Still Doing Digital – Insights from Cardiff, March 2017

Over two days and two events last week I was given insight into future-thinking, digital integration in the arts and how new technologies will impact our lives.

On the first day I was commissioned to photograph a conference about Digital Innovation in the Arts. As a photographer you are concentrated on getting the best possible images of speakers and the environment, but you can collect nuggets of information here and there.  BBC-led afternoon sessions on VR were genuinely fascinating, and enjoyable to photograph.  While this tech might still be a considerable time away from mass market penetration, on a visceral level it remains really cool.

digital-cardiff-communications

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Automation For The People

A Composed Communication blog on automation technology and the new Amazon Echo device.

Voice recognition is a key part of automation technologies which many knowledgeable tech-heads believe will drive human progress through the next part of this century. It’s said that automation is the big step to intelligently streamlining how we lead our lives.

automation-technology

The new Amazon Echo device.                                                                                © Composed Images

 

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An Introduction To Edtech

Edtech – what’s this emerging technology space all about? An event in Cardiff city centre piqued my interest when it popped up in the Cardiff Start Facebook group, so I registered and went along.

What is Edtech?

Clearly the word Edtech appears to be a marriage of ed-ucation and tech-nology, but what really defines it?

Mark Hawkins / Composed Images.

© Composed Images.

Without doing any googling, it seems widely inclusive and rather vague, somewhat elastic. Couldn’t you argue that ALL technology is educational?

Is it about the organisational nuts and bolts of schools, colleges and universities? Is it about how the education itself is delivered?  Say you have an organisational solution which isn’t being applied in an educational environment currently, but could be. Hey presto, a little wiggling and that can suddenly become Edtech?

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Buying Music In 2016

How buying the new Radiohead album briefly changed my music listening experience.

I hate list questions.  You know: ‘name your top five films, top ten books’ or whatever. But if you pointed a gun to my head and forced to name a favourite band, I’d have to say Radiohead.  (You might then decide to pull the trigger. Your call).

moon-shaped-pool-radiohead

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Old Media: Time To Say Goodbye

There was a guilt-tinged sadness when I placed a bunch of books and CDs in plastic bags destined for charity shops a couple of weekends ago. 

It was like saying goodbye to old friends who’d brought me considerable pleasure during another time; a farewell to old media I was almost surgically attached to for a time.

Now though, the brutal unsentimental truth was that they held no use for me. Not even decorative, they sat neglected on a bottom shelf behind a row of DVDs, collecting dust.
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2016 Turing Lecture – The Internet Of Me, You and Us

schukai-237As now seems to be an annual ritual, last week I headed over to the School of Engineering at Cardiff University for the annual BCS / IET Turing Lecture. This year was the turn of Robert Schukai MBE, Head of Applied Innovation at Thomson Reuters.

The 2016 Turing Lecture was entitled “The Internet of Me: It’s All About My Screens.” It promised a look at how smartphones have revolutionised life, and the information challenge of constantly processing so much data.

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We Need To Talk About Your High Volume Twitter Strategy

physVvirt1Isn’t it funny, how we don’t talk (on Twitter) anymore?

Recently I’ve seen a headline or two suggesting Twitter is dying. Those pieces might suggest that it’s for the following reasons. I haven’t clicked many links to find out, but thought I’d add some thoughts here in the hope that there is a groundswell of consensus around the issue.

Apparently over in the US Twitter is really struggling. It failed to add any new users for the second quarter in a row. At the end of September, Twitter had a core audience of 307 million active users, adding just 3 million worldwide during the three months since June. Mass market appeal it seems is no longer there.

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Shared risk / shared reward: key to clinical innovation between private and public sectors?

Innov“Emperor’s New Clothes or the Way Forward? The Opportunities & Challenges of Clinical Innovation”. This was 2015’s teaser title for the Cardiff University Innovation Network event, held at the Heath Hospital in Cardiff.

While my professional links with clinical healthcare are limited, I continue to find the subject area compelling. In Wales it’s a perennial political football. Part of my problem in observing and digesting these events might be that I’m hankering for some BBC Question Time style debate, which is never likely to happen.

2013 – Innovation in healthcare
2014 – Dying to talk – an event on Healthcare In Wales

Having attended the previous two related events in 2013 and 2014, my trilogy would be completed with one more trip to north Cardiff, so I went see if this one would unearth anything new for the medical layman.
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Turing Lecture 2015 – “The Internet Paradox”

mfpix.com

mfpix.com

Major figures from the world of technology give lectures at UK universities around this time of year. For this we thank the annual Turing lecture series from the Institute of Engineering (IET) and the Chartered Institute of IT (BCS). This year’s was delivered by Dr. Robert Pepper, Cisco Vice President for Global Technology Policy.

In the previous two years I’ve scribbled less learned thoughts here after hearing the talks.

In 2013 we had Suranga Chandratillake, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of blinkx plc, who spoke about the video search engine he started in 2004, took public in 2007 and led as CEO until 2012; and about his time as CTO at Autonomy.

In 2014 Dr. Bernard Meyerson, Vice President for Innovation at IBM, gave a dizzying talk entitled “Beyond silicon: cognition and much, much more,” parts of which were indeed way beyond my cognition.

This year the BCS/IET Turing Lecture gave us Dr Robert Pepper, Vice President of Global Technology Policy at Cisco. The title of his talk was “The Internet Paradox: How bottom-up beat(s) command and control.”

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Be careful who you follow

followMost online social communities depend upon reciprocation, following the activity of others in order to be followed back; a sometimes blind and urgent focus on simply driving up those important numbers. This is a call to pause for thought.

Much of business today revolves around metrics, data, numbers.  The mass of people online means a wealth of data, new job roles designed to exploit that data and professionals desperately scrambling to keep their skills up to date.  It’s not hard to see why data has been dubbed the oil of this century.

This is largely for the good, for transparency and accountability, for conversions and web traffic, unambiguous black and white.  Close measurement and analysis has become meaningful and arguably most meaningful where it’s most niche, where there is specifically developed software within a sector; where metrics are fluid and have serious value.
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