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my thoughts about #cebitaus 2016

The ideas boom. An innovation nation. A technology economy… the catchphrases supporting the current government’s budget and their promises for a bright horizon if re-elected in a couple of months.

However, my trip to CeBIT yesterday does not fill me with hope that this is the reality… or maybe all the really cool cutting edge guys are too busy getting shit done to attend?

What did I expect? Not sure, however it was certainly more than I saw. I imagined to see lots of companies with great ideas about VR, apps talking about how they integrate to the new Messenger BOTS on Facebook, or things that even I had not thought about… however, I was left feeling like one feels when ordering burger at McDonalds, full of promise from looking at the picture, but flat and sloppy in stark reality…

Stark… that’s an interesting freudian slip perhaps. I expected to see some ironman level shit at CeBIT, but I just didn’t. It wasn’t there. There were lots of 3d printers, lot’s of fusion splicers (whatever the hell they may be) but nothing that took my breath away. I guess the biggest eye opener for me was when I had a conversation with a guy that was in translation. You know, taking written documents, and translating them to another language.

I asked him why he was there, hoping to hear him talk about how translation was changing because of augmented reality, or how using AI you could now wear a hearing aid that could translate on the fly. Instead of that, he told me about all the reasons that was still ten years away… Seriously dude? You really think that.

And that there is the problem I see with a innovation nation – so many people are risk adverse. It is not OK to fail in Australia. People are trained from birth that safe is best, get a job, don’t take a risk. Innovation is inherently risky. Stuff doesn’t work, ideas fall over, it is the nature of the beast. In my 23 year career in this industry, I have failed more times than I have succeeded, but I have never, ever, given up.

Persistence is my key ingredient.

Without the ability to say what if… we are only go to be a nation. Not an Innovation Nation.

I gave this guy my ideas about augmented reality translation, it already exists surely (i haven’t looked, but i will soon…) and the machine based translation for the hearing aid, if you think that is ten years away, you will be in the position of the industries that have died at every revolution in the past.

We are at the dawn of a new age. You have to understand that. Things as we knew them will not be the same for much longer.

Think of a world without a device. Think of a world that is hyperconnected, every thing in your house has intelligence, and is there to help and make your life better.

Imagine your own Jarvis (another ironman reference.. it’s true, i have a massive man crush on Tony Stark) an intelligence that exists that you could be connected to throughout your waking hours that worked out all your stuff, booked your flights, made a reservation at the restaurant, did your weekly shopping, woke you up at the right time, told you when it was time to do whatever was important to you… that day is not 20-30 years away, it is in my opinion… 2-3.

The world is at the tipping point of technology answering the call of why we started this journey, making our lives better.

However you, we – whoever you want – will not take our place amongst the pioneers of this new age unless we can be prepared to take massive risks, and be prepared to fail – but always get back up and start again.

CEO of The REDD Group. Author, speaker, creative thinker, design lover, strategist, marketer, ideas man, also a dedicated family man and lover of hair metal and tattoos.

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  1. Stefanie Lowe

    Hi Rich

    I was at CEBIT 2016 yesterday and must say what a disappointment. I had client there and they were very disappointed as well, they spent a lot of money too.

    I attend each year and this was the far the worst CEBIT?

    I had visited CES2016 in USAin January that was great, what a contrast? The USA assist start ups better than in Australia.

    The fact that the reserve bank lowered interest rate yesterday says a lot about the economy at present. Little confidence indeed>

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