DCU Goes Digital!
21 % of EU businesses used cloud computing in 2016. It was mostly used for the purpose of hosting e-mailing systems and electronically storing files. 51 % of these enterprises used advanced cloud services in relation to financial and accounting software, management of their customer relations or for running their business applications. Interestingly there has been a 10% increase in the use of cloud computing by large companies in comparison to 2014 (Ec.europa.eu, 2017).
With these statistics in mind it’s easy to understand why the theme of our third and final DICE conference was “Get Digital”. It was called The Sixth National Conference on Cloud Computing and Commerce. The conference was held on the 11th of April 2017 in The Helix in accordance with the previous two conferences. DICE students attended only from 4pm to 6pm meaning we only got to hear from 3 speakers. The reason for this was we spent the preceding 2 hours displaying posters from our DICE gamification projects for judges. Our task was to pitch and carry out market research for a game that will teach some aspect of business studies to people in an innovative and effective way. This put a nice twist on the final DICE conference of the year and it was an interesting and valuable experience in my opinion.
What is cloud computing? The term refers to two things. The first is the applications provided as a service over the Internet. The second is the hardware and software on the systems that are in data centres delivering these services (Armbrust et al., 2010). Cloud computing stimulates the creation of jobs, drives the economy to grow and in Ireland it provides savings and efficiencies in both the public and private sectors.
Located at DCU is the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing – known as IC4. Established in February 2012, it is a multi-institutional research centre which is industry led. According to their website they claim to: “facilitate Irish companies in developing and deploying software applications on cloud platforms“ and “help Irish companies to increase their business agility, operational efficiency and market reach through the use of the cloud”. IC4 hosted our final conference in conjunction with the business school in DCU. They brought together experts, both industry and academic, to explore with us how cloud technology addresses problems that enterprises experience – all of whom I was excited to hear from.
“No cloud can be more secure than its weakest link” (Kaufman, 2009). I feel that this is a very striking comment. Many large service providers need their users to place 100% of their data with their cloud. Without a doubt the providers need to have the appropriate infrastructure available to them to pull through a cyberattack. Providers such as Google do have these resources but unfortunately not every provider does. Measures must be taken to make people feel more secure. This is something the first speaker at the conference (and by far my favourite!), Dr. Johnny Walker, spoke to us about. He told us that people are terrified of data. He wants to disrupt healthcare for the better and told us that the future of health is the digital revolution. This is why it is important for these providers to gain the trust of their users. He told us that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices capable of tracking health –an astonishing figure.
Johnny (@JohnnyHF1) is the CEO and the founder of Health Founders. He is the main vision for his new product, Jinga Life, a new company who have a focus on adjusting healthcare from the hospital to people’s homes using their platform. According to him the current healthcare eco system is chaotic, ineffective and inefficient because it is all hospital based. I very much valued his opinions as he is currently active in a clinic and works as an interventional radiologist and nuclear physician in the Hermitage Medical Centre in Dublin. His solution is to keep people well within the community. Healthcare workers need to be educated by their people. Focus should be realigned to the home using simple enabling technologies. Jinga Life offers a cloud based, personalised and secured digital life tree. It stores information ranging from prenatal scans to allergies to doctor visits and even heart rate. Its usefulness became very clear to me when Johnny stated that 30% of mothers forget their charts for maternity scans. Jinga Life would be the perfect solution.
What are the benefits of digitalisation in the medical world? My favourite example of Johnny’s was the invention of a nappy which can be used in nursing homes. Staff are notified when the nappy becomes wet and the person needs changing. Furthermore the technology allows the urine to be tested automatically which can indicate conditions such as dehydration. Other new digital medical devices he mentioned include an e-stethoscope which is used by simply plugging it into a phone. Johnny broadened my outlook on the kind of future that digital will bring. If you’re interested in this area take a look at this video about the future of healthcare technology:
90% of all transaction in Sweden is digital. This statistic was given to us by the second speaker at the conference, David Erixon (@DexoDexo). He holds the position of Head of Digital and Customer Innovation at Ulster Bank. He started off his presentation by linking his content to that of our first presentation. He noted the many similarities between our health and our wealth. I respected David’s insight into the world of digital as has a lot of experience in this field. He founded Hyper Island which Campaign Magazine described as the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge of digital! He also founded a digital customer experience agency called Doberman who oversaw the creation of the world’s first omni-channel TV player. He spoke to us about the future of money, mentioning the money management app – 22seven.
