Ways to supercharge the economy


(As featured in Financial Review- September 5, 2017)

Written by: Ian Grayson

Data analytics could transform public transport.
Data analytics could transform public transport. Georgia Matts
This content is produced by The Australian Financial Review in commercial partnership with Australia Post.

A raft of emerging technologies is poised to supercharge innovation throughout the Australian economy, disrupting traditional business models and creating massive new opportunities.

Developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and blockchain will give organisations the ability to enter new markets and radically alter the ways they can service their customers.

Participants at a recent roundtable discussion, hosted by The Australian Financial Review and Australia Post, agreed many senior leaders are unaware of just how disruptive these new technologies will become. Those who do not make an effort to understand how they can be put to use within their organisation risk losing out to more nimble rivals that do.

Philip Dalidakis, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, says new technologies will allow for more efficient use of capital, pointing to transportation systems as one example.

“Data analytics can help us move our public transport system from being a scheduled service to an efficient people-moving service,” he says. For example, if a train is arriving, data analytics should be able to hold a nearby bus for an extra 30 seconds so more people can transfer, rather than having to wait for the next bus in 15 minutes.

Dalidakis says technology will also help innovations to occur in the ride sharing economy. Rather than families needing to own two cars, they will simply be able to use shared, autonomous vehicles, thus reducing costs and also making more efficient use of capital.

The roundtable participants also discussed how technology will cause massive innovation within companies, changing both the way work is completed and who undertakes that work.

Dramatic impact

Amantha Imber, founder of innovation consultancy Inventium, points to the legal sector as a classic example of an area where innovation based on technologies will have a dramatic impact.

“I look at all these different technology and software platforms that are now essentially doing the jobs that junior lawyers do,” she says. “There’s proof reading software and there’s ROSS Intelligence (AI software) to do your legal research for you, which is generally the majority of what a junior lawyer or an articled clerk does.”

Imber says this poses the question that, if many of the junior positions are automated, how does someone progress through a legal career? “When essentially this whole level is being stripped away by technology, what then happens?” she says. “That’s a pretty big question.”

“Essentially, anything that you do that is a repeatable task, don’t worry about perfecting it because a robot will do that in the future. Instead, think about the tasks and challenges that do require creative, problem-solving skills.”

Jonathan Davey, executive general manager of digital and innovation at National Australia Bank, says there is currently a lot of discussion in business circles about technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and blockchain, however it is important to not just focus on the technologies themselves but the value they can potentially deliver.

“What we’re actually talking about here is how those technologies can be applied to solve real problems that exist,” he says. “One of the things that we’re trying to do is understand the technology, but more importantly understand how the technology can be applied to solve a real problem.”

Find the link to the full story below: http://www.afr.com/news/special-reports/scaling-innovation/ways-to-supercharge-the-economy-20170903-gy9wub