EIT Digital Conference 2019

EIT Digital Conference 2019: Digital Business Models and Disruptive Innovation

The EIT Digital Conference will take place at The Egg in Brussels on September 10th, 2019. It will feature discussion panels, keynotes, and much more. There is a second invite-only event on the 11th designed for partners and will present several talks and workshops. EIT Digital has come up with their guide for the conference. You can read about it here. I will dive in 2 of their recommended research topics, going through a couple of companies at the Innovators Village and adding in my thoughts.

EIT Digital Conference 2019
Credit: EIT Digital

These are the 5 recommended topics to research and get prepared for the event:

1. cloud computing,

2. virtual and augmented reality,

3. artificial intelligence and the internet of things

4. digital business models

5. disruptive digital innovation.

Next, I will expand on digital business models and disruptive digital innovation to help you make the most out of these subjects during the conference.

Digital Business Models

EIT Digital suggests using one of three models: open-source, freemium or e-commerce. Here is a quick refresher. E-commerce is simply the business model that companies use to offer goods for purchase online. The industry has seen steady growth and will continue to do so as methods of online shopping and delivery continue to advance. Open-source is most commonly associated with items that we can download digitally for free, like Java. Last, there is the freemium model, where a person can get digital services for free. The services are however limited in some aspects, which is where the premium part comes in. Consumers who like the free services and see their benefits often pay a certain fee to access the rest of the features.

Strategies that EIT recommends include:

1. increased online security to keep data safe,

2. cloud computing to continually improve workflow management and keeping all interfaces seamlessly connected,

3. willingness to change digital business models if needed.

I strongly agree with having a focus on data security. There’s always going to be people trying to hack and steal sensitive data, such as credit card and billing info. You also wouldn’t want anyone trying to add any viruses into the software that you provide. Another key point that I feel is often overlooked is focusing on the capacity to handle peak website traffic, especially during busy seasons or special sales. Larger businesses tend to have this under control, but when it gets overlooked, a high sales number may be lost. This happens as people are unable to load a website fast enough if they can even load it at all.

Disruptive Digital Innovation

There are 2 main types of innovation. Sustainable innovation is when a company continues to work on improving the quality of a product and, consequently, the consumer experience. A simple example of this would be the iPhone’s operating system. Each year Apple launches a new iOS with even more features than its previous version. This way Apple’s customer will continue to have a better experience over time.

Disruptive innovation is different as it creates a new product and works its way up to competing with products that fall under the sustainable innovation category. The goal is for the new product to benefit even more consumers then the standard sustainable item could. A simple and classic example would be Airbnb. Before Airbnb came around, people would typically stay at a chain hotel or any other accommodation listed on booking portals. Airbnb broke the norm by letting people stay in people’s house, also offering guests a greater variety in terms of services and price ranges.

Sustainable innovation is directed to maintain products quality and relevancy, and disruptive is about introducing something new which is good enough to last and compete with the norm. I think disruptive is great as this is how new products and services change our world. It’s also how larger and established companies go out of business if they can’t keep up with new business trends. To truly last you have to be flexible and adapt to current market trends, whether you like it or not. Watching out for disruptive innovation is the way to keep alive.

Innovators Village

Another large aspect of the conference is the Innovators Village. It’s open all day during the conference until the last 2 hours, when the networking event starts. 50 different companies and innovations will be at the Innovators Village this year. The education category is comprised of different programs that EIT offers, ranging from summer school courses to doctoral programs. Some other categories include wellbeing, finance, tech, and innovation.

A few innovations that I think are worth checking out are:

Cash Register 4.0 (CR4.0)

Developed by the Italian company Olivetti, Cash Register 4.0 is a cash register and computer rolled into one. Its goal is to simplify all retail tasks. In addition to making sales, you can also keep track of inventory with alerts when a product is low in stock, or change store settings like music. An integrated app store comes with the device and provides services like payments, internal processing, and customer relations.

This product is great for smaller companies because “not in every shop there’s a PC, but in every shop there’s a cash register” (Cash Register 4.0). I definitely believe this will enhance inventory control and improve payment transactions. This product launched earlier this year and I’m eager to see what improvements are coming next. If it does well, it could easily become the new standard in stores.

CREEP – Cyberbullying Effects Prevention

CREEP is designed to prevent cyberbullying from occurring to youth. The program monitors social media interactions with a formula that is designed to detect both obvious and subtle forms of bullying. The goal is that, with early detection, the intended victim never realizes that they were a target of cyberbullying. There’s also a virtual coaching program that helps youth who have been affected by cyberbully attacks. The hope is that by talking with those targeted they can reach out and continue to get the help they need instead of shutting away from society and placing themselves in potential harm.

I think this product has great potential, especially with early warning detection. A lot of people don’t initially realize they are intended victims of cyberbullying until it gets out of hand and has strongly negatively impacted their life. I am also a fan of the coaching platform, some people are afraid to speak up to people they know and ask for help. So being able to get help from a person they don’t know in their daily life, will hopefully make it easier for them to reach out without fear of being judged.

EiraTech Robotics

Eiratech Robotics aims at significantly reducing time spent on locating items. The majority of time spent in picking and packing processes is spent on locating the item. Robots will be able to assist humans in picking items at a six-fold pace increase per hour. What sets EiraTech apart is that their robots have a simple installation process and can easily integrate with warehouse management systems.

This product is great since it can reduce human error when picking products and also save significant time. Thus, orders are processed faster, which is especially helpful during busy seasons with peak demand.

Final Thoughts

Just like most conferences, there is a lot going on. My advice is to find a couple of topics that you are most passionate about and focus on attending those.This is especially important as the Innovators Village is only open during the talks.

What innovations are you looking forward to seeing at EIT Digital’s Innovators Village, and what talks are you most excited about?

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