Given Sweden’s astonishingly high digital transaction figure it is extremely important for the Swedish government to have laws in place regarding this digital transaction. The internet is becoming the base for the transmission of lots of different types of digital content. It will be necessary for regulatory bodies all around the world to design laws to regulate it. Why is this? These days consumers and companies own their data. A conversion to cloud computing would mean they would be handing their own data over to service providers who will process and store the data in the cloud with a physical location potentially anywhere in the world. Countries have different privacy laws and so if private data is being stored in a different country than that of the data’s owner there is confusion as to which laws should be followed. Pro-active regulatory measures therefore need to be taken by governments not only nationally but also internationally (Marston et al., 2011).
100 years ago 70% of North Americans lived on a farm. Today that figure is less than 1%. We heard this from the third and final speaker of the day, Alistair Croll (@acroll). His presentation was titled “Horses, Tea, Steam and Perfume: How to Think about Innovation”. Even though the bizarre title threw me off at the beginning, what Alistair went on to speak about was quite interesting and knowledge filled to my surprise. I shouldn’t have expected any less from the author of “Lean Analytics” who has 20 years of experience being an entrepreneur, author and public speaker. He spoke to us about unintended consequences – something I had never really thought much about before the conference. People like to predict what’s going to happen in the future but very often the causal sequence from new technologies are hard to forecast. A notable example of Alistair’s was that of the introduction of child airplane seats on American flights to lower the number of accidents involving children on planes. This meant there would be an increase in costs for families in order to pay for these child airplane seats. What wasn’t anticipated was the fact that an increasing number of families would choose to drive to their destinations with their children instead of flying because driving was now cheaper. This increase in road trips led to more road accidents which voided the original strategy to reduce travel accidents involving children – an unfavourable result to say the least.
People don’t tend to like when they can’t predict their future – myself included. It is for reasons like this that some companies are reluctant to move towards digitalisation and technology. They feel like they’re going into the unknown. The lack of knowledge and resources is now seen as the biggest issue for companies seeking to adopt cloud technologies meaning security is no longer the main concern. However, studies show that investment in cloud technology is continually rising for example 41% of businesses plan to increase their investment in it. This is particularly evident in larger firms with 51% of large/medium sized companies planning an increase in investment in cloud technology compared to just 35% of smaller enterprises. A value of $148 billion was put on the cloud market in 2016. The amount of money spent on cloud services in 2016 overtook that which was spent on cloud infrastructure hardware and software (Waterford Technologies, 2017).
To conclude, the third and final DICE conference of the academic year was just as informative, engaging and enjoyable as the first two. We may not be able to predict exactly what the future will bring but it is clear that the future is digital. In my opinion the DICE conferences (Get Started, Get Social and Get Digital) were all fantastic learning resources. They were an effective addition to learning information in a lecture hall. I’ve been guided and advised during these conferences and have learnt a considerable amount of material which will stay with me during my college years and further into my career. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog posts reflecting on the conferences.
Armbrust, M., Fox, A., Griffith, R., Joseph, A., Katz, R., Konwinski, A., Lee, G., Patterson, D., Rabkin, A., Stoica, I. and Zaharia, M. (2010). A View of Cloud Computing. Communications of the ACM, (4), pp.50-58. Ec.europa.eu. (2017). Cloud computing - statistics on the use by enterprises - Statistics Explained. [online] Available at: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Cloud_computing_-_statistics_on_the_use_by_enterprises [Accessed 13 Apr. 2017]. Kaufman, L. (2009). Data Security in the World of Cloud Computing. the IEEE Computer and Reliability So. Marston, S., Li, Z., Bandyopadhyay, S., Zhang, J. and Ghalsasi, A. (2011). Cloud computing — The business perspective. Decision Support Systems, 51(1), pp.176-189. Waterford Technologies. (2017). Cloud Computing Facts & Statistics 2017 | Waterford Technologies. [online] Available at: https://www.waterfordtechnologies.com/cloud-computing-stats-2017/ [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].