18 October, 2019, London, United Kingdom – Nexus FrontierTech and the UK Government’s Office of AI, acting under the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), have collaborated to spread insight into the power of artificial intelligence in both the private and public sectors.
On Friday the DCMS published a Nexus FrontierTech-produced case study on how a UK-based global bank used AI to enhance operational efficiency. This case study joins a collection the Office of AI has published to provide delivery teams ¨more specific guidance on the different considerations for projects with AI components,¨ drawing on best practice from both the commercial and public sectors.
The UK Government is currently ranked second globally in terms of AI readiness and in the top three countries globally in the development of AI technologies, putting the nation in prime position to leverage these advancements for economic growth.
6 October 2019, Hanoi, Vietnam – Last Sunday the event “Vietnam Frontier Summit 2019: Intelligence in Motion”, which was organized by rubikAI, Nexus FrontierTech and VTV24, took place successfully. The event attracted the attention of the public as well as the media as there were nearly 20 start-ups participating as exhibitors, 36 leading industry experts who stepped foot on 3 discussion stages and over 1,200 technology enthusiasts as participants.
Highlights of the event can include the presence of representatives from Deloitte, IBM Vietnam, Datamart, PAT Consulting, VNPT IT and especially Shark Nguyen Hoa Binh, CEO of NextTech Group. Over the course of 12 hours, topics related to Artificial Intelligence in Industry 4.0 were discussed comprehensively, from digitizing government activities to applying new technology business management and operation system; from the digital transformation of different enterprises and industries to the potential of the next generation in Vietnam in making the country one of the leading technology centers in the region.
At the Exhibition Zone, the leading corporations in Vietnam’s technology industry were Aimesoft, Beetsoft, Asilla, ELSA, Ignite, Pixta, OSAM, Renova, AWS User Group, Wisami, Devwork, FUNix, Nexus FrontierTech and VAIS, showcasing their latest AI products and applications. Besides facial-recognition-related products such as “BiFace Check-in” at Beetsoft‘s booth and Asilla‘s unusual-activity-recognition camera, natural language processing applications also excited the audience with the presence of VAIS and ELSA – both are the leading companies in Vietnam which successfully apply this technology into their products. The rubikAI exhibition booth highlighted its main product of rubikTALENT program and was visited by many students and tech enthusiasts interested in taking their interest to the next level. Also taking place at the Exhibition Zone were Community Talks with the presence of representatives from Pixta, AI Noodles Blog and AWS User Group – introducing and sharing knowledge around Artificial Intelligence with a variety of topics such as Image-to-Image Translation, Building chatbots with RASA, etc.
During the first discussion of Open Stage, Mr. Danny Goh, CEO of Nexus FrontierTech made an opening speech expressing his confidence in the new generation of AI engineers in Vietnam and his hope to develop the Vietnamese technology community through the Vietnam Frontier Summit. The first panel discussion, “Who will make a profit in the artificial intelligence ecosystem?” featured Mr. Danny Goh (Nexus FrontierTech), Mr. Ernest Xue (Hello Tomorrow) and Mr. Sang Shin (Temasek). All speakers agreed that new businesses have a great opportunity to make profit by providing technology applications for traditional businesses. Answering the question about the US-China technology race, the speakers also said that this should not be a technological war, but a battle to change human life. The speakers also agreed that Vietnam was indeed a potential destination for technological investment, but the problem was how to fully exploit these potentials.
In the afternoon, the Open Stage continued with an interesting yet urgent topic: “Leveraging frontier tech to transform government activities: Case studies in Vietnam”, witnessing the discussion between representatives from AI and Blockchain enterprises. Both speakers have an optimistic view on the future of digitizing government activities in the next 5-10 years. Although Mr. Hoang Minh Thanh (VAIS) showed concern that government’s systems have not been digitized and still has a ways to go, Mr. Hung Nguyen (KardiaChain) expressed his hopes that this will also be a great opportunity for start-ups to develop and propose new technology solutions on a national scale.
