People 'n' Issues

How SF becomes reality

October 31st, 2017
Speaking at the recent Datacentrix event, LENORE KERRIGAN, Country Sales Director of OpenText Africa, spoke about the realisation that what was once pure science fiction, is now our everyday reality.
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According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary  Science Fiction is defined as: fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component.  The term was first used in 1851, and now almost 170 years later, it seems that art is reflecting life more and more.

Speaking at the recent Datacentrix event held in Johannesburg, Lenore Kerrigan, Country Sales Director of OpenText Africa, spoke about the realisation that what was once pure science fiction, is now our everyday reality.  Cell phones were first seen in ‘Star Trek’, a smart car like the one in ‘Knight Rider’ are examples of how imaginations have become reality.

A more recent series ‘Person of Interest’ depicts a computer able to discern patterns of any person and predict what will happen to them is not as far-fetched as it sounds.  Organisations have access to data which is able to predict buyer behaviour, buying patterns, and online personae.  The issue is that this data sits in pools around the organisation and the only way to effectively use the potential information is to create a data lake.  Having a centralised ‘data lake’ which combines structured as well as unstructured data, will enable organisations to accurately predict behaviours – leading to a proactive approach to retaining clients.

Another shift that has occurred as a direct result of the ‘Technological Revolution’ is how careers which seemed like science fiction not even a decade ago, are now mainstream and in demand.  Machine learning is one of those careers, there are people who hold a PhD in this field.  The financial services industry has experienced a fundamental shift in how money is transferred, saved, and spent.  Innovative applications like SnapScan, cryptocurrency such as BitCoin are examples of why brick and mortar banking institutions will struggle in the next few years if they don’t adapt dramatically.  Another element one needs to evaluate is how these technologies will affect economies in the coming years.  One thing is certain – the younger generation of financial experts know how to deal with these shifts and business models in the cloud.  Businesses who are apprehensive about moving with the revolution will be left behind.

Another sector that needs to evolve is the building industry.  A house can be printed using a 3-D printer in less than two days, if construction and manufacturing companies don’t reinvent their business models to include this incredible technology, they will be left behind.

In closing, Kerrigan urged businesses to look at their own business models and asked if they are in control of the ‘data lake’ available to them.  Intelligently using data available in your organisation will make determine if you survive or not.  Businesses need to remember that customers are no longer content with a reactive relationship, they are more demanding and as such businesses must use information to continually evolve and become more customer-centric.

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