Our blog

21/04/2017 - 08:34

“It is the start of something big. We’re only in the foothills just now.”

In October last year, representatives from some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Microsoft and IBM, met at the University of Strathclyde, under the auspices of the third annual CENSIS summit. CENSIS, the Innovation for Sensor and Imaging Systems, was launched in April 2013, which a view to bridging the gap between “cutting-edge innovation and industrial uptake north of the border”, and improving awareness of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’.

“I think society needs to waken up to the tremendous force for good that the Internet of Things represents,” said CENSIS chairman Bob Downes, “but I worry there is too much fear about it”. This concern is certainly justifiable, given that a recent survey by PwC found “a majority of consumers” currently lack an interest in IoT, or are “unaware of its benefits”, and given that suppliers have “a short timeframe in which to win the hearts and minds of consumers and turn smart [IoT] technology into a sustainable revenue stream”, as the PwC study concluded, it is imperative that recognition of IoT improves among consumers and companies alike.

So what is the IoT and why does it matter?

According to Matthew Evans, IoT Programme Director at techUK, “the Internet of Things is made up of devices - from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables - connected together”. In practical terms, this means that an increasing number of “dumb items” - be it toasters, washing machines, or dog collars - are being connected to the web and “talking” to one another. By connecting these, once-humble, devices to automated systems, it is possible to “gather information, analyse it, and create in action” (Wired, 2017), ostensibly providing users with an improved experience, relevant information, or heightened efficiency.

The sprawl of the IoT hasn’t been without its detractors and one of the most common complaints is simply “just because something can be connected to the internet, that doesn’t mean it should be”. However, its proponents are quick to point to the innumerable benefits - economic and individual - which the rapid expansion of IoT could deliver. In industrial settings, for example, the further use of sensor technology is likely to have a very positive impact both economically and ecologically - reducing waste and increasing output. Similarly, from a safety perspective, there are huge advantages, such as those demonstrated by Concrete Sensors - an American company which has created a device which is inserted into concrete to provide ongoing information regarding the material’s condition.

With regards to the consumer, the most visible and immediate benefit of the IoT is convenience, as exemplified by Amazon’s much-discussed “Dash” instant-order buttons. Over the coming decade, a growing number of households will have access to automatically self-replacing “smart” toilet paper and, while anyone who has read Asimov will be forgiven for shivering slightly at this mundanely dystopian thought, the majority of shoppers will gladly welcome the ease.

Despite the various criticisms which have been levelled against the IoT, its expansion seems inevitable, with one estimate (Datafloq) claiming that it will comprise of nearly 40 billion connected devices in the not-too-distant future. Equally, the economic possibilities associated with the Internet of Things are undeniable, as evidenced by a recent Gartner study which predicted that the aggregated value of the IoT will exceed $1.9 trillion in 2020 alone. Indeed, as analysts at McKinsey & Company argued in both 2010 and 2012, the only limiting factor to growth in this area will be the lack of “appropriately skilled staff”.


Communication, Internet, Internet Of Things, Connection

07/04/2017 - 10:58

A recent report highlights that the technology sector is by far, taking the lead in the economy today. Edinburgh is continuing to see many tech companies follow in the footsteps of their very successful counterparts, Skyscanner and Fanduel.

“There’s no doubt Edinburgh has helped to put Scotland’s technology sector on the world map and the city can act as a getaway to the rest of Scotland given how well-connected the industry is here” according to Polly Purvis, chief executive of ScotlandIS.

Scotland are still very focused on achieving their digital strategy to become a world-class digital nation by 2020. This is definitely within sights but unsurprisingly will incur some challenges along the way.

Read more about Scotland’s digital strategy and the top companies to keep an eye on in 2017:]

A special mention to the five companies in particular who are outstanding: snap40, Sensewhere, sTraveltek, PureLiFi and Swipii.


05/04/2017 - 14:13

"The digital transformation of organisations and intense competition in businesses are forcing companies to embrace big data and analytics technologies,"

Managing Director of Teradata Thailand, predicts that data science is set to boom in Thailand in the very near future and in particular it will be the growing sectors of energy, retail, utility and transport that will reap the benefits.

Teradata worryingly admit there is a real lack of data scientists in Thailand with the shortage being as low as 300-400 data scientists. They have started plans to target this and more resources are being implemented to support the development of their digital-driven economy. The company has started to build links with leading universities to encourage more opportunities to study data science. The hope is that in time this will target the shortage and accommodate the new generation of technology in Thailand.

To read more about Thailand’s plans to embrace big data, please follow the link below:

04/04/2017 - 14:20

After a slight delay we have our new site up and running. After two hugely successful events we were keen to have somewhere for people to find us; learn about the next event; re-cap previous events and essentially be a one-stop shop for all things Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning across the North West.

Our next event is confirmed for the 11th of May with Auto Trader kindly hosting in their amazing office in Manchester City Centre. Due to a restriction in the amount of people we can have in this space, we fully expect this to be another sell out, so please move quickly to avoid disappointment.

If you want to be involved in the next event, we do have one speaker slot available or if you are interested in hosting us at all we are always looking for suitable spaces in Manchester/North West. Feel free to contact us and one of the MancML team will get back to you.

As always, this event and website wouldn’t have been possible without the input of the team who are the main drivers behind everything related to MancML.

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