With the participation of leading experts from Deloitte, PAT Consulting, VNPT IT, the Deep-Dive Stage for Biz showcased successful case studies of AI applications and useful advice for businesses and entrepreneurs in the digital transformation stage. In the first session, Mr. Pavel Poskakhukhin, Deputy Director of Deloitte Southeast Asia, introduced RPA technology which according to him, although not developed in Vietnam due to its significant financial support, still had potential in the future due to high quality human resources in this country. Speakers Tran Tuan Anh (Shopee), Nguyen Tien Cuong (VNPT IT), Oliver Tan (Visenze) and Le Anh Tuan (A1digihub) also discussed the specific cases in which AI is being integrated into enterprise. Mr. Oliver Tan claimed that in order to apply AI, businesses need data and systems to manage this data. Agreeing with Mr. Tan, Mr. Tran Tuan Anh shared about how Shopee took advantage of data in logistics, operations and customer care. Giving advice to businesses who want to apply AI, Mr. Nguyen Tien Cuong said that they should focus on the problem they are solving to be able to give a reasonable solution. After that, with the topic “Data strategy for Vietnamese businesses to leverage AI”, Mr. Phi Anh Tuan, Director of PAT Consulting, gave an overview of digital transformation. According to him data is not only the key to digital transformation but also the most valuable asset of the business. Companies have many opportunities in applying AI to its production, operation and management systems by maximizing enterprise data sources.
At the Deep-dive Stage for Tech, 7 discussion sessions with 7 speakers brought together in-depth topics that revealed the secrets behind the success of AI-driven products. The first session was brought by Mr. Nguyen Viet Thai (Asilla) who introduced “Human activity recognition system (HAR)”. He shared HAR’s applications in everyday life, especially in public places such as railway stations and hospitals to help detect unusual activities to suggest appropriate actions. Mr. Pham Huu Quang from Sun Asterisk followed with a discussion on OCR technology in the digital transformation revolution, sharing that Sun Asterisk is specifically focused on extracting data from PDF files and image-to-text transition. Speaker Hajime Hotta from Nexus FrontierTech later brought up the topic “Preventive approach to design and sell healthy AI systems”. Bringing his own project management matrix theory, Mr. Hotta concluded that the 2 main factors that create success in building AI systems are effective project management and a stable technology platform.
For more information about Nexus FrontierTech events, sign up for our monthly newsletter.
20 September 2019 – Nexus FrontierTech’s UK-based team hosted the first of a series of Nexus-hosted AI seminars in Central London. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s seminar, ¨Beyond the Hype: How Banks Use AI to Drive Operational Efficiency¨ welcomed a group of over 30 banking and finance professionals looking to expand their knowledge on the ways artificial intelligence is transforming the banking industry.
Nexus CEO Danny Goh and Sales Director Hanizan Massod kicked off the session with an overview of AI’s impact on businesses’ digital transformation journey across the financial services industry, highlighting the benefits coming from the adoption and proper execution of AI in enterprise workflows and processes.
Attendees then took a deeper look into the biggest challenges banks face in this transformation, including on-demand access to data, cross-team collaboration and communication and visibility, as well as the ways intelligent automation can be leveraged to address these issues. A framework for preparing for and setting up an intelligent automation system was explored, allowing participants to visualize and compartmentalize the various elements needed to integrate a successful automation solution.
¨We couldn’t be happier with the turnout and enthusiasm of our attendees,¨ said CEO Danny Goh. ¨It’s no secret that the financial services industry isn’t just tuned into the potential of AI, organisations are already adopting deep tech into their day-to-day business. The problem, though, is knowing how to integrate this technology with the data sets they already have, the various stakeholders involved, and the resources needed for it all to come together and prove fruitful. That’s where we know we can be of some help. Having an open dialogue is where transformation begins.¨
Nexus Commercial Director Alice St. George later presented a Case Study to show attendees a real example of how Nexus used this framework to successfully transform the sales quality review process of a large global bank.
The session ended with an open Q&A session, and a cocktail for guests to network with their peers.
This seminar was the first of a string of Nexus-sponsored events and webinars whose aim is to address industry-specific problems that could be benefited by the use of intelligent automation technology.
For more information about Nexus FrontierTech events, sign up for our monthly newsletter.
Every week I interview entrepreneurs and experts from around the world to share their big idea about new forms of value creation and the potential we can unlock when technology augments the unique strengths of people to deliver remarkable impact.
