London is one of top tech cities because it is brimming 24/7 with innovation, networking and hustle. 

Several weeks ago my teammates and I presented Augmented and Virtual reality solutions at Technology for Marketing expo and conference in London.

There was a line-up of visitors excited to test our VR headsets, AR and VR apps, and to discuss tech solutions our company can create for them so that they remain leaders on the market in their industry.

Thousands of people got excited about key note lectures on IBM Watson, machine learning, AI, the future of work, as well as the next best things in content marketing and of course, virtual and augmented reality.

The perk of working for an innovative company in developing economy is that you can showcase the best of the global capabilities of your engineering and marketing team for a fraction of the price thanks to demos of previous solutions, as well as by caring more for your potential clients than any competitors on the radar.

Your creations get more personalized, you listen better and you are not hard on selling. If you are running an extra mile both on the track field and in the business with your clients, it is not crowded at all. Such strategy leads you to have even more clients and interested prospects than you can serve at the moment.

One of the highlights at Technology for Marketing event was listening to Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft UK. Dave shared his insights about the future of work and the integration of cloud computing, privacy and big data.

Since joining Microsoft in 2005, Dave Coplin has provided guidance and strategic partnerships to companies in various industries. He was focused on the impact of technology on a modern society both at work and in play.  At the moment he continues helping individuals and organizations harness the full potential of technology in a modern, data-driven society.

I loved how Dave portrayed himself as ‘‘passionate about turning the base metal of technology into valuable assets that affect the way that we live, learn, work and play and in doing so, move the focus from the technology itself to the actual outcome.’’ The interview ahead of you reveals what a tech alchemist he truly is.

Thanks to his previous 25 years of inspiring work, we concluded that the IT audience is recognizing him right now both as the evangelist for reimagining work and the international consultant with strong engineering and technical background.

First I asked Dave how he envisions the future of work given the fact that almost 40% of jobs will get automated in the upcoming years.

Dave promptly responded, ‘‘The only way I envision this is, we went through this before, right? It was several years ago and we see it again and again when technologies change the things that we do.

What we need to do right now is see what technology can do that humans cannot, whatever those skills are going to be. One of outstanding examples is creativity: technology can’t be creative, it can replicate creativity to a certain extent but it cannot let itself be creative. So we need to keep asking ourselves, ‘‘What are the skills we can use so as to leverage the power of technology and what technology can offer to us?’’

 

Then, Dave and I have identified that ICT companies have a yawning demand for new recruits at all levels and yet so many jobs will become freelance gigs or automated.

Bearing in mind, new tendencies for workforce I wanted to hear Dave’s advice to 2016 university freshmen so that they get headhunted by best tech companies.

‘‘I think the most important thing students need to do is not think of technology as some kind of a separate thing, technology in fact underpins everything that we do’’, Dave put his thoughts in a nutshell and then elaborated on it. Be creative and also be creative with technology. Use it to extend your learning, do different things. And if you get technology to a place where it seems to disappear then you get to focus on something wonderful, on an innate human thing such as what you need to do.

So I think we are heading to a world where technology leaves certain implications on what we do with it, rather than it has to do wirh technology itself.’’

Then I asked Dave to share his opinions about multi-functional teams that gather people of different backgrounds. How does it function for the teams of creative people and artists to work together with experts who have tech background?

‘‘It’s absolutely possible, where we see this at best is in the project I have talked about called Tech Britain. Really, really good computer scientists are coming together with people who really understand art and they have made these beautiful solutions and tech mavericks have invested in the best of both worlds.’’

Thanks to rapid development of technology and switch to cloud computing architecture we see disruption across all industries. I then asked Dave how he envisions the role of virtual and augmented reality in various industries, and especially its integration with cloud computing.

He was very clear on this, ‘‘Cloud computing is everything. You cannot do any of these unless you are in the cloud. I think many people still do not understand how it works with cloud computing. Most of them think, ‘‘I have all of this stuff in my folder and put it on the cloud. That is really not cloud computing. Cloud computing is basically connecting all the data dots that exist underneath the organization in the way you communicate and figuring out what your products and services are. It is about ways how data can be leveraged into your future business.’’

For me, a driven woman in tech environment who started out her career in communication, it becomes fascinating again and again how machines can talk to each other and how when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT) concepts, it makes lives of people and cycles of businesses smarter.

In addition to what Dave was saying we can integrate cloud computing with the evolving software and hardware engineering in the domain of IoT, so that devices get better connected for the benefit of humans.

Gartner estimates that this year 6.4 billion connected objects will be used, which is a 30% increase from 2015, whereas by 2020 over 20.8 billion devices will be connected. 

Since Internet of Things revolutionizes connectivity among devices and humans in unprecedented ways, different kinds of standards are used so that solutions can be applied in a daily life. Of course, in terms of electronic design, there are numerous wireless standards so that the Internet of Things can be used in alignment with what the particular company needs. The most widespread wireless standards are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GlowPAN, RFID, NFC, Cellular, Sigfox, LoRaWAN, and Weightless, just to name a few.

In terms of VR and AR, Dave has a ready answer, as well, ‘‘VR is interesting but I think it is going to be a niche for a while because it is most often the experience of one person at a time, whereas augmented reality is different. We live in a world of technology and Pokemon Go is the biggest thing that happened to technology during the last year, not only because it is such a great game, but because it has exposed the concept of AR to millions of people. Millions of regular people everywhere not get what AR does. And I think this is the place to be where many interesting solutions are going to occur.’’

Clients who try out AR apps, get to engage longer with brands thanks to the extra layers of content they could see on the screen of the phones that they already have. So there are only two decisions or extra steps they need to take: to download the AR app with a particular benefit to them and to be willing to experiment with smart phones in their pocket.

Imagine how many returning clients retail brands will get as they became truly engaged with a treasure hunt game. Or how travel brands can incorporate their messaging with carefully tuned information as visitors scroll around the new city and take photos. Or when clients want to buy their properties, be that through real-estate agents or in some other form, they can see the house rooms from a different angle when they see the property page in a brochure through their phone.

Finally, I got a sneak peek into Dave’s tech habits by asking several more personal questions. As a global knowledge worker you always get to face this ongoing struggle: on one hand you intend to stay abreast of industry information, but at the same you actually never quite take a longer rest, which will that you quit travelling and being connected to people even for several days.

When Dave was asked to explain what we could expect from him and The Envisioners in 2017, he shared the following, ‘‘I am very lucky because I get to spend a lot of time with people like you at events like this (Technology for Marketing). Then I also encounter different kinds of business, sizes, and consumers so I see in a spectrum how people use technology. All that it takes is just a little bit of time to reflect on the common themes and how you think it is going to be.

It seems that the way we are going with Envisioners and the stuff that is going to happen there, it is all about AI, it is all about what AI is going to bring to our society. And fundamentally, remember that our focus is to get the humans ready to take advantage of technology and that is to the greatest extent possible.’’

Photo: Mind the productTechnology for Marketing