Is Your Business Ready for the Programmable World?

Is Your Business Ready for the Programmable World?

Information Week Data Innovation queries if your business is ready for the programmable world. 

The programmable world from writing software codes to running machines to computing efficiently would be on the verge of programming the world. It would be a long-drawn effort, the contours and time unknown, but its direction is apparent.
The typical elements of software will become a part of our day-to-day life, bringing control, customization and automation to the increasingly entangled world around us. The experiences would be under your control. How different would it be from the world we live in today?

Is Your Business Ready for the Programmable World?

The programmable world will be a turning point for businesses and society. Businesses that prepare first will be best positioned to succeed.

Imagine a world where the environment around you is as programmable as software: a world where control, customization, and automation are enmeshed in our surroundings. In this world, people can command their physical environment to meet their own needs, choosing what they see, interact with and experience. Meanwhile, businesses leverage this enhanced programmability to reinvent their operations, subsequently building and delivering new experiences for their customers.

Already, nearly 80% of executives surveyed believe that programming the physical environment will emerge as a competitive differentiation in their industry. An early example of what’s to come in this space is Amazon’s Sidewalk service. For years, Amazon deployed hundreds of millions of Echo, Ring and Tile products in neighborhoods worldwide. Sidewalk creates a Bluetooth network that can extend connectivity up to half a mile beyond Wi-Fi range and lets anyone with compatible devices connect. If your dog escapes, a Tile tracker on its collar could stay connected thanks to Sidewalk bridges from your neighbors’ homes. This approach of connecting existing IoT devices to create instant smart neighborhoods hints at the power that connecting other, even more sophisticated technologies will soon unleash.

Leading enterprises will be at the forefront of the programmable world, tackling everything from innovating the next generation of customizable products and services, to architecting the hyper-personalized and hyper-automated experiences that shape our future world. Organizations that ignore this trend, fatigued from the promise of IoT, will struggle as the world automates around them. This will delay building the infrastructure and technology necessary to tap into this rich opportunity, and many organizations may find themselves playing catchup in a world that has already taken the next step.

Preparing for the Programmable World

To begin building a new generation of products, services, and experiences in the physical world that meet our new expectations for digital conveniences, enterprises will need a deep understanding of three layers that comprise the programmable world:

1. The connected. The connected devices that enable seamless interaction with our surroundings: IoT and wearables today, ambient computing and low latency 5G-based devices tomorrow.

2. The experiential. Digital twins of the physical world that provide real-time insights into environments and operations and which transform peoples’ experiences within them.

3. The material. A new generation of smart, automated manufacturing alongside innovations like programmable matter and smart materials; programmable matter can — as the phrase suggests — be “programmed” to change its physical properties upon direct command or by sensing a predetermined trigger.

Becoming a leader in the programmable world requires wide-ranging experimentation and continuous development across these three layers. Companies that achieve “full stack” programmability will blaze a trail, so it’s important for this journey to start as soon as possible. We recommend that organizations begin addressing the following as a priority:

  • Level up the connected layer. 5G will be a game-changer in terms of speed and low latency, but rollouts are still in early days. This presents an opportunity for organizations to pilot new use cases that leverage 5G capabilities, so that they can hit the ground running when it’s more broadly available.
  • Get involved with industry-wide alliances. Industry alliances will shape the development of new technology standards for the programmable world. Businesses that take part in these alliances will help ensure that the world evolves in a way that benefits their customers. From an interoperability perspective, this could mean participating in ecosystem-wide efforts to set standards for how devices connect and communicate.
  • Bridge the digital and physical worlds. All businesses should now consider building digital twins. Even without the full maturity of the programmable world, these platforms provide significant operational and competitive advantages to companies today. Over time, digital twins will become the engine for every enterprise’s programmable world strategy, letting them invent products, design experiences, and run their businesses in ways that would once have been unimaginable.
  • Innovate in the right areas. Start by looking at where purely digital or purely physical experiences have yet to excel. For instance, apparel shopping comes with major pain points both in person and online (e.g., limited selections and wait times in store vs. difficulty finding the right size/style online). Virtual dressing rooms using AR filters and 3D avatars are a perfect solution, enabling online customers can try on items before they buy. Similarly, physical dressing rooms can be enhanced with improved lighting and interactive screens, so shoppers can get more out of trips to the store.
  • Explore future materials technologies. Partnerships with start-ups and universities are a good way to stay right at the forefront of real-world technology innovation. For instance, a team of researchers at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms published their work around four new material subunits called voxels. Researchers believe voxels could be programmed into certain combinations to create objects that change and respond to the environment around them – like airplane wings that shapeshift in response to different air conditions — and they believe tiny robots could be used to assemble, disassemble, and reassemble the voxels into a nearly limitless variety of objects.

