Technology For Good: Key Takeaways from Oracle OpenWorld London 2019

January 25, 2019 | 3 minute read
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Guest Author: Elena Avesani, Global Sustainability Manager, Oracle

Attending Oracle OpenWorld events is always a breath-taking experience – the sheer number of solutions and capabilities showcased can be overwhelming yet inspiring. Even more so now that emerging technologies are augmenting Oracle Cloud solutions capabilities exponentially. Oracle OpenWorld London, the first of a series of global events launched in 2019, was no exception. Innovators, startups, and experts gathered together to share insights on how to leverage transformational technologies for better outcomes in business and society at large. Tech-for-good themes were frontstage. The exponential growth of digital technology can transform industries including manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and transportation while addressing the world’s most pressing needs and mitigating inequality. Here are the key takeaways:

Powering smart cities with emerging technologies

70 percent of world populations will live in cities by 2050 according to the 2030 Vision Report. It is imperative to create human settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Efficient systems, especially waste, sanitation, building and transportation services are fundamental to improving the quality of life in cities and minimizing environmental impact. Furthermore, the value of the smart cities market has been estimated at $1.5 trillion by 2025 for the provision of sensors, connected transit and utility systems. Here comes Proxima, an Oracle Cloud connected city prototype built using LEGO bricks, sensors, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and the Oracle Cloud Services, by far the most visited booth at the conference. The prototype modelled a smart city where services such as trash management, lighting, energy monitoring, building management, parking, and safety are automated and centrally monitored. The Oracle IoT Cloud services enable sensors to notify the local disposal system when the bins are full and trigger a pick-up, a chatbot sends information about location and availability of parking sites as well as recharge stations. Street lighting is triggered by citizens’ transiting a particular area, and the overall consumption of energy in the city is monitored in real time with the Oracle Analytics Cloud.

Enabling transparent supply chains with blockchain

To help customers increase trust across their business networks, Oracle has launched Oracle Blockchain Applications Cloud.  Oracle’s business-ready blockchain applications provide immediate business benefits to customers by improving transparency in their business network and transforming their supply chains. Tracking systems, sensors and blockchain, for example, enable precision agriculture models, smart resources allocation, as well as guaranteeing sustainable ingredients sourcing. Certified Origins, an olive oil producer, showcased how the Oracle Blockchain services help them with certifying production, packaging and shipping phases, increasing quality control, granting access only to authorized sellers and buyers, and building branding reputation for the company.

Closing the diversity and inclusion gaps with artificial intelligence

Research increasingly shows that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Still, women, accounting for an average of just 16 percent of the members of executive teams in the United States and 12 percent in the United Kingdom, remain underrepresented at the top of corporations globally. Furthermore, on average women across the world are paid just 63 percent of what men earn according to the World Economic Forum, that also estimates the global pay gap between men and women will take 202 years to close. AI tools can help: HR function is beginning to use big data and machine learning to understand performance, pay, corporate culture, well-being. Dr. Zara Nanu, CEO at Gapsquare, a startup powered by the Oracle Global Startup Ecosystem, and Jason Williamson, who leads the Oracle accelerator efforts, dived into the power of AI and data science to provide insights into pay and wage gaps and their root causes and deliver data-driven recommendations for change. Gapsquare worked with Harvard to analyze aggregate payroll data and identify gaps that could not be justified by different levels of experience and background.

Facing disruption with lateral thinking, collaboration and continuous learning

As Lord Mark Mallock-Brown eloquently put it in his keynote speech, we live in uncertain times in which disruptive technologies and geopolitical shifts blur the lines between opportunities and obstacles. In such a contest, collaboration, lateral thinking and breaking down silos is paramount. Climate change, a problem without a passport, and data security are risks that cannot be dealt at a national level and require multi-national solutions. Innovative solutions will require scaling private and public partnerships, giving the private sector a more significant role in such implementations. Massive investments in infrastructure, energy transition and mobility will be required, particularly in Asia and Africa. Businesses that harness the power of emerging technologies now will be at the forefront of the next wave of innovation and change

Evelyn Neumayr

Sustainability Product Strategy

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