Smartphone revolution has caused ‘data overload’, says technology innovator


Attendees of the annual Turing Lecture taking place at The University of Manchester tomorrow (Wednesday) will hear how smartphone technology has completely revolutionised the way we work and live.

In the lecture, entitled “The Internet of Me: It’s All About My Screens”, Robert Schukai from Thomson Reuters, will talk about the fact that data is now everywhere, and managing and processing so much information poses enormous challenges for consumers and service providers alike.

Overall mobile subscriptions are set to jump by 1.7 billion over the next five years to 9.1 billion. 4.1 billion people of these will sign up to 4G technology, and almost 70% of all mobile traffic data is projected to be video by 2021. People are constantly connected, meaning their work and personal lives are blending into one another.

“Today, many people kick off their day by reading emails in bed and getting a start on the day before their commute,” Mr Schukai will say. “Our devices let us remain in contact with family members and friends throughout the day, and when we go home at night, colleagues still reach out and contact many of us until bedtime.”

This shift in how we live and work presents major challenges in balancing the delivery of information and content to people without it becoming overwhelming.

“Companies of the future must be ready to deliver information and answers on any screen at any time, but they must also respect the boundaries demanded by the end user. This will compel companies to better understand their users, gain their trust and enable them to opt in to the ‘dayflow’ with relevance and usefulness.”
Robert Schukai

Cognitive computing, defined as the stimulation of human thought processes in a computerised model, is part of the future solution. “Machines must learn. Machines must think – artificial intelligence. Machines must interact with people – natural language processing - and they must interact with other machines,” Mr Schukai will reveal.

“Right now Google understands my browsing history on my desktop, knows my location and understands my interests - as such, it proactively pushes content to me. In the future, it will recognise and learn what I care about, understand what I can and can’t do on a device, and strike a balance between anticipate, push and pull of content.”

He will add that ‘making people smile’, by delivering personal, contextual and relevant information using whatever device they want to access that content upon, was something service providers especially needed to grasp.

Naomi Climer, President of lecture co-hosts The Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “We would like to thank Robert for making time to deliver this inspiring Turing Lecture. The content will highlight the reach of engineering and technology in everything we do. Engineering is fundamental to everyday life, and Robert’s focus on the remarkable adoption of the smartphone and its impact on how we live our lives at work and at home emphasises this point. Engineering is not just about nuts, bolts and girders - it is about life-changing innovation. These lectures can contribute to that shift in perception.”

Jos Creese, President of The Chartered Institute for IT, added: “We have supported the Turing Lecture for a number of years because of the opportunities it brings to raise public awareness of the application of specialist research to social issues. Robert’s lecture will be extremely thought-provoking, and will showcase the impact of information technology on our lives and how we need to keep the consumer at the forefront of all innovations.”

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