The programmable world promises to be the most disruptive turning point for business and society in decades. Soon, we will live in environments that can physically transform on command and which can be customized and controlled to an unprecedented degree. With these environments, a new arena for innovation and business competition will be born. Businesses that prepare first, will be best positioned to succeed.

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Smart city: Constructing materially smarter cities

Smart city: Constructing materially smarter cities

A smart city uses digitalisation-supported information and communication technology (ICT) in its diverse operational exercises, shares information and provides better governance.: Constructing materially smarter cities on Elkem.

 


Smart city: Constructing materially smarter cities

In 2050 close to 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities and the need for efficient infrastructure will increase. Did you know that the materials used on satellites and space applications play a crucial role in enabling smart and safe cities of the future?

There are different definitions of what a smart city actually is. As a general interpretation, however, consensus seems to align around that the term says something about the degree to which traditional networks and services are made more efficient with use of digital and telecommunication technologies – for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses

The smart cities put data and digital technology to work to make better decisions and improve the quality of life for example by providing commuters with real-time traffic information, an asthma patient with information on high pollution areas or live usage load in city parks.

This is important, as a study by the World Bank has found that for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. The study estimates that 70 million new residents will be added to urban areas each year, indicating that more than 68 percent of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050.


Smart cities use Internet of  Things (IoT) devices, like sensors, lights, and meters to collect and analyse data. The cities can then use this data to improve infrastructure, public utilities and services, and more.
IoT is the concept of connecting any device to the Internet and to other connected devices (IBM, source).


Source: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2018)
Source: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2018)

Cities are also important for value creation and according to the World Bank, 72 percent of competitive cities outperformed their countries in terms of economic growth. In other words, we need the cities and their value creation.

A potential part of the solution

The rapid urbanisation will increase demand for services in urban areas exponentially and put pressure on population centres. In this future scenario, efficient, smart cities can represent a part of the solution.

Elkem has delivered metals and materials for the construction sector for several decades and play a key role in how cities are becoming better, smarter and more efficient.

Elkem’s silicon, ferrosilicon and Microsilica® are materials used to enhance properties and reduce emissions in the production of metals and concrete for the construction sector, and Elkem’s silicones are among other things used as sealants for flexible joints between construction materials, as well as for waterproofing windows, doors and facades.

In addition, silicones also have a wide range of usages within electronics.

“The extreme resistance of our materials, combining thermal and fire resistance as well as chemical stability, make silicones materials outstanding for long-term applications, where you either do not want to or cannot change materials frequently. This is the reason why silicones have become the material of choice in aviation, aerospace and automotive industry”, says Yves Giraud, global business manager in Elkem Silicones.

“For example, if you launch a satellite, you will not be able to change and inspect the materials every three years. The materials must be stable over a 15-year period in a very challenging environment. Another example is 5G antennas, which will become increasingly important as smart infrastructure, where Elkem’s material solutions are vital to protect critical functionalities and to reduce the need for maintenance and inspections for our customers”, says Giraud.

Another example is 5G antennas, which will become increasingly important as smart infrastructure, where Elkem’s material solutions are vital to protect critical functionalities and to reduce the need for maintenance and inspections for our customers”, says Giraud. 

Reliable, sustainable and innovative

With increased demand for new energy solutions and smart applications, the role of cables is also becoming more important. To meet demand, manufacturers are looking for safer, more reliable, sustainable and innovative solutions.

Silicone rubber insulated cables provides both heat and fire resistance, and present high mechanical properties. The materials therefore contribute to protecting our lives in the cities.

