Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Tomorrow's World

I just had an interesting morning speaking about mobile technology at the Service Management Expo at the NEC in Birmingham. Not only was it great to connect with a bunch of business people about how to use widely available technology to improve their business, but I also got to hear Maggie Philbin speak.

For those too young to remember, Maggie was a presenter on Tomorrow's World, a science and technology show that I watched avidly as a child in the 80s, and was one of the inspirations for me ending up studying Physics at uni and then working with computers.

It was great to hear not only her stories about showcasing the latest innovations to the country, but also her current work to get teenagers more interested in science and technology, by introducing them to technicians and engineers. The goal is that rather than thinking that X-Factor is their ticket to success, more kids will start to want to know more about the high definition TVs they're watching it on.

This struck a chord with me. We're in the midst of some of the most exciting changes in technology in generations, with impacts on society that we haven't yet figured out. In the UK, we've become too dependent on industries like finance and property, which is why we're in the mess we're in. Unless we can encourage the high-tech industries of the future, in 30 years time we'll be a world backwater harking back to the old days of Empire.

Not only are these changes in technology an opportunity for our teenagers, if only they can be inspired to realise it, but it's also a great opportunity for the nation's small and medium businesses. When I started in the industry in 1998, the software you could get to run a small business was clunky and limited at best. If you wanted powerful software, you needed to be a large corporation with a six figure budget.

This is no longer the case. With a huge range of 'Cloud' software starting at tens of pounds a month, scalable as a business grows, top notch software is within the reach of everyone. As this article describes, the largest proportion of the growth in this area is expected to come from the small business end of the market, and it's my view that SMEs can get a distinct advantage from this if implemented properly. That's to say, by understanding the people, process and information flow issues before committing to anything.

So what does tomorrow's world look like then? More connected and more efficient as far as businesses are concerned, as long as they get it right.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Service Management Exhibition

On Tuesday, I'm speaking at the Service Management Exhibition at Birmingham's NEC, which for those who don't know it is populated by those trying to sell stuff, especially technology, to the field service industry. I'm doing a talk entitled "effective field service technology at a reasonable cost". I'll be looking at how to make the most of the mobile devices that field operatives already have rather than investing in expensive new kit.
Apart from the rather cool fact that I'm following one of my childhood heroes on the podium (Maggie Philbin, more so for Tomorrow's World than Swap Shop), I'm really looking forward to the chance to connect with business owners about the exciting opportunities new technology has to offer.
So come down if you can, entry is free if you pre-register at www.servicemanagement.co.uk