Feb 22, 2021

Accenture: train employees to think like technologists

Paddy Smith
3 min
accenture tech trends 2021
Accenture’s Technology Trends Report 2021 advances digital twins, remote working and tech-minded employees for business success...

Accenture has released its Technology Trends Report 2021 , which advocates training employees to think like technologists for future business success.

It says that:

  • 77 per cent of executives state that their technology architecture is becoming very critical or critical to the overall success of their organization.
  • 87 per cent of executives agree digital twins are becoming essential to their organization’s ability to collaborate in strategic ecosystem partnerships.
  • 86 per cent of executives agree their organization must train its people to think like technologists—to use and customize technology solutions at the individual level, but without highly technical skills.
  • 87 per cent of executives believe the remote workforce opens up the market for difficult to find talent and expands the competition for talent among organizations.
  • 90 per cent of executives state that multiparty systems will enable their ecosystems to forge a more resilient and adaptable foundation to create new value with their organization’s partners.

The report breaks down five key areas where companies should focus their attention to exploit a new era of digital-first leadership.

Technology architecture

Business and technology strategies have become intertwined to the point of fusion. Cloud spending is up threefold and 70 per cent of companies already using cloud intend to increase spending. The report also identifies a “battle between technology stacks” as cloud, AI and edge vie for business investment, alongside broad decisions about technology architecture and an explosion in Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS).

Digital twins

Entire factories, product cycles, supply chains, ports and cities are being modelled using advances in digital twin complexity. The report says, “When built on comprehensive, compatible and trusted data, intelligent twins and mirrored environments will help enterprises optimise operations, detect and predict anomalies, pivot to prevent unplanned downtime, enable greater autonomy, and dynamically adjust their designs and strategies with every new piece of data they collect or new test that they run.”

Democratised technology

An array of technology is now available to laypeople, with the rise of natural language processing, low-code platforms and RPA, to name a few. The report notes, “Democratised technology lets people optimise their work or fix pain points on their own. Without having to request major IT projects, people can create a custom dashboard for a group’s finances, build an app to approve and automatically fulfill purchase orders and much more. Suddenly, the ability to create technology solutions belongs to people all across the enterprise.”

Working from home – or anywhere

Accenture envisions a BYOD 2.0 where technology platforms support a totally fluid working environment, employees thrive and companies succeed off the back of rethinking their workforce model. It says: “Think back to the early days of the “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement, when companies allowed employees to bring their own laptops or smartphones into the office. Employers had to implement new policies and tech solutions, enabling flexibility while mitigating the risk of devices that weren’t entirely within their control. But it also gave employees a chance for a better work experience and ultimately saved companies money. Now we’ve moved beyond BYOD and into BYOE: employees are bringing entire environments to work.”

Complex ecosystems

Multiparty systems (MPS) include blockchain, distributed ledger, distributed database and tokenization, among others. Accenture says: “Even as companies were making drastic cuts and scrambling to keep operating during the height of the pandemic, organisations across industries doubled down on exploration and investment in MPS. From contact tracing to frictionless payments, applications for technologies that were once considered too complicated, far from maturity or niche suddenly took centre stage.”

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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