The Renaissance Revisited

By: Perry Kinkaide, Founder & Past President – Alberta Council of Technologies

Analytics just keeps getting better. Two years ago our theme “Off-loading Intelligence – When Machines Decide!” was punctuated with repeated declarations of: “It’s sooner than you think!” And then in 2012, encouraged by IBM’s Watson winning Jeopardy, and popularized by Hollywood’s film ‘Moneyball,’ we tweaked the theme and organized our Conference to reflect the popularity of “Analytics, Big Data, and The Cloud”. The associated Conference for 2013 reconvenes in BOTH Calgary and Edmonton May 13-15th – visit (ABCtech subscribers receive a 10% discount when Registering On-line using the Subscriber discount CODE ABCtech4U ) Featured panels portray a wide-array of Alberta applications and commercialization issues across industry, research and government. Key features are broadcast via WebTV between sites and globally. The ICT data-storage/processing industry continues to morph into a service. And, apps that are programmed to actually learn are imminent. It’s just a matter of time, and indeed – ‘sooner than you think’.

The market for analytics continues to attract broad interest as an aide to decision making from varied industries and professions; just see the the range of perspectives shared in this newsletter. This Renaissance Revisited features the governments of the US and Canada declaring policies of Open Data and managers being challenged to surface and secure answers from reservoirs of formerly ignored data. To secure a strong advantage and keep up with NOW, the leaders of today MUST:

  • Anticipate. Employ predictive analytics for securing improved customer service, program/product evaluation and design, and as a means to increase market share
  • Get Nimble. Remove cultural barriers, archaic policies and hierarchical structures impeding responsiveness
  • Learn. Seek out anomalies, the source of innovation
  • Collaborate. Improve ease of access to data and integrate siloed data sources
  • Decide. Increase productivity employing data as an aide to decision making
  • Automate. Investigate algorithms for possibly automating labour intensive/error prone management processes
  • Compete. Treat data as an asset and employ analytics for a competitive edge
  • Discover. Employ huge data sets and analytics tools to better understand intricate topics such as: the universe and our origins, the earth’s climate and weather, the brain and behavior, and what’s relevant to you.

No implication is any more significant than the opportunity to feed the voracious appetite of people to be informed anytime, anywhere. For democracy, borders become irrelevant. For markets, data is a huge competitive asset for customizing service. For the professions, analytics may signal “the beginning of the end” of the professionally dominated, knowledge economy. The professional-client relationship features: waiting lists, high public and private costs and rising, and weak client engagement. Today’s clients are impatient with increasingly consumer-like expectations, to the chagrin of busy professionals. The “personalization” of professional markets has enormous implications for customizing service, speeding up responses and redefining the role of knowledge-intensive, expensive professionals – such as coaches, where relationship skills are in demand. By the way, and this may be peculiar to Alberta, “busy” has become a new by-word – an impersonal response to anyone asking “How are you!”

Where knowledge-based decisions are error-prone, and yield to data, sensors monitor remote assets with system controls. Witness the promise of remote personal health monitors, unmanned vehicle transportation, customized entertainment, speed matchmaking, reprogrammable robotics in manufacturing. A new beginning. The time is now!

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