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Are you ready for the next evolution of devices, connectivity options and solutions?

At our Blue Door Expo in October 2020, we brought together leaders from Microsoft, Cisco, Samsung and Nokia to debate how the ways we connect with other people, devices, places and things are evolving.

The panel spoke about current trends, as well as what is driving the next level of innovation for the work force of tomorrow. They considered the impact that 5G technology will have on industry, and discussed which industries are expected to derive the most benefit.

We discussed what the panel had to say, and explored some of the questions raised, in episode 8 of Blue Door Podcast, which you can listen and subscribe to here.

Listen to the Blue Door Podcast, episode 8: ‘Right tools, right person, right place’.

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Zoe Hominick, O2’s Head of Business Marketing and CEX, facilitated the discussion group and she asked each panel member to think of one technology that as a child they never thought would become a reality, but which is now on the brink of being delivered.

Here’s how the panel responded:

Rob Price, CTO at Cisco

For Rob, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the technology that he remembered being talked about as a child, but that he never thought would have evolved and progressed so rapidly.

“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to be massively life-changing for everyone on the planet.”

He talked about the term the art of the technological singularity, which is a theory that argues at some point, artificial intelligence will exceed the collective intelligence of every human on the planet – which in turn will trigger runaway growth and vast technological advances.


Nick Hedderman, Director of Modern Work and Security Business Group at Microsoft

Nick has a passion for flying, and learned to fly at the age of just 16. Much as he wanted to nominate flying cars, he accepted that there was still some way to go before these would be a common sight in our showrooms.

As a child, however, he first learned about flying on a very early version of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, which he installed on his Dad’s PC. Back then, it offered a very basic and limited experience. But Nick has recently been playing around with the latest version that Microsoft released this year, and for him it is mind-blowing how far the artificial intelligence (AI) technology has progressed.

Built on the Microsoft Azure platform, it is now so powerful and realistic that you can fly over your own home, in high definition.


Joe Walsh, Director of B2B at Samsung

Like Nick, Joe was also excited at the prospect of futuristic transportation as a child, inspired by growing up with films like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Back to the Future’.

While he accepts that inter-galaxy transport might not be an option for a while, Joe nevertheless thinks that automated transport – starting with autonomous vehicles – is much closer to reality than he might have though possible all those years ago. AI has truly come a long way.

“Being able to summon a vehicle to take you somewhere, at any time, is a game changer. If we can make this a reality then I believe we can take on some genuine human challenges like climate change, or social and economic diversity.”

For Joe, it’s not about any single technology – it will take advanced AI capability (Lidar technology), stunning camera technology, which can be employed in a range of vehicles, whether it’s a drone or an autonomous car on our roads.

The benefits are far-reaching, as well as potentially more affordable and safer than existing transport, it could reduce our dependency on oil and enable elements of society like the elderly the vulnerable to live richer and more diverse lives. For all of these reasons, Joe was happy to make a bold prediction that automated vehicles would be the preferred mode of transport within seven to 10 years.


Marcus Wheldon, President of Bell Labs and CTO Nokia

As a child, Marcus was a ‘Star Trek’ fan, and probably looked on the Holodeck – the stage where you could engage with an infinite variety of virtual reality environments – as something from the 22nd century.

We are, however, very close to delivering it, according to Marcus. In fact, the extraordinary circumstances that have led so many of us to work remotely, might even have accelerated the development of the technology. We need to be able to offer an effective experience for our new, hybrid way of working, where some of us are based in the office. while others work from home. The Holodeck will enable us to meet and collaborate effectively, in a surprisingly meaningful way, using a suite of devices, internet accessibility and projection screens.

“It’s an experiential thing where you feel like you’re interacting with the other objects, humans and machines. We may all be remote, but we will feel like we are there, sharing a collective experience, that feels real and makes us feel validated and connected.”

Marcus confidently predicts that by 2030, we will all be happily, physically and physiologically immersed with each other through digital connectivity in some communal environment on demand.

Watch this space.


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