Untouched value opportunity
I was inspired by the big idea behind Nexus FrontierTech, hence I invited Co-founder and CEO Danny Goh to my podcast. We explored the enormous value opportunity that millions of organizations leave untouched around unstructured data simply because the ‘can’t manage it’. We also explored Danny’s vision on how the world is changing from an app-centric world into a skill-centric world and how that will influence the way we can create solutions going forward.
The thing that triggered me most from my interview with Danny:
¨The advantage that we give to them [our clients], is they’re one step ahead of their competitors.¨
Why did this trigger me? What’s the bigger value I see?
Far too often we create IT solutions that are about creating efficiencies and cost savings. And while that’s all good, in the end it’s only about creating incremental value. What I admire in Nexus’ approach is they start with the outcome in mind and find ways to utilize the latest technologies to create competitive advantages for their customers. It’s the reflection of how the combination of technology and people can deliver value far beyond the expected. That’s where shifts in value are created. That’s enabling their customers get ahead of other players in the market.
What’s the bigger question / opportunity that is being raised?
It’s the question: ‘What’s stopping us from delivering more competitive advantage?’ From what I see around me a lot starts with mindset. It’s asking the simple question: ‘why’ more often. ‘Why does a mortgage process at a bank take weeks, sometimes months? Why can’t this be done in days?’ ‘Why is an M&A process occupying so many consultants for months?’ ‘Why do people need to drive certain processes forward?’ And ‘Why aren’t we utilizing the creative gifts of people so little in everyday situations?’
Too often we settle with making significant adjustments that effectively do nothing more than allowing people to do more of the things they’re not meant to be doing in the first place. Why not think different and invest in ‘skills’ upgrades that make people do better (rather than just ‘more’) and deliver value unimaginable before. That’s where today’s technology can have its greatest impact. We just need to start thinking this way.
Listen to the big idea behind Nexus FrontierTech, and why it has the potential to transform the competitive powers of virtually any organization.
Based in Geneva and Boston, Mark is a socio-economic strategist researching MegaTrends, business model innovations and competitiveness. He is the co-author of the bestseller Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using Drive to Harness the Power of Today’s Megatrends. He has advised and consulted cities, governments and UN agencies at the interface between business, technology and government.
What sparked your interest in AI and lead you to co-found Nexus FrontierTech?
I have always found technology a Pandora’s Box rather than a panacea and most of my own thinking came from my lack of understanding. With the book on Megatrends with Terence Tse, PhD, a whole new world opened up to me and although I am far from being an expert or even a connoisseur, my appreciation for technology has become a common trait in all of my teaching and researching activities, as well as in my work consulting to governments and government leaders.
Where do you see the state of AI at this moment in time? Is it something that’s REALLY being implemented? Is it all talk, no walk?
I think it depends greatly on where we look. I am a macro guy and I’ll provide you with a macro answer. There are still tons of countries that are far from even devising a proper AI strategy, with the exception of the usual few. So I see AI being a crossroad in terms of social and public awareness, with more and more people discussing it, but still uncertain on the steps to follow. I see this as a big awakening without much action still…but without a doubt, the overall compass of the conversation on AI has shifted to a much larger group of stakeholders.
With so many tech companies claiming to work wonders for businesses, both established and startup, what differentiates Nexus from the rest?
I truly think that our culture is our true differentiator. Coders are coders and AI scientists are AI scientists. But what characterises us is this unique blend of cultures and diversity that make working at Nexus the real contribution. Even among the founders, the five of us could not be more diverse from each other. Still, this has not prevented us from creating a culture of respect and cohesion. We are so comfortable being who we really are that we never fear being candid and transparent, so clearly red tape is not something we know about.
Then of course there is the technology and the fact that I think we are advanced and have winning ideas that need to permeate the market, but again, ¨culture eats strategy for breakfast¨ is what Peter Drucker used to say and I can’t agree more.
You have partnerships with various higher education institutions. What value does that bring to Nexus?
The most immediate value is that we can tap on a pool of talent that is high end. From Harvard, Cambridge, IE, Hult, etc. We can truly recruit on a global scale. Second to this, these institutions can always offer leads to us that we may be able to convert into value. It is also an important aspect of reassurance for our investors.
What is a common misconception that business owners/leaders have about AI?
That we can work on any possible project. The truth is that capabilities are factors we can’t ignore and often between what the market may want and what we may be able to do, there must be an organisational alignment effort. Nexus is usually capable of this, but in many people’s heads things happen quicker than in real circumstances and we need to set realistic expectations.
