Savantic Sightings

Digitalisation is more than just an app

Consumers, employees and vendors have all been spoiled with having access to new digital services. The result is digitalisation hype. It should all be easy, simple and smooth-working and everyone seems to think it’s all about mobile applications. I’m sorry to have to burst the bubble; it takes more than that to make Sweden a world-leader in digitalisation than believing that some app developers will do the job. We need to take more powerful steps and learn about new enabling technologies that are currently not even taught at Swedish universities. Hello Sweden, show us how it should be done; be the greatest, then!

You can’t just put together a simple app and throw in some basic technologies to help us achieve automation. Let me explain. Today, 30 years of explosive innovation rate has brought us many new technologies. Let us call them basic technologies, because alone, none of them are powerful enough to revolutionise digitalisation. Instances of basic technologies are LEDs, laser, nano technology, IR, Bluetooth, RFID, GPS, LTE, sensors and 3D printers.

Many of these technologies are made accessible by an application layer on social networks, visual applications and mobile applications. This is nothing new, except for the fact that today we have new platforms, like tablets and smartphones, to use as displays. A large number of services are based on database storage and data visualization. In order to really make a difference, enabling technologies are needed, helping us to interpret data so that we can understand connections and make informed decisions. Those technologies already exist and they will make the real digitalisation possible. Some enabling technologies are Deep Learning, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Data Fusion, Tracking, SLAM and Big Data, analysis of huge amounts of data. Without these technologies there will be no real digitalisation.

If Sweden is to be able to benefit from digitalisation as the new technological revolution, it is troubling to realise that our universities and college universities have partly or completely left out these technologies from their curricula. I’m sorry to have to say this, but we don’t need more app developers. What we need is a deep understanding of viral networks, of classification models and of data analysis. Not until then will Sweden be world leader. The rest of the world will be far ahead of us if our politicians go on believing that the future is all about apps in the digitalisation hype.

Ref: – ”framsteg inom digitalisering och dess inverkan på resandets utveckling” – Number of courses in Machine Learning and image analysis in Sweden (no basic course).

Published: 16/11/2016