• September 24, 2014

The Innovators—Dave Crane

Dave Crane is the Global Director of Applied Innovation in the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Office of the CTO. Based in the UK, Dave drives the worldwide development and harvesting of game-changing solutions and technological advances, along with innovation consulting to shape clients’ visions of the future. He’s skilled at discovering opportunities and dollars that others miss. We asked him to update us on emerging technologies.

Q: What emerging technologies are likely to have the most impact on the enterprise?
A: Smart machines. Smart machines are devices with human-like intelligence and the ability to learn. Smart machines will go way beyond what we have now, such as automated call handling and [Apple’s personal assistant] Siri. Think of smart machines as the next generation of outsourcing. Not only will they provide a far more human-like personality and thought process, they will have the ability to deal with complex and unforeseen issues. This can enable significant tracts of work currently requiring human oversight to be fully automated. HPE’s In Context Analytics, which accesses Big Data information in real time (and was developed by the Applied Innovation team), is the best example of smart machine-like capability that exists within HPE.

We’re also really interested in how 3-D printing will evolve to support our customers’ needs in the future. We see 3-D printing leaping from a hobbyists’ tool into something that becomes fully integrated within the enterprise with digital rights management enforcing design reuse. As 3-D printing becomes more efficient and more predictable, there’s a strong likelihood it will begin to supplement traditional supply chains.

Q: What other technologies hold promise?Dave Crane
A: We’re doing some work with wearables, such as Google Glass. Whether it’s glasses or a watch, the premise behind wearables is quite compelling. Over time, we will no longer carry a PC or even a tablet. All of the functionality we need is going to exist in something the size of your phone that can be linked to a wireless display. The whole nature of our interaction with technology is going to shift.

Q: What is the downside to these technologies? 
A: The more we consolidate data, the more we pull it together and access it, the greater the threat that a huge amount of confidential data will be exposed at one time. That’s the huge security risk with these technologies. So we have to make sure our focus on security keeps pace.

Q: What technologies are just on the horizon?
A: Context-aware services. Blending geo-location and personalized data, our meaningful pilot is something called Smart Traveler. Smart Traveler analyzes a person’s experience as they go through an airport, for example. It tracks the movement of your device and advises you where to park, where to check bags, which security cues are least congested, where to pick up breakfast, and alerts you to flight delays. We should have a working pilot within six to eight months.

In addition to the Applied Innovation team, we are harnessing the combines, intelligence and experience of a lot of smart people across HPE with a passion for technology and its impact on our clients. To connect with a new level of intensity, we’ve launched the emerging technologies group as kind of an open source initiative within HPE to explore different themes such as wearables, 3-D print, and cognitive computing, and morph them into powerful services for the enterprise.