Daily Tech Digest - August 08, 2019

VR is ahead for now, but AR will be a larger market in the long run

VR is ahead for now, but AR will be a larger market in the long run image
Taking any process, whether it’s in the personal or business sphere, usually involves some sort of digital interface to accomplish it. One example would be navigating using Google Maps to an unfamiliar location; a restaurant or a bar. A business equivalent of this could be in a warehouse, where an employee needs to navigate to the right shelf to pick up or deposit an item. On the consumer side, another example includes performing an oil change on a vehicle and on the business side, an equivalent could be maintaining an elevator system. Fixing the water pressure on your boiler… the list of applications is really endless. All of these processes require a lot of knowledge, sometimes specialist and sometimes not. But, the point is that all of these tasks can be performed with the aid of augmented reality — eventually. Currently, the use of AR in the above scenarios is being held back by the price, the design of the headsets, their ease of use and various cultural hurdles; a lack of understanding, for one. With AR, everything in both a business and a social sense can become a lot more efficient and accurate.

Data and AI Power the Future of Customer Engagement in Financial Services

The beauty of digital engagement driven by data, advanced analytics and AI is that a dialogue can be created across a broad range of topics. Instead of trying to sell a limited range of products in a program-based environment, all products and services can be included in the conversation, based on identified need. Each interaction is based on the individual profile, preferences and behavior of the consumer. With the integration of chatbots, voice and live agents, consumers can provide feedback on each communication and interaction, allowing models to improve and become even more personalized over time. The learnings during the process not only makes the engagement more personal, it makes it more powerful because recommendations will be more accurate. While what’s learned will potentially increase the amount of dialogue over time, personalization and contextualization improves, as do results and revenues. More importantly, the learnings will be shared across the organization, making every contact point more intelligent and consistent. 

How to Fit Smart Home Technology into Your Business

Smart home technology comes in many forms, and some of the most popular applications include automated lights, locks, and thermostats. Now more consumers are using virtual assistants to tie all of their connected smart devices together into one cohesive smart home. Today, 27% of people in the U.S. currently own and use a virtual assistant, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Consumers primarily use them to connect with and command apps without picking up their phones. However, companies can also utilize virtual assistants to schedule meetings, scan through emails, and (like consumers) get important data and information on the fly. For example, rather than ask your assistant about the weather, you could ask what last quarter’s revenue looked like compared to the quarter before it. At a 2018 data and analytics summit, Gartner analyst Svetlana Sicular pointed out that AI still needs further development before it can emulate human-to-human conversation.

Cloud adoption questions every IT admin should ask

Changing tools or platforms is akin to moving out of a house. You don't recall what's stored in the basement, nor are you prepared for how long it will take to go through every forgotten box. Cloud migration won't be a quick project, and it starts with an inventory of what's in place, if those items are needed and how -- or even if -- they will work on the new platform. While these legacy on-prem deployments are complex and often underdocumented, the IT admin can migrate or even alter components of the system as needed -- not so when a cloud provider controls the physical data center, security and other aspects of IT infrastructure. Cloud service adoption is a struggle as the business is accustomed to IT staff using their collective knowledge and authority to solve any problem. When something breaks at the cloud provider's end, IT must log the issue with the vendor and wait for resolution.

Survival skills for the digital age

People no longer need to be working from a single desk for the sake of presenteeism. Instead, they are tethered to a suite of devices and platforms that were designed by humans but are not human themselves: Intelligent technology is more like a third person in the room with a person and her device, but it should not be confused with another human. My research showed that it is common for people to spend more than 75 percent of the workday on at least three devices, often more. Financial Times journalist Hannah Kuchler, who covers Silicon Valley, told me that “overall, [people] do things dictated by tools they have, and none of the productivity tools in this new collaborative era really encourage proper thinking.” There’s the example of Slack. Answering Slack messages is no different from answering emails, and neither involves deep thinking, which is a prerequisite for coming up with innovative, value-added solutions. The office-less world requires a new set of digital survival skills, which are vital to preventing burnout.