Another effect of smarter and more efficient cities is that the need for sensors and intelligence gathering equipment will increase. This is relevant, among other applications, on car windows, which ensure that the lights are switched on when it gets dark, or in buildings, enabling exterior doors and gates to automatically open when approached by people.

“We believe smarter cities are one of several drivers that will increase the need for safe products that lasts. The use of silicones in smart application is a great reusable alternative, and is also of significant sustainability value, generating energy and saving CO2 emissions nine times greater than the impacts of production and recycling”, says Giraud.

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Investment plans within concept of ‘smart’ cities, villages

Investment plans within concept of ‘smart’ cities, villages

The COP27 delivered partial success in an agreement on a fund for those vulnerable countries; however, it still needs to provide an understanding of the most basic requirements for stopping the current climate breakdown. That is mainly to slash the burning of fossil fuels as promptly as possible.  In the meantime, life carries on. Like in the story that follows, it is not building better with less at this conjecture and not about decarbonising all active ingredients but, like Azerbaijan sharing investment plans within the concept of ‘smart’ cities and villages.


Azerbaijan shares investment plans within concept of ‘smart’ cities, villages

The image above is of TRAVEL TRIANGLE

BAKU, Azerbaijan, November 21. Azerbaijan cooperates with the world’s leading companies in the building of ‘smart’ cities and villages, Azerbaijani Minister of Digital Development and Transport Rashad Nabiyev said on November 21 during an international conference on ‘smart’ cities and villages, being held in Baku, Trend reports.

According to Nabiyev, the concepts of ‘smart’ cities and villages contribute to the efficient use of water and other natural resources.

“In the next five years, $2.5 trillion will be invested in these concepts. Azerbaijan has been working in this direction since 2020. Our ministry has studied the experience of leading countries when elaborating on the concepts. Within the framework of the ‘Online Azerbaijan’ concept, large-scale work is being carried out to integrate state systems, switch to ‘cloud’ technologies and other work,” the minister noted.

Besides, Nabiyev noted that the effectiveness of the concept of ‘smart’ cities and villages may differ depending on the region.

“When implementing these projects, we take into account the factor of development of local companies and their localization,” he said.

The minister pointed out that over the past two years, 472,000 households in Azerbaijan have been provided with fiber-optic communication, and by 2024 even the most remote villages will be provided with it.

Speaking about the development of these projects, Nabiyev said that more attention should be paid to ensuring the security of information systems.

“In the next three years, 932 highly qualified specialists in the field of cybersecurity will be trained in Azerbaijan,” he added.

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Why satellite data is key to smarter, sustainable cities

Why satellite data is key to smarter, sustainable cities

What Business Leaders Need To Know About Sustainability

What Business Leaders Need To Know About Sustainability

Benjamin Laker, Contributor and Expert in Forbes on 12 October 2022,, according to many, as to bring more fruits home.

 

What Business Leaders Need To Know About Sustainable Technology

As the world progresses, new technologies have the potential to help us move closer to a sustainable future. But what do business leaders need to know about these technologies. After all, they need to make informed decisions about incorporating them into their operations and strategies.

As sustainable technology becomes more prevalent, leaders need to be informed about the options available and how they can be incorporated into their operations. “We need to tie sustainability to economic outcomes and put a dollar value on the high-impact actions a company takes to sustainable solutions”, said Terence Mauri, MIT Entrepreneur Mentor in Residence, in an email. “CEOs and boards must have moral and business imperatives to care about long-term. The opportunity lies in business leaders and investors being able to tie sustainability data directly to economic conditions”.

Mauri believes that companies are beginning to see the importance of sustainable technology and are working to develop more sustainable practices. He may be right. IBM has developed a system to help farmers use less water and fertilizer while maintaining crop yields. Other companies are working on developing sustainable packaging. For example, Nestle Waters North America has developed a paper-based water bottle that is fully recyclable and uses significantly less energy to produce than traditional plastic bottles. Meanwhile, Amazon has pledged to be “net zero carbon” by 2040 and 100% renewable by 2030. And Goldman Sachs has committed to investing $750 billion in sustainable businesses by 2030.

