Future of technology explored as BT launches innovation week at Martlesham’s Adastral Park
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Looking into the future, what do we see?
A smarter world; where our friends, and families, shopping and work and all available at our finger-tips, via our phones or laptops, at an instant.
Or a world of more dangers and pitfalls, where a thief or con-man, can trick your out of your bank details to steal your money?
BT business partners, customers, press and school children were at Martlesham Heath yesterday for the opening of Innovation 2017; where many questions were asked and some were answered.
Some of the brightest talents in innovation gathered here, in Suffolk to share ideas and spark off each other.
Some already had products to sell, others were seeking partnerships for further development.
The first time I went to an Innovation even at Martlesham, many years ago mobile phones were in their infancy (thery were enormous things, the size of a brick), and you needed a special holster on your belt.
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Mobile phones had been seen in science fiction, in the Star Trek television series.
Now the internet of things is with us; entertainment, communication, finance, education and much more.
Social media allows anyone to comment on politicians’ activities and influence an election, or raise funds for a life-saving operation, or comment on the success or otherwise of our favourite football team.
It is world where Virtual Reality, broadband speed, 4G and 5G phones, AI (artifcial intelligence). and cyber attack are now part of everyday conversation rather than geek speak.
We hear driver-less cars and personal helicopter taxis are on the way very soon.
BT ceo Gavin Patterson welcomed the arrivals and spoke about the important role BT still played in IT research and development, both here and with partners from across the globe.
Demonstrations available for visitors included Openreach launching the world’s first ever live demonstration of a 100Gbps or ‘hyperfast’ broadband service at BT’s R&D centre at Adastral Park in partnership with Huawe,
The demonstration uses a standard residential Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connection with advanced transmission technology – which can boost the broadband signal with enough capacity to stream 4,000 ultra HD quality movies simultaneously.
BT announced a number of other advances to improve broadband speeds for businesses.
I met with the head of security research and innovation, Dr Ben Azvine, and his cyber security team, who are using artificial intelligence to identify and tackle potential hackers and attacks.
There were demonstrations about smart cities and smarter homes.
In a smart city, explained Claudia Cristina, information could be gathered together to make it work better. A real-time app could tell you where the car park spaces were available, close to the theatre you wanted to visit, or the time of the next train or bus.
In smart homes, your windows and doors can be glazed with security tech imbedded in them; to alert you remotely if there is a breach.
Local company GlazeAlarm is already working with one manufacturer, and is talking to others in this country, the USA and the Middle East.
I felt a personal interest in the Pulse section; showing advances some already introduced in the health service, to make hospital stays more efficient and safer.
A plastic wrist/leg band for patients can be scanned to give the medics instant access to the patient’s records, X-ray scans on to a display screen.
There were systems for using robots for patient contact, and touch screens to get real-time advice from medical professionals.
I particularly liked Canary Care (not a bird or a football team).
This is a system, already available, in which a BT Homehub is used to monitor all the systems in a home.
If an elderly relative, with dementia, is living alone a member of the family can check whether they have turned on the heating, or switched on the oven to cook a meal, any number of things a person might just forget.
Some of these ideas, on display here, will take off and become big successes.
Others may be overtaken by better inventions.
The future is in the hands of children.
Next door, in another temporary dome, children from across the country were competing in the finals of the coding competition, the Co-Space Junior Robocup.
BT ceo Gavin Patterson said tech literacy and coding needed to be integrated into the school curriculum.“Making coding and innovation part of the curriculum and not something which is to one side, and something for geeks, There is a terrible gender missed opportunity as well.
“BT colleagues are going out into schools and helping to teach the teachers,”
It is up to the next generation.
Will their future be one of driver-less cars, or personal helicopter taxis, pilot-less drones deliving parcels, or simpler things than make life, health and our relationships better?