Digital Transformation And The Cognitive Enterprise

Digital Transformation And The Cognitive Enterprise
The impact of digital transformation on talent strategies brings opportunities, as well as challenges. The digitisation of work and life is driving a need for new types of talent with new skills. Yet, despite the pressing need for digitally fluent employees to deliver innovation at an extraordinary rate and pace, talent with in-demand skills is limited. To ensure we have digitally skilled talent in place to drive organisations forward, there is a critical need for exponential learning. Leaders must also actively create an internal culture that supports the need for agility and constant change management amid ongoing disruption. HR has a vital role to play in supporting the attraction and delivery of digitally fluent talent. An urgent requirement is to offer personalised learning to employees – AI-enabled platforms can really elevate this experience. HR must prioritise current skills development and for enterprises, the skills gap is very real. Of the global executives we spoke to in our recent CHRO research, 60% say they are struggling to keep their workforce current and relevant. 

Leadership In A Digital Age Is Fundamentally Different

Communication network concept. AI(Artificial Intelligence).
The research we did showed two powerful forming elements for great leaders in successful corporations thriving with digital transformation. Firstly, the winners (sucking up 72% of the available returns) see everybody in the organizations as being mutually responsible to each other all the time. Every moment of every day. Secondly, thriving leaders recognize that customer journeys don't work in a world where customers or consumers can choose which of the thousand moments' they want to act in. This means we need to be continuously connected and aware of how each of the moments that might matter are being handled. These organizations have worked out how to do both of these things and how to deliver power to people and processes that have work in each moment. That is super scary for command and control cultures for obvious reasons. The organizations that get this right drive 40% better OPEX performance and see 25%+ changes in total revenue changes compare to industry peers.

The Challenges in Integrating Cross-Boundary Teams

When it comes to building a team, two prominent approaches exist: one is to map its sequential growth, and the other is to allow the non-sequential way they confront an issue. In the sequential growth approach, the team first interacts slowly, learns the tasks and goals, and then progresses competitively towards the goal. It involves the surfacing of conflicts, their resolution, acceptance, and then moving towards performance. On the contrary, a non-sequential team moves in a flexible way; they don't have the slow progressive pattern which we see in sequential teams. It is hence usually an association of known people; those who have worked previously or those who understand each other deeply. When assembling cross-functional teams, it is essential to understand the role of team mental models and transactive memory in enhancing team effectiveness. The team mental models make the members aware of the team environment, in a shared and organized understanding of the way key elements interact within the team atmosphere. It is the way an individual member perceives these factors.

R. Michael Anderson reveals the key to (tech) leadership

R. Michael Anderson reveals the key to (tech) leadership image
Before a person can become a successful leader, in technology or elsewhere, Anderson advocates improving the “relationship with ourselves. You can’t be a strong leader until you’re really strong with a relationship with yourself.” “People want to be led, and they want to be led by somebody that they respect. If there’s somebody that’s insecure and doesn’t respect themselves, nobody’s going to respect or have loyalty to them. “The type of people who have a leadership presence are assertive and respect themselves and have confidence in themselves, those are the ones who inspire loyalty and confidence. “Leaders need bold goals, a purpose or mission and have the guts to be able to stick with it, even when things are getting some resistance — inner resilience is key.” ... Good programmers are analytical, “sometimes introverted” and hard working. To be a successful leader these traits (bar being introverted) are alone not enough.

Amazon's PartiQL query language eyes all data sources

Amazon created PartiQL to meet internal demand for multi-source data queries across structured, semi-structured and unstructured data. Those needs came from various corners of Amazon's business, including its retail arm. Amazon released PartiQL's tutorial materials, specification and reference implementation under the Apache 2.0 license. AWS has used PartiQL internally for services such as S3 Select, Glacier Select and RedShift Spectrum, and it was adopted as a query language for Quantum Ledger Database, which AWS launched last year. PartiQL is compatible with standard SQL, which means enterprises can use existing queries with PartiQL in conjunction with SQL query processors. It also treats nested data as a first-class citizen, and doesn't require predefined schemas to be placed on a data set. PartiQL does contain SQL extensions, but they are minimal and simple for DBAs and developers to understand, AWS claims. Finally, PartiQL is data format-independent, which means one query applies to JSON, ORC, CSV and other data types.

Quote for the day:

"A leader takes people where they would never go on their own." -- Hans Finzel

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