Perspectives

Digital DNA 2017. This is what we do.

Digital DNA reconvened in Belfast's historic St. George's market on June 6th-7th this year, and brought together over 125 speakers from some of the world’s biggest tech companies to inspire over 2000 local and international delegates at Ireland’s leading business and technology event. Once again, we were back in the heart of Digital DNA to show others what we ‘Do’ - with keynote presentations, panel discussions and live demonstrations of some of the cool tech we play with.

How we ‘Do'?

We demonstrated some of the work we have been doing with emerging technologies in the form of an interactive Foosball table, a blockchain-powered Scalextric track and a live ‘Developer Zoo'. We were also very proud to have been involved in helping to organise the Digital DNA Tech For Good hackathon.

On appearance, the Foosball table looks like a simple, well branded pub game, but in fact it was incredibly interactive both inside and out. Inside, a Raspberry Pi and IR sensors combined to record the goals scored by each player, and on the outside the players were represented on a well-polished scoreboard screen. An app to register players for each game was also developed and this added to a wonderful user experience, where each player had their team name, score, avatar and 'verified by SmartID' badge presented on the screen.

Just opposite the Foosball table, the Smart Identity team from Deloitte Digital Belfast offered an interesting perspective on identity management on the blockchain. By using a Scalextric track, and the trusty Raspberry Pi and IR sensor combo, the team represented a series of transactions being sent from the cars completing laps on the track to the screen positioned above. While racing miniature vehicles around a toy track was as fun as a Christmas morning, the POC allowed the racers to understand key basics around blockchain technology, Ethereum smart contracts and the Smart Identity platform built by Deloitte Digital.

Other concepts on display included an iBeacon exhibit, demonstrating the connectivity between a table lamp and a pair of shoes. Overhead heat sensors captured the movement and flow of people in and out of the area. Visitor feedback was gathered in the sitting area, where an iPad was the sole tool required to collect the data.

Collaboration is the corner-stone in using Agile techniques to get work done, and this was the basis for the ‘Developer Zoo’. The live 'Dev Zoo' was a centre for idea generation and invention. While the event progressed, so did the Deloitte Digital exhibition area, as ideas were put into action and developed on the fly. Not only did this show how we actually do things, it also demonstrated the connectivity between the people and the technology.

Besides our talented people providing demonstrations, some of our firm's leaders delivered keynotes on a number of interesting and thought-provoking topics. Speakers representing Deloitte Digital at the event included partners from not only Belfast, but Dublin and London also.

Our very own Mike Robinson, partner and CTO at Deloitte Digital UK, gave his insights and predictions for the upcoming disruption of digital banking, especially the threats and opportunities that come with the ‘Open Banking’ revolution, and how banks and consumers can prepare themselves for open data.

Lory Kehoe, Deloitte’s EMEA blockchain lab lead, provided a deep dive into one of the use cases of blockchain technology, KYC (Know Your Customer), and how it can be used to save money for businesses and improve customer satisfaction. He offered an interesting perspective on how we can define problems that blockchain technology can solve, including examples where FinTech and RegTech could be disrupted.

The focus of Paul Lee’s discussion was centered around the ‘human touch’ and how technology is deemed to be taking over in aspects of everyday life. He offered an interesting view into the success and lack of success for recent developments such as VR headsets and Google Glass. Paul, a technology partner with Deloitte, argued that while technology is always improving, it must fit with human needs in order to be a success. He also talked about events such as Digital DNA becoming even more popular because of the human requirement to socialise despite the onset of social media online.

Jacky Fox, Director of Cyber Risk at Deloitte, provided an explanation of how cryptography works, and the importance it has in today's modern digital age for maintaining secrecy, authenticity and integrity. She also discussed how cryptography could be applied to different services, such as digital financial services.

Ed Greig, part of our innovation team, live streamed to the event from a virtual version of our studio in London, and gave his perspective on current and future tech trends. He also shared some stories of digital disruption he has been a part of, including practical applications for 3D printing with bespoke prosthetics.

Why we 'Do'?

We want to promote the state of technology locally, nationally and internationally. As pointed out by Mike Robinson, technology is disrupting and changing the things we do and ways we do them, irrespective of how ready we are to accept such an upheaval. What matters most is, as drivers and enablers of the change, we do it right. By examining the examples described by Paul Lee, or solutions to problems proposed by Lory Kehoe and Jacky Fox, we can learn and gain from events such as Digital DNA in order to validate future developments.

The most important element, as identified by Paul Lee, is the human factor. When people meet, they connect, engage and collaborate. When this happens, we make progress. What we create will replicate this phenomenon in technology; we model real life objects and components and (hopefully!) work in harmony. We aim to be at the centre of connectivity, collaboration and relationships. From Belfast and beyond, Digital DNA proves how so many businesses and organisations have a vision for a better future which is enabled by technology.

Deloitte Digital supports Digital DNA in bringing these talented people together in the hope that this will inspire and challenge one another, transform how people work, and ultimately be a catalyst to creating that better future.

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