As technology evolves at an ever faster pace, it becomes critical for companies to get better at correctly gauging how technology impacts… well, everything else.
One of our recent projects was helping Belfius bank organize a technology experience part of LeaderShift, an internal innovation and inspiration initiative for 600 members of the management cadre.
At the event we offered hands-on experiences, introductions by experts, and guided tours to bring it all together. We can’t offer quite the same thing in a blog post, but we thought you’d find it stimulating to see which companies we’ve chosen and why.
We’ve carefully selected 9 companies to represent 10 technologies that are both available off the shelf right now, and that offer an enormous potential in the near and distant future.
If you’re a technology buff, you likely won’t discover anything new, but we would recommend you to read through the post below while keeping these three points in mind:
- All technologies represented at the event are in their infancy. Looking at the progress mobile phones have made since their introduction in mid-nineties, try to imagine what any given piece of technology would look like in a decade.
- As technologies mature, they also become a lot more user-friendly, giving the public access to an increasingly sophisticated set of tools.
- Combining new technologies creates a whole new galaxies of possibilities.
If you do it right, by the end of this short read your mind will be abuzz with possibilities – ours certainly was. See our product-of-the-future idea at the end of the article 😉
Sopra Steria – Pepper Robot
The What & the Who: Sopra Steria is a European leader in digital transformation that helps companies to deal with new technologies and leverage them.
Tech on display: Pepper, a robot based on social robotics technology, whose purpose is to ease the interaction of humans with robots and digital services. See how your future customers will interact with your company’s services through service robots.
Why is this relevant?: Robotics will allow humans to interact with the digital world in a very familiar manner, but also vice-versa allow the digital intelligence to affect the physical world. Robotics will impact industries from manufacturing (Tesla using single robots to perform multiple tasks) to healthcare (service robots helping patients find the right person).
Tech on display: Microsoft’s HoloLens, an augmented reality helmet that allows you to superimpose real-time digital data onto the real world, making it easier to understand and allowing people to make decisions with all the relevant data in the blink of an eye.
Why is this relevant?: The next wave of content is going to be immersive. VR and AR will help you captivate your audience and offer new ways to interact and learn. AR will allow you to interact with the real world but with a lot more information on hand. From engineering meetings on virtual CAD models to assisted stock-picking to on-the-job training – the world of applications is enormous. .
La Miam Factory
3D PRINTED FOOD
The What & the Who: La Miam Factory has developed its own 3D chocolate printer by turning a traditional 3D printer in order to be able to print food, using the “Fused Deposition Modeling” process. Thanks to this innovative technology, amazing chocolate shapes can be created, shapes that couldn’t be obtained by conventional ways such as moulding.
Why is this relevant?: Being able to digitally manufacture food allows for far more complex food products which is not only beneficial from a gastronomical perspective (staged release of flavours and textures), but also from a health perspective (being able to customise food based on dietary and lifestyle needs).
The What & the Who: Raven offers VR services for workshops and events. Bringing the latest technologies in the VR arena to apply them to the immersive entertainment for marketing but also for interactive trainings well beyond the current MooCs.
Why is this relevant?: VR allows for content to become truly immersive. Ranging from entertainment to trainings, VR can help you experience the unimaginable. Offer trainings in VR, allowing you to scale trainings beyond one facility. VR is the next big thing in entertainment and education.
The What & the Who: IBM is a worldwide player in cloud and AI technologies. IBM will show how AI helps make machine learning a lot less intensive: train an AI once and it will learn from its mistakes in all the instances of that AI. They will also demo a program showcasing how the AI becomes cleverer with every interaction it has.
Why is this relevant?: Our world is becoming increasingly complex and the problems to solve involve large sets of data. AI and machine learning allow computers to better understand these large streams of data and create actionable information out of them. Recognizing spoken text and identifying tone of voice to being able to see objects and discerning crops from weeds.
The What & the Who: ReaGent is the main bio hackerspace in Belgium, home to innovations intersecting biology, technology, society and arts. At ReaGent people try out biohacking techniques like DNA extraction & analysis, analysing microbiomes, growing building materials and more. They show the possible future scenarios that will drive the biological revolution, initiated today in garages and shared labs worldwide.
Why is this relevant?: We are getting better and better at controlling biology to the extent that we can have cells grow products that are as complex or even more complex than the manufactured ones. Lowering the barrier to access to these biology technologies will allow for more people to build products and solutions.
The What & the Who: Glimps is a design studio that engages a strategic transition towards an open, bio-based economy through exploring new biomaterials. Transdisciplinary at the core, the Glimps team of scientists and designers showcases prototypes and applications of innovative materials.
Jewellery from bacterial leather, a lamp glued with mushrooms, biodegradable fashion accessories, a printed banner with algae paint, mycomaterial sound tiles, and more. Glimps will show how growing and living materials present a paradigm shift in production, and how they employ open innovation as an effective strategy for change.
Why is this relevant?: With growing pressure for more sustainable manufacturing techniques, biomaterials can offer interesting solutions to the sustainable challenge of building with finite resources.
The What & the Who: DroneFun is a Belgian company that allows people to get a taste and basic skill on flying drones and demonstrate the variety of drone technologies available.
Why is this relevant?: Drones and especially autonomous drones will be able to solve a lot of logistics problems: from getting your package the last mile to getting eyes in places where humans would be at risk (monitoring offshore windmill-parks and patrolling industrial parks).
INTERNET OF THINGS
The What & the Who: Bagaar is an IoT digital product development firm that helps companies build smart products. One of the recent cases is Cowboy: electric bike for urban riders.
It is a smart bike that takes into account the movements, body weight or characteristics of its rider and adjusts its velocity and assistive power accordingly. This seamless interaction happens without an interface which then enables the user to safely concentrate on getting where s/he is going.
Why is this relevant?: Making products smart requires a good understanding of how the product interacts with its user, but also with the other smart products and services. Ideally making smart products opens up a world of new opportunities and Bagaar can help you crack this process.
INTERNET OF THINGS
The What & the Who: AllThingsTalk helps customers to quickly build prototypes of connected products, test, get feedback in real time and iterate their ideas.
Why is this relevant?: Rapid prototyping is an essential part of new product creation, allowing companies to quickly prove value of their new ideas and get key stakeholder buy-in.
• • •
Here’s the future product idea that was in our head by the end of the tour: a connected, automated kitchen. Imagine: you come home, and your kitchen asks you what kind of dinner you feel like? It’s cold and unfriendly outside, so you tell your kitchen that a spicy stoemp-saucisse would be good.
The kitchen checks your stats – based on your genetic profile, your fitness bracelet and your bicycle’s data and a recent gut flora analysis all crunched by AI it knows exactly what combination of nutrients you need today.
It also learnt your taste and texture preferences, so it 3D-prints for you a perfect saucisse with just a little bit of crunchy char on the top and a serving of delicate potato mash on the side.
So, what amazing idea is in your head?