As Chief Learning Officer of Nexus, what is your role in the growth of the business? What is your biggest contribution?
My role is a hybrid of many things, mainly carved and designed around my bread and butter. So there is a bit of lobbying, lots of research through publications that I curate on a very small scale but which has exposed some of the members of our community to larger platforms. And then there is training, a sourcing of applicants, etc. It’s not an easy role to define but hopefully a support role to many others in more operational roles.
What does ¨unlocking the power of AI¨ mean to you?
Working at Nexus is a good way to put this question into context. It rewrites the conversation on work and contribution to society and it provides us with time horizons we had never thought of.
Where do you see Nexus in 10 years time?
It is likely that the company may evolve into a classic exit strategy such as IPO or M/A, and if that ever happens, Nexus will move to its next normal phase of evolution. Regardless of my own thoughts, my hope is that Nexus will still be a guarantor of openness, transparency and care, even if we are a tech company.
Terence is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nexus FrontierTech and Associate Professor of Finance at the London campus of ESCP Europe Business School. Terence is also co-author of the book ¨Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using DRIVE to Harness the Power of Today’s Megatrends¨. The framework was nominated for the CK Prahalad Breakthrough Idea Award by Thinkers50, the most prestigious award in business thought leadership. The DRIVE framework has also led Chartered Management Institute’s own magazine Professional Manager in the UK to name Terence as one of the 18 new voices in 2018 that reshape management and leadership. Talent Quarterly in the US called the DRIVE framework one of the 24 trends transforming talent management in the years to come.
You have a strong background in higher education, having worked in various roles at top universities such as Cambridge Judge Business School and ESPC Europe. What was the idea behind co-founding an AI startup? Have you always been interested in tech and startups?
Like many things in our lives, co-founding Nexus was the result of coincidence. After I wrote the book “Understanding How the Future Unfolds: Using Drive to Harness the Power of Today’s Megatrends” with Mark Exposito, I started to really appreciate what technologies can do and how they have embedded in our lives and are driving the future. A very strong interest in the latest technologies was developing. So, when Danny read an article I co-wrote with Mark on AI, he asked me to meet up as he was starting an outfit based on this technology in the UK. The result was Nexus FrontierTech.
What do you consider the biggest misconceptions both businesses and the general public have about AI?
Lots of people still don’t know what AI is truly capable of. At the moment, it cannot even identify whether the image it is looking at is a dog or a cat. All it can do is to try to figure out whether it’s a dog or not a dog. If what it can achieve is limited, it is for sure not what many media outlets portray it to be. Understanding this is a good start. Another misconception we see in businesses from our experience gained at Nexus FrontierTech, is that often the most difficult part of putting AI into operation is not the development of AI but rather customising it for the IT system of clients. There are quite a number of AI applications/product vendors out there in the market. But off-the-shelf solutions as such is not easy – and most of the time fail – to meet exactly what the clients are aiming to achieve.
AI is considered a buzzword by many. Do you think it’s merited?
Yes. It is a buzzword. But for the wrong reason. It is a common term that people tend to use to describe machines doing human work. But ultimately, there is no intelligence in AI. This is because intelligence implies creativity, problem solving, empathy, to name of few. And machines can do none of them. I personally prefer to use terms like natural language processing or image recognition. These terms are more precise in describing what machines can do, unlike an all-encompassing term like AI which can describe everything and nothing at the same time.
What are the biggest challenges AI firms are facing when proposing business solutions to potential clients?
It is often taking the first step. While some companies have never tried and don’t know that much about AI, they are reluctant to put the technology to use. Not to mention that for AI to fulfil its potential, it has to be customised. This often involves a great deal of work. Other times, we have also seen companies trying to deploy AI. Yet, they have spoken to the wrong vendors and the result is that they put the money in but are not getting the value out or the vendor could only go only as far as a proof of concept. Consequently, they become disappointed and take a more cautious approach when trying to deploy AI again. Needless to say, they should have talked to Nexus FrontierTech first to avoid such disappointments!
You have co-authored another book, ¨The AI Republic: Building the Nexus Between Humans and Intelligent Automation¨, alongside Nexus CEO Danny Goh and Chief Learning Officer Mark Esposito, PhD. Can you give some insight into what you touch upon and its connection to Nexus’ current mission of democratising AI?
