#EmTechMonthly: 5G, new retail experiences and a new applied science

  • Posted on July 29, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
5G technology

Welcome to our monthly curation of emerging technology news tidbits and trends that help inform the research we do for our Avanade Trendlines program. Let’s discuss any thoughts you have in the comments

Technology: Waiting for my 5G
5G continues to be talked about as some sort of Holy Grail that will provide the high bandwidth, always-on connectivity for the next generation of mobility. However, “industries are still very much at the infant stage of connecting more things; they have had a relatively short observation window into the limitations of existing mobile systems and, in turn, critical requirements to be addressed by a newer generation.” Here’s a great 5G primer.

Why should you care? At Avanade, we continue to experiment with 5G and believe in its potential. We still have clients, though, that are working through the last wave of technology: social, mobile, analytics and cloud. This tech has mostly been approached and maximized in silos. You can build a social strategy without the other tech, and you could say the same for the rest. As we look to 5G and the new wave of technology like AI, distributed ledgers and quantum, these can’t be addressed in a vacuum. They rely on and are dependent on the previous wave of technologies plus each other, and organizations need to learn that the future is in combinations. That message came through loud and clear in our recent research on emerging technologies.

Would you pay for tickets to shop?
We’ve been seeing physical store locations continue to evolve and become experience centers. Two new stores in New York are taking that idea to a whole new level. Would you pay for tickets to come shop? Thousands are lining up and paying to do so at Camp (here’s how one mom described the experience) and Winky Lux. Glossier opened a pop-up store in Seattle for the last month and people waited in long lines around the block to check out the shopping experience.

Why should you care? Fashion retail is always on the cutting edge of changes that later ripple through other industries. I love experience stores and it’s fun to see how brands are experimenting. A permanent physical location acting as a single store that does it all is not the future. This is about lots of different stores to meet the needs of consumers and serve a market. Some are Instagram ready. Some will be small places in your neighborhood to drop off returns. Crate and Barrel, a U.S. furniture store, is about to open its own restaurant for a new type of retail theater where the entire ambiance is using items from Crate and Barrel. It’s amazing how fast test and learn (which started with coding) has moved into physical spaces.

Profile: Genevieve Bell on digital ethics and a new applied science
Genevieve Bell, vice president and senior fellow at Intel Corporation and academy fellow and distinguished professor from the Australian National University, is working on a new applied science around the management of artificial intelligence, data, technology and their impact on humanity. Bell says we are at the “precipice of the next wave of technology and we need the new applied science that will enable us to shape and manage this technology in the way that we want. This Internet of things super-charged by artificial intelligence … a computer that doesn’t have prewritten rules, a computer that is somehow moving without reference to traditional software … how do we think about building them, scaling them and doing it securely?”

Why should you care? Bell’s work is critical because she’s right, the new combinations of our classical sciences will require a new approach. When we have AI or automation conversations with our clients, we’re talking about how to take action on digital ethics. We’re seeing the effects today of focusing just on technology and not on the broader impacts. Bell says it best: “AI at the moment is a form of magical thinking – we imagine it’s going to fix everything … But if humans can’t fix it, the machines that we build won’t get it done either.”

What happened to women programmers?
Computer programming once had much better gender balance than it does today despite the fact that we continue to focus on bringing more women in to STEM. “If we want to pinpoint a moment when women began to be forced out of programming, we can look at one year: 1984. A decade earlier, a study revealed that the numbers of men and women who expressed an interest in coding as a career were equal. Men were more likely to enroll in computer-science programs, but women’s participation rose steadily and rapidly through the late ’70s until, by the 1983-84 academic year, 37.1 percent of all students graduating with degrees in computer and information sciences were women. In only one decade, their participation rate more than doubled. But then things went into reverse.” The New York Times digs into what happened. Fascinating.

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