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Trend spotting at London Tech Week

Tradeshows are part and parcel of business life. We all know the drill: a big hall filled with exhibits, back to back meetings and more freebies than you can fit in carry-on luggage.

In June, however, London Tech Week saw some of the world’s biggest brands come to an event that the organisers are hoping will become one of Europe’s biggest technology entrepreneurs’ expos. Spread out across London and covering a huge range of sectors it’s always an interesting one to watch – not least for the macro tech trends that are addressed.

Two key trends coming out of this year’s event were around AI and machine learning, and the Internet of Things. Without doubt AI and machine learning have the potential to change the way that we live and work today, and paired with connectivity it can be truly revolutionary.

Exploring how to use these technologies in business is of great importance. Connectivity can improve communications and speed the flow of information around the business – a crucial part of efficient operations. AI is where devices can become transformative in the drive for improving the digital workplace, however.

I’m not alone in thinking this. Research commissioned by Ricoh Europe found that 91% of employees expect digital disruption, economic uncertainty and political turbulence to change how they work in the near future. But 95% also believe this period of change will benefit their business, showing a wider positive outlook in adopting new technologies. Furthermore, 60% of employees across Europe see AI as a positive opportunity for the business they work for.

It’s clear that European workers are ready and willing to embrace the changes and possibilities that these macro trends offer. The next step is for technology companies to translate these often complex items into a useful reality.

Take the work we’ll be doing with IBM. Earlier this year we announced plans to launch our cognitive whiteboard with IBM Watson, designed to make all the admin tasks associated with meetings easier. Managing agendas, visualising ideas and communicating across boundaries can all be made simpler through AI technology and connectivity – freeing employees up to get more out of the meetings they attend. As someone with a packed schedule, I definitely realise the value of this.

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