We would like to demystify AI, fleshing out what it can and cannot really do. We also discuss how modern AI has gotten to where it is and explain some of the technical sides of the technology. Since AI has will have a huge impact on our world in the future, the book will also cover some ethical concerns of this technology.
Nexus’ wants to democratise AI. What does this mean to you?
I am going to use an analogy that Danny has used. Remember those days when we were first introduced to the Internet? Way back then, if you were to put a website together, you would have to do a great deal of programming. This was restricted to those who had the skills and equipment to do. These days, building a website requires very little programming knowledge because we can now drag and drop using specific applications. When we say our we want to democratise AI, what we want to do is offer an application. We hope that our Podder.ai platform will enable individual researchers/engineers to easily build AI products for their clients and make it easy for clients to accept and integrate 3rd party vendors’ AI offerings.
Tiffany Moore is Nexus FrontierTech’s Global Marketing Manager, a role she took on in May of 2018. She is a Los Angeles native with a background in Communications and Journalism from Loyola Marymount University and has worked in variety of sectors such as entertainment, online gaming, and higher education. Tiffany has extensive experience working around the globe in countries such as Ghana, Malaysia, South Africa, The Bahamas, and Spain and is responsible for the coordination of global marketing efforts of Nexus’ worldwide presence.
Your background is in Journalism and you’ve worked in a number of sectors in your career including higher education, gaming, and entertainment. What drew you into the deep tech field?
To be honest I really just fell into it. I studied Communications and Journalism in university and, just like any other L.A. native, I envisioned myself working in the news or entertainment sector. I was fortunate enough to get my foot in television and radio, but soon realized the industry wasn’t for me. After graduating I moved to Spain to learn Spanish and began working in a Finnish gaming company, which I enjoyed, as it allowed me to interact directly with consumers. From there I switched to the higher education field at IE Business School, where I was introduced to Mark Esposito, co-founder of Nexus. We got to talking and after learning about the company, its mission and vision, I knew I had to be a part of it. The rest is history, as they say.
It seems as though this is your first experience with a startup. How are you finding it?
Yes, it sure is and it’s definitely a challenge! Startups work at such a rapid pace, you’ve hardly time to blink before the next deliverable is due, the next change needs to be made, or the next campaign needs to be launched. But that is the beauty of it. Working at Nexus is allowing me to dabble in a number of different roles and responsibilities that would be almost impossible in other more vertical companies. Having that ownership, knowing your work has a direct impact on the growth of the company, is very rewarding.
Another challenge is Nexus’ global aspect. We have teams in London, Vietnam, Bangkok, Tokyo and Boston. Trying to manage effective communication with team members all over the world isn’t easy, but we’re doing it and simultaneously growing. That shows you how agile this company really is.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for AI firms when communicating the benefits to their audience?
I think the term AI has been used as a buzzword in recent years. It’s become a hot topic, which is a positive thing, but unfortunately too many firms have claimed themselves ¨AI-driven companies¨ when they really aren’t. The majority of firms haven’t been able to walk the walk when it comes to providing enterprise-wide solutions using AI, usually lacking the capabilities to integrate their models with the enterprises’ existing systems.
At Nexus, our teams work directly with clients to identify their pain-points and develop bespoke solutions that take into account the context and lens that these companies look through when analysing and sorting their data. Value isn’t added using a 1 size fits all approach.
What do you consider Nexus’ biggest strength?
Our talent, without a doubt. We have a team of over 100+ engineers, scientists, project and product managers and researchers who are truly passionate about their work. Coming from a very corporate professional background, seeing the energy, the pure grit of our team came as a shock to me. This isn’t a typical 9 to 5 for us, it’s a way of life, and we share in each others’ success.
What do you hope to contribute as Nexus’ Global Marketing Manager?
I hope to effectively communicate the passion that Nexus has for the tech industry, its clients, and AI education and training to the world. This isn’t just about generating leads or gaining followers. This is about Nexus becoming a trusted partner for enterprises, AI vendors and AI engineers who want to make the world a better place using the latest that technology and research has to offer. This is about community-building and fostering AI talents and up-and-comers. The excitement that we have here internally at Nexus…I want others to feel it.
Describe yourself in 1 word.
Describe Nexus in 1 word.