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Is Thomas Frey right? “…by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet.”

From a fairly recent e-newsletter from edsurge.com — though I don’t recall the exact date (emphasis DSC):

New England is home to some of the most famous universities in the world. But the region has also become ground zero for the demographic shifts that promise to disrupt higher education.

This week saw two developments that fit the narrative. On Monday, Southern Vermont College announced that it would shut its doors, becoming the latest small rural private college to do so. Later that same day, the University of Massachusetts said it would start a new online college aimed at a national audience, noting that it expects campus enrollments to erode as the number of traditional college-age students declines in the coming years.

“Make no mistake—this is an existential threat to entire sectors of higher education,” said UMass president Marty Meehan in announcing the online effort.

The approach seems to parallel the U.S. retail sector, where, as a New York Times piece outlines this week, stores like Target and WalMart have thrived by building online strategies aimed at competing with Amazon, while stores like Gap and Payless, which did little to move online, are closing stores. Of course, college is not like any other product or service, and plenty of campuses are touting the richness of the experience that students get by actually coming to a campus. And it’s not clear how many colleges can grow online to a scale that makes their investments pay off.

 

“It’s predicted that over the next several years, four to five major national players with strong regional footholds will be established. We intend to be one of them.”

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan

 

 

From DSC:
That last quote from UMass President Marty Meehan made me reflect upon the idea of having one or more enormous entities that will provide “higher education” in the future. I wonder if things will turn out to be that we’ll have more lifelong learning providers and platforms in the future — with the idea of a 60-year curriculum being an interesting idea that may come into fruition.

Long have I predicted that such an enormous entity would come to pass. Back in 2008, I named it the Forthcoming Walmart of Education. But then as the years went by, I got bumbed out on some things that Walmart was doing, and re-branded it the Forthcoming Amazon.com of Higher Education. We’ll see how long that updated title lasts — but you get the point. In fact, the point aligns very nicely with what futurist Thomas Frey has been predicting for years as well:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider. (source)

I realize that education doesn’t always scale well…but I’m thinking that how people learn in the future may be different than how we did things in the past…communities of practice comes to mind…as does new forms of credentialing…as does cloud-based learner profiles…as does the need for highly efficient, cost-effective, and constant opportunities/means to reinvent oneself.

Also see:

 

 

Addendum:

74% of consumers go to Amazon when they’re ready to buy something. That should be keeping retailers up at night. — from cnbc.com

Key points (emphasis DSC)

  • Amazon remains a looming threat for some of the biggest retailers in the country — like Walmart, Target and Macy’s.
  • When consumers are ready to buy a specific product, nearly three-quarters of them, or 74 percent, are going straight to Amazon to do it, according to a new study by Feedvisor.
  • By the end of this year, Amazon is expected to account for 52.4 percent of the e-commerce market in the U.S., up from 48 percent in 2018.

 

“In New England, there will be between 32,000 and 54,000 fewer college-aged students just seven years from now,” Meehan said. “That means colleges and universities will have too much capacity and not enough demand at a time when the economic model in higher education is already straining under its own weight.” (Marty Meehan at WBUR)

 

 

 

From DSC:
Our family uses AT&T for our smartphones and for our Internet access. What I would really like from AT&T is to be able to speak into an app — either located on a smartphone or have their routers morph into Alexa-type of devices — to be able to speak to what I want my router to do:

“Turn off Internet access tonight from 9pm until 6am tomorrow morning.”
“Only allow Internet access for parents’ accounts.”
“Upgrade my bandwidth for the next 2 hours.”

Upon startup, the app would ask whether I wanted to setup any “admin” types of accounts…and, if so, would recognize that voice/those voices as having authority and control over the device.

Would you use this type of interface? I know I would!

P.S. I’d like to be able to speak to our
thermostat in that sort of way as well.

 
 

For a next gen learning platform: A Netflix-like interface to check out potential functionalities / educationally-related “apps” [Christian]

From DSC:
In a next generation learning system, it would be sharp/beneficial to have a Netflix-like interface to check out potential functionalities that you could turn on and off (at will) — as one component of your learning ecosystem that could feature a setup located in your living room or office.