“Many sustainable solutions such as these require investment and may have a higher upfront cost, but they often provide long-term benefits like saved energy costs or improved employee productivity,” said Huda Khan from the University of Aberdeen and Richard Lee from the University of South Australia, in an email. Khan recently conducted research explaining why firms should pursue green technological innovation — it leads to improved environmental outcomes and business performance. This assertion is shared by Nadia Zahoor from the Queen Mary University of London and Zaheer Khan from the University of Aberdeen, who said in an interview that “businesses should consider sustainability as part of a “strategic opportunity” rather than purely from a compliance perspective.” Zahoor’s research findings suggest that business collaborations offer environmental learning conducive to identifying and exploiting ecological threats and opportunities for environmental innovation. Based on a second study, both researchers also contend that sustainability is a complex issue, but it is one that business leaders need to start taking seriously. Here’s how.

 

Account for The Hidden Cost of New Technology

The first step in creating a sustainable development plan for your company is taking stock of where you’re. Measuring your sustainability can come from metrics like carbon footprint, energy consumption, and supply chain miles. “If you want to measure your future sustainability, it’s also essential to look at the impact of new technologies you’re using,” said Emma Collins, the CEO and co-founder of Safetradebinaryoptions, in an email. Many new technologies have hidden costs that are often left out of sustainability calculations. For example, AI is a technology that has created immense value for businesses, whether it’s driving personalized product recommendations or informing anti-money laundering software. However, AI systems need to process an immense amount of data, requiring a company to increase its energy use.

In addition, other technologies that can help companies increase the efficiency and quality of their products, such as blockchain, can harm a carbon footprint. Even technologies created to improve sustainability can have hidden costs. For example, producing solar panels requires substantial water and energy. And although electric vehicles have lower emissions than traditional gas cars, the manufacturing process for batteries can be quite polluting. When considering new technologies, it’s essential to view the product’s entire life cycle, from production to disposal. This will give you a more accurate picture of the sustainability of the technology and help you make better decisions about which technologies to pursue.

 

Use Technology to Increase Your Sustainability

Once you can measure and understand the impact new technologies have on your sustainability goals, you can look for opportunities to use new technologies sustainably. If you’re partnering with other companies to develop energy-heavy technologies like AI or blockchain, look carefully to ensure you’re partnering with companies that prioritize sustainability. For example, Google is developing technology to maximize energy efficiency and reduce waste and has developed an AI system that can predict failures in data centre cooling systems, which account for a significant amount of energy use. And they’re not the only ones — many tech companies are now incorporating sustainability into their product development cycles. In other words, companies cannot simply purchase the latest sustainable technology and expect it to achieve their sustainability goals. Instead, they need to be thoughtful about how they use technology and ensure that it is integrated into their overall sustainability strategy.

Look at the Big Picture

Sustainability is about more than just technology. To be sustainable, companies must look at the big picture and understand how their actions fit into the larger world. Fortunately, there are many ways to do this. One popular method is sustainability reporting, which allows companies to measure and track their progress on specific sustainability goals. This information can help companies decide where to focus their efforts and how to use their resources best.

Sustainability reporting can also help companies tell their sustainability story to the public, which is an integral part of promoting sustainable business practices. After all, if consumers and investors don’t know that a company is working towards sustainability, they won’t be as likely to support its efforts. There are many different types of sustainability reporting, but one of the most popular is the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. These guidelines provide a framework for companies to report environmental, social, and economic impacts. In addition, many companies use these guidelines to produce annual sustainability reports, which they then make available to the public. The GRI guidelines are just one example of the many resources available to companies that want to improve their sustainability reporting. Several software programs and online tools can also help with this process. No matter what type of sustainability reporting a company chooses to use, the important thing is that they are taking action and working towards their goals.

Ultimately, technology is just one piece of the puzzle regarding sustainability, but it’s essential. Companies can significantly impact the world by using technology to increase efficiency and reduce waste. In this way, technology can be a powerful tool for promoting sustainability on a global scale. And as more and more companies adopt sustainable practices, we will all benefit from a cleaner, healthier planet.

I’m a leadership professor writing expert commentary on global affairs read by more than one million executives and policymakers the world over

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