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35 (130) 2018
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Editorial Note

Editorial note

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Editorial Note from Michael Dembinski and Dorota Kierbiedź.

This issue of Contact Magazine Online focuses on innovation in business that’s driven by technology. We’re currently leading our firms into an era where change is happening at a pace unprecedented even a decade ago. How will this change affect us – will we can ride it like a surfer rides a wave, or submerge beyond the choppy waters?

 

The answer lies in our understanding of how tech is evolving; which doors will open to corridors of rapid growth, and which are just dead ends. Artificial Intelligence (AI) appears in many of the articles in this issue. Yet 20 years ago, AI was considered to be going nowhere, a theoretical concept that offered no practical benefits. Yet with the growth of computing power and much research and development, AI is beginning to transform many sectors of business.

One of our larger IT members, Future Processing, sets out a vision of AI that can either help or harm mankind – especially when it hits that moment of ‘singularity’, when machines are learning at an exponential rate and overtake humanity in knowledge. How can we choose the right path? Some suggestions can be found here…

Our three interviews in this issue look at how IT is disrupting business. Stephan Bienek and Adam Pytlik from Interoute are asked about the difference between digital disruption and digital transformation, and how new ways of doing business are shaking up processes and procedures. The world of advertising is being shaken up by technology, which is changing people’s habits. How can the persuaders continue persuading when the target audience is interacting with content in totally new ways? How will smart billboards and virtual reality change the way we shop? Ross Newens of Nova Group outlines his vision of advertising in the times of AI. Paying taxes will become easier – and avoiding them will become harder – as governments begin to introduce tech-driven solutions in what’s being called ‘TaxTech’. Piotr Ciski from Sage talks about the future challenges that tech brings with it, in particular the danger of skills shortages in a few years’ time if schools and universities do not change their programmes now to reflect the future’s needs of the workplace.

Manufacturing industry is also investing heavily in the future. Factories will change as robots start talking to robots – the world of Industry 4.0.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing new efficiencies to the factory floor and to the manufacturing supply chain. How will this affect your business? KPMG’s Dr Jerzy Kalinowski looks at the imperatives. The automotive sector is one where massive structural change is expected, whether its from fossil fuels to electricity or the change in the ownership and use model of cars. The impact of technology on the sector is set out in this piece from Mazars. And a great exemplar of UK best practice is showcased – Renishaw – a world leader in metrology and healthcare.

Frequent business travellers have witnessed huge improvements in convenience; being able to book flights, reserve hotel rooms, hire cars or buy train tickets online was a huge step forward – but things are about to get even better thanks to AI and smartphone. Two articles, one from Avis and one from online booking platform Amadeus, map out the future of business travel.

The real estate and construction sector is facing disruption too, as changes in retailing mean ever-growing numbers of online customers wanting direct-to-door delivery. How will this affect the market for warehouse and retail space? Here are some pointers from Cushman & Wakefield. And what are the latest trends  in retailing? This article from Deloitte looks at the growing symbiosis between bricks & mortar and e-commerce. Innovation in construction is not just about IT – continuing improvements in materials technology can extend the operation life of our infrastructure. Tensar’s innovative ground stabilisation system is one such example.

Legal firms are facing huge disruption as AI prepares to sweep away large swathes of routine fact-checking work. Smart contracts – transactions shifted into the digital space – will make life easier for both parties while cutting out the need for lawyers. One example is flight delay insurance – the moment a plane lands later than set out in the contract, a payment can be immediately made to the traveller, without any human intervention. But not all contacts can go ‘smart’. Find out which ones will still be done by lawyers in future in this article from Wierzbowski Eversheds Sutherland.

We mentioned Future Processing as a great Polish IT company with sights on large export markets (over 80% of the firm’s sales come from abroad). Another IT firm doing well is Order of Code,  which is selling smart coding to clients across Europe and North America. The BPCC’s Urszula Kwaśniewska visits the firm’s Rzeszów HQ.

The coming revolution requires new ways of management. If firms are to maintain the commitment of their workforces, they need to manage them in different ways. This article from Grant Thornton looks at the the challenges facing leaders who want to maintain effectiveness in an age of change.

The effect that technological innovation has on leadership in a time of rapid change is discussed in this article from ACCA, while the benefits that come from putting smart IT solutions to use in language training and assessment are considered in this article from the British Council.

There are many fascinating insights of value in this issue of Contact Magazine Online, it's worth reading all the articles for an all-round overview of the changes that await us!

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