For example, put a Netflix-like interface to the apps out at eduappcenter.com (i.e., using a rolling interface at first, then going to a static page/listing of apps…again…similar to Netflix).

 

A Netflix-like interface to check out potential functionalities / educationally-related apps

 

 

 

Google is bringing translation to its Home speakers — from businessinsider.com by Peter Newman

Excerpt:

Google has added real-time translation capabilities to its Google Home smart speakers, the Home Hub screened speaker, as well as other screened devices from third parties, according to Android Police.

 

Also see:

 

 

Amazon has 10,000 employees dedicated to Alexa — here are some of the areas they’re working on — from businessinsider.com by Avery Hartmans

Summary (emphasis DSC):

  • Amazon’s vice president of Alexa, Steve Rabuchin, has confirmed that yes, there really are 10,000 Amazon employees working on Alexa and the Echo.
  • Those employees are focused on things like machine learning and making Alexa more knowledgeable.
  • Some employees are working on giving Alexa a personality, too.

 

 

From DSC:
How might this trend impact learning spaces? For example, I am interested in using voice to intuitively “drive” smart classroom control systems:

  • “Alexa, turn on the projector”
  • “Alexa, dim the lights by 50%”
  • “Alexa, open Canvas and launch my Constitutional Law I class”

 

 

 

Ten HR trends in the age of artificial intelligence — from fortune.com by Jeanne Meister
The future of HR is both digital and human as HR leaders focus on optimizing the combination of human and automated work. This is driving a new HR priority: requiring leaders and teams to develop fluency in artificial intelligence while they re-imagine HR to be more personal, human, and intuitive.

Excerpt from 21 More Jobs Of the Future (emphasis DSC):

Voice UX Designer: This role will leverage voice as a platform to deliver an “optimal” dialect and sound that is pleasing to each of the seven billion humans on the planet. The Voice UX Designer will do this by creating a set of AI tools and algorithms to help individuals find their “perfect voice” assistant.

Head of Business Behavior: The head of business behavior will analyze employee behavioral data such as performance data along with data gathered through personal, environmental and spatial sensors to create strategies to improve employee experience, cross company collaboration, productivity and employee well-being.

The question for HR leaders is: What are new job roles in HR that are on the horizon as A.I. becomes integrated into the workplace?

Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer: This job role is already being filled by Salesforce announcing its first Chief Ethical and Humane Officer this month. This new role will focus on developing strategies to use technology in an ethical and humane way. As practical uses of AI have exploded in recent years, we look for more companies to establish new jobs focusing on ethical uses of AI to ensure AI’s trustworthiness, while also helping to diffuse fears about it.

A.I. Trainer: This role allows the existing knowledge you have about a job to be ready for A.I. to use.  Creating knowledge for an A.I. supported workplace requires individuals to tag or “annotate” discrete knowledge nuggets so the correct data is served up in a conversational interface. This role is increasingly important as the role of a recruiter is augmented by AI.

 

 

Also see:

  • Experts Weigh in on Merits of AI in Education — from by Dian Schaffhauser
    Excerpt:
    Will artificial intelligence make most people better off over the next decade, or will it redefine what free will means or what a human being is? A new report by the Pew Research Center has weighed in on the topic by conferring with some 979 experts, who have, in summary, predicted that networked AI “will amplify human effectiveness but also threaten human autonomy, agency and capabilities.”

    These same experts also weighed in on the expected changes in formal and informal education systems. Many mentioned seeing “more options for affordable adaptive and individualized learning solutions,” such as the use of AI assistants to enhance learning activities and their effectiveness.

 

 
 

The skills companies need most in 2019 – and how to learn them — from linkedin.com by Paul Petrone

Excerpt:

To find out, we used exclusive LinkedIn data to determine the skills companies need most in 2019. These are the skills your boss and your boss’s boss find most valuable, but have a hard time finding – and the skills that’ll most help you better serve your clients and customers.

So consider this post your guide to the skills most worth learning in 2019.

The best part? We’ve unlocked LinkedIn Learning courses for all of January that teach these skills, so for a limited time you can learn them all for free.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

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