Microsoft CTO: AI drives innovation

Artificial intelligence opens up for new innovation, says Daniel Akenine, CTO, Microsoft Sweden. But it also comes with new demands on collaboration between actors in innovation systems.

iHubs Sweden Industrial IT Microsoft CTO: AI drives innovation

Microsoft TechDays is a deep-dive, technical event but also a conference with a strategic overview of the what’s hot in tech today. Some of the world’s top speakers lined up on stage and a main theme was artificial intelligence, AI.

Nearly 2,000 programmers, developers and IT managers came meet each other and get more knowledge of today’s new technology in the way Microsoft is leading the way.

We had a chat with Daniel Akenine, National Technology Officer, Microsoft Sweden, on AI and innