3 December 2019

EG Tech Live Event – notes from the keynote

The final EG Tech Live event of 2019 delivered a really interesting keynote speech from Ed Parsons, geospatial technologist at Google. Whilst Ed was at pains to point out that the views he was offering were his own and not those of his employer (and we all metaphorically clicked the Ts & Cs accept button!), he provided some fascinating insight into the direction of tech travel. Some of the key themes explored were as follows:

  • The most profound technology weaves itself into the fabric of your life. Examples of this might be paying for your tube fare by tapping in and out with your phone or using an app to locate bikes or electric scooters for hire around a city.
  • AI in buildings can be transformative in terms of human-machine interaction. Machine learning will allow systems to build up a profile of, for example, how you like to heat and light your home or office over time, removing the need to programme it with your requirements, because it will already “know” and be able to anticipate your needs.
  • Security and privacy remain concerns. We are still working through what a more surveillant society means. Generally, if there is transparency about the data being collected and you can demonstrate why it is needed, people are less concerned, particularly if it leads to a perceived personal benefit. Ed gave the example of the Sydney bus system where vehicle arrivals and passenger numbers can be tracked in real time so you know exactly where the next bus is and the likelihood of getting a seat, making it all appear more efficient, even if in reality it isn't!
  • Tech can bring real advantage. From people living remotely receiving medical prescriptions by drone delivery from their pharmacist to reducing travelling time and fuel consumption by users contributing their data back to Googlemaps, tech can have a positive impact on people’s lives and the environment around us. Embracing drone deliveries could be transformative to the number of delivery vehicles on the road and the resulting carbon footprint.

Miri Stickland is a Knowledge Development Lawyer in our Commercial Real Estate team.

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