcare start-up, Zebra, which can detect common conditions through AI analysis of medical scans. 

3. Robots in the workplace: it’s happening

The idea of having robots in the workplace has been around for a long while. It has never felt more real, especially since last Tuesday when New York mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio proposed a “robot tax” to oversee automation in the workplace. The tax would apply to big corporations that reduce employment through automation without offering new jobs. The taxes would go towards a fund supporting new jobs in healthcare and green energy.

In France, we have seen a chain of tiny restaurants run autonomously by using robots to make pizzas. PAZZI uses three robot arms to operate a fully autonomous restaurant about the size of a large kiosk. 

Likewise, Boston chain Spyce uses robots to assemble food bowls, while Caliburger uses robots to make hamburgers. Springwise has also spotted a Californian startup using robots to deliver food and clears tables in restaurants. 

4.  Chatbots and conversational AI to better connect with customers

Chatbots are becoming popular as a strategy for gaining a customer-centric advantage. We have previously seen companies like Sephora use chatbots to heighten shoppers in-store experience by sharing makeup tips, style inspiration and custom video content. 

However, the next challenge will be training chatbots to adopt culture says Ronald Ashri, Co-Founder, GreenShoot Labs. Springwise has already spotted attempts to do this by Eddy Travels, an AI-enabled personal travel assistant that operates within popular chat applications. Based on the user’s chat conversations, Eddy uses a language processing system that makes tailored travel recommendations and suggests personalized activities. 

5. ‘Your data is worth more than you think’

Alan Brown, a professor of Digital Economy at Exeter University, talked about the synergistic effect of combining data and feeding it back to customers. Brown says that sharing data with customers will allow companies to go beyond a monotone view of data, building greater value for organisations. 

For example, most banks have a single-lense view of where their clients shop. But they don’t know what is in their shopping carts or if they also grow their own vegetables, for example. By transparently feeding customers back their data, companies can provide feedback as to whether they have been interpreted correctly. Brown suggests this will provide an opportunity for small companies to gain competitive advantage. 

Some technological advancements are allowing people to gain better control of their data, such as the US-based MobileIron, which is, ironically, eliminating passwords at work. Other companies like CitizenMe allow people to monetize data. 

CitizenMe is an identity control service working to help individuals take back ownership of their “digital selves”.  With its smartphone app, users can view requests from companies seeking information on where they work or what they buy in exchange for cash payment into their PayPal account.