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Allan Behrens: Hi, my name is Allan Behrens from Taxal. And today what I wanted to do is just take a couple of minutes to talk about where we are today. I think I talked last year. For those of you who’ve watched this series before about some of the things I thought were happening, some of the important technology topics that are in a transient state and I think things have changed significantly since then.

I mean, I was looking at some notes from a presentation I made back in, dare I say it, 2007, you know, with topics such as globalisation and demographics and the environment, as key topics that people talk about when they talk about environmental or worldwide global drivers. And some of those have fundamentally changed, which is an interesting trait because when those global drivers change, they change what we can see, what we need to do and how we respond in terms of technologies. And in particular, I think although things like globalisation have changed, I mean with what’s happened over the past few months in Eastern Europe, as we all know.

This whole topic of globalisation is under scrutiny and that forces us to rethink the way we use technology to manage the processes and the digitalisation of the world we live in. I think the other thing that’s really quite an interesting trait was when we talk about globalisation, obviously supply chains are a part of that when we talk about technologies and that’s a thing that’s changed as well. So I’ll come back onto that in a few minutes. The one trait which I thought is still very interesting and under scrutiny and evolving dramatically is the sort of the environments, you know, and what we think of sustainability.

These are areas where I know there’s a lot of I.T. companies and a lot of customers still very interested. Obviously, the amount of money they provide to it versus other areas is changing, but they are still very high on the list. And I mean, bear in mind, the sort of environment that I talked about in 2007 is so different to what we have now. For those still to be at the top is very impressive.

Similarly, demographics was a topic I spoke about in the bad old days, as we call them. That really has moved now to not so much demographics, but the work modality, I think. I mean, the way I like to look at it is. It is not just the fact that you can’t find people for the sorts of jobs you need and the skills aren’t available. It’s also how you interact with them in the environment they work in. You know, some of those things have changed the way in the nature in which we can employ people, use people and the types of technologies they understand.

So let’s talk about the technologies now. You know, with these global drivers changing and the shifts in the sort of the tectonic world politics that we’re seeing at the moment, there are some major shifts and there are some shifts which are accelerating over the past, I would even say few months. If we talk about digitalisation.

Digitalisation to me is all about changing the way that we work, the way that we use technologies and the tools that are developed by the the ISP’s and major technology companies. Take this this sort of environment whereby the supply chain is shifting from, well, it’s global. We’re going to buy our parts from everywhere. We’ve got all these huge supply chains, design chains, multi-tier networks. That’s changing. It’s changing dramatically because, I mean, I’ve heard of automotive companies in Germany not being able to get parts for four years now. They put product programmes and car programmes on hold indefinitely, some of them. This is dramatic stuff over what’s happening in Eastern Europe in particular.

So the supply chain has to change. And then in turn, the software that we use and the design methods that we use to design our products have to change with it. These schisms in the way that, you know, we interact, we develop products, we produce them all. Having a, you know, basically reminded us that the world is not stable. We focussed our efforts in the past on making better and better software, better and better environments, you know, moving to, you know, little tweaks to do things better and quicker. And actually, we sort of forgot that we need to deal with chaos. Right? And that to me is a learning experience or an experiential environment where I think some of the companies that now develop these technologies, of course, are going to think of let’s not just try and improve stuff.

Let’s try and make it Bullet-Proof we do this when we talk about resiliency and in computing platforms, you know, disaster recovery, for example, in terms of cloud infrastructures, you know, we have cloud is just now a given and we have this resiliency built in to our environment. We just don’t seem to have done the same when it comes to, for instance, design and manufacture in the same way. Now, you may say, well, that’s because one could never predict. Well, the whole thing about disaster recovery is it isn’t about prediction of what may happen. It’s a prediction of what probably won’t happen. Right. And I think it’s a learning operation, an experience we need to take on board. And I think things need to change.

So digitalisation, we’ve got these, you know, the new word, metaverse, these environments where we’re trying to we’re now so digital. How do we integrate these digital environments together? This is having a dramatic change, I think, and will have a dramatic change on the usability in particular of technologies and also in the in the sort of open world, the world that we can integrate together these technologies to do something much more useful than just having discrete bits of tech that people use.

This whole sort of experience that we face in the future, I think is going to better be better because of this, the world of the metaverse. It’s a bit of a marketing ploy, I think, as well. I mean, the brand name for it isn’t the brand name. it’s an environment. It’s a methodology, I suppose. But the metaverse is really to me, it’s about creating a more open environment where people can integrate stuff together to create something that has got a much better experience and is much more valuable for users and for customers.

So that’s one thing. Supply chain, again, I see. You know, how do we deal with this problem that we’ve got with the supply chains? It’s not just the physical containers and where are they? And, you know, who are we going to use? It’s creating a degree of resiliency into the network. And part of this, I think, goes to when we’re talking about manufacturing. People talk about additive, you know, made additive has its place. But I think it’s going to the people are going to look at stuff and they’re going to say, how can we design this for a bit more resiliency on our production side? So do we need something that’s the best or can we do 80% but have it much more reliable in terms of our ability to produce or mass produce? So I think we’re going to see some interesting changes there.

And let’s talk about complexity. So, I mean, one of the things that somebody mentioned to me the other day, which I think is very true, is. You know, before I if I was one of these people that was talking about reducing complexity, when you talk about the products we have. Well, I’ve changed my mind, actually. It’s not so much about reducing complexity. It’s about managing it. And when we talk about the products we use and the methods we use to develop them and produce them, it really is about figuring out how we can deal with this complexity to actually make it much more practical.

Part of that, for instance, in the design of products is about using some degree of escalation of, of reducing the complexity of code, for instance, you know, low code, no code. How can we take what was a complex, very laborious process and bite-size it into things that we can actually do in short spurts of the agile environment? You know, how can we reuse information? So it’s all about managing it better and the tools we’re getting help us use synthesis, for example, within electronics to increase the abstraction level that we deal with these types of development environments and products because they are so complex, talking about billions of gates, of silicon gates within a chip, there’s no way you can do that on paper.

Humans can’t comprehend the complexity. We need computers to do this. And this is in fact where A.I. comes in. And listening to Nvidia last week in their annual conference, you know, it brings it home to you. The importance of things like machine learning and automation in trying to reduce the complexity of what we have to deal with in terms of the technologies we deal with. And I think they’re very important, but they’re not the be-all, end-all, because going back to my comment earlier about disruption and the like, we need to not only deal with the known, but we don’t want to be as wrong as other people who as wrong as we are. Right.

So we want to be able to deal with the unknown. And that’s the interesting one. How can we deal with the unknown? Does AI really allow us to deal with the unknown? It’s an interesting question. It allows us to cater for more variants. It allows us to test different things. But we still need something that allows us to do things that we would not have thought of before. And in fact, you know, I was reading about Dyson the other day. That’s something that made him famous. You know, what he did was very innovative, but actually, it was intensive. It was less innovative than inventive. I know he had a lot of innovation, a lot of cycles and developing his products, but actually, they were they were things that were very leftfield. And we need technologies and environments to help us do that. And I think, to be fair, the metaverse is one of the things that will allow us to do that. So just a couple of musings from me for the spring session these shows. I hope that was interesting, actually, more later on this year.