Real World Futures

A tech question that stops a room

Date: 09 November 2017

Stephen Scheeler has one question he notices stops the boards he advises dead in their tracks. It’s this: “How many people do you have working on voice-activated AI for customer service?”

The former Facebook Australia managing director popped the question at the Real World Futures conference at QUT in October, prompting a visible reaction.  Half the audience picked up their pens and started writing – a prompt to either ask the question or prepare to answer it.

Scheeler, who presented on the topic Mobile is Eating The World, zeroed in on the technologies that will be delivered through mobile that gets better and faster.  And, importantly, on the overwhelming consumer need – great customer service.  His presentation came as Apple released its new iPhone with enhanced AI and voice activation and Google ramped up its promotion of Google Home through Australia’s major daily newspapers.

Scheeler was one of the most popular speakers in the conference Disruptive Influences – And What To Do With Them on October 17.  Along with the Suncorp CEO of Customer Marketplace, Pip Marlow, he set the tone for how disruption was reshaping modern workplaces and consumer habits.

Other highlights of his presentation included:

  • The coming rise of virtual and augmented reality and the Internet of Things which will soon be embedded in the fabric of our lives;
  • The coming decline of typing as voice keeps getting better and better. Since 2012, the voice error rate has dropped from 26% to 4%;
  • The decline of mass brands and the rise of fast brands built for “mass niches” unbound by geography.

Scheeler explained that businesses that would thrive in the future would have only competitive advantage – excellence in data, technology and innovation.  Ms Marlow focussed on the steps to building innovation systems, particularly the need to crate learning cultures in businesses.

The Real World Futures conference in QUT’s roomthreesixty attracted more than 200 attendees. As well as Ms Marlow and Mr Scheeler, the speaker line up included Dr Phuong Pham of Telstra Health, Mr Nick Vanzetti of ESL (an eSports business), QUT’s Professor Suzi Derbyshire and Professor Peter Corke and the editor at large of The Australian, Mr Paul Kelly.

The speakers’ presentation slides and videos are available now. Watch here.

David Fagan

Director Corporate Transition

Content sourced from QUT News Web Service.

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