SXSW: the extensive guide to the digital future – ignored by shipping…

Do you know how data science can help avoid the next recession? Or that by 2020 Samsung vows to connect everything they make to the internet? By then its estimated that more than 35 billion(!) devices will be connected! Following my first days in Austin for leading tech festival SXSW, I will take you through some thought-provoking questions and highlights worth reflecting upon.   

Cities are already looking into smart roads, and British authorities state that they’ll aim to take a leading role preparing for autonomous care to hit the highways by 2018. How will the new smart, connected and shareable cities help resolve their port & logistics problems? How will real-time data help us move people & cargo more efficiently? And how will transportation and logistics – hereunder shipping – be disrupted during this process? Could we finally get more cargo on keel? We heard about how we can disrupt an over-regulated industry, and how can big data enable us to predict (and perhaps avoid…?) wars. Pretty relevant for shipping, right?  

When will we look towards disruptors as the digital car repair market place Engie, for inspiration on how the yards and equipment & repair players will be transformed through the full-range solution where malfunction diagnosis and real time bids from mechanics are made available to the customer through an app?

How will bitcoin’s big brother blockchain  or financial cloud services such as Uphold enable the banks to renew themselves or force them to change? And exactly how will the race among neuro science to connect machines and the human brain affect the role split between an analyst’s or broker’s brain and their hyper intelligent processor or other tools a few years from now? Who will win the race of turning big fat data into dollars in shipping?

Who will manage to serve as a connector between The Internet of all Things? Google or Huawei – or someone completely new? Could the entrepreneurs behind The Things Network (an internet network for all things that’s not requiring a 3G or WiFi connection to work) succeed in their crowdfunding campaign to release their fresh new solution in a global market? Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, Boston, Buenos Aires, Kochi and Sydney are already onboard(!) And how could this platform be utilized by our very under-connected fleet if commercial ships?  

How can we look around to see how others succeed; what would demand forecasting for a CMO in media mean to a Chief Data Officer in banking?  

What tech related stories from China will be big in the next years’ time? Looking into WeChat, we see that the owners prioritize launch in South Africa over regional releases in North East Asia, delivering a social portal that even acts as your bank, insurance company, platform for all kind of purchases++

  Spending an ovale weekend in Austin, these are a few of the questions on my mind. Its quite fascinating, or rather alarming perhaps, to discover that our industry is (almost) nowhere to be found among the 80.000 official participants! Considering that digitisation, IoT and big data has been on the industry’s lips for a long time, considered to have enormous potential gamechanger effects, and furthermore – that the SXSW Interactive is the No.1 place to be for insights on the latest, most disruptive and thought-provoking innovations and new movers & shakers of the tech industries, and given the fantastic line-up of speakers, I can’t help wondering… Where is our industry in this? We should be on the agenda, on the panels (as some industry players are already well on their way), but most critical – joining as delegates to explore the digital world of opportunities. 
How will you get the insight needed to position your company, without stepping out of the shipping bubble to explore the tech industry that now merges with all other industries? IT and data systems used to be about business support. Now they are so much more, they ARE a cruicial part of the new commercial business; a new range of products and services that requires a whole new set of competences to stay ahead and strengthen your company’s competitive position. And how will you aim to attract those holding this competence – the gamers, the hackers, the tech-bunch?

A while ago I gave a presentation about the urgent need for our industry to put on a disruptive mindset, and to join forces with entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to create an optimal fundament for tackling this shift. A number of people were enthusiastic, some looked slightly scared, some claimed we are already ahead, but one person wrapped up what I consider to be a quite typical approach;

“This is really exciting, but you know for us its really not that relevant. We’re producing bolts and bits. There’s actually no chance for us to become digital”

And this quote sums up what I consider to be a bit of a challenge for parts of our industry so. Many of us are in some ways firmly cemented in our established truths and practice. We simply don’t realize that what’s true today might not be tomorrow. I wanted to ask, but didn’t – so instead I’ll share my questions with you; well – how could digital real-time data and a different business model create more value & efficiency for your clients? And as houses are currently being 3D printer in China for less than 30K USD – how could you provide your products with the same opportunities? How can you already now analyze and identify new business opportunities in your field? What kind of strategic partnerships and alliances could this development call for?

SXSW Interactive presents global disruptors and top experts in their fields, across industries and countries. Even President Obama prioritized this event.

 Shipping needs to take its space on the playing field!

PS; Take a look at the way U.S. National Intelligence Council include the next generation and tech-crowd to share input towards their new Global Trends report. Go public or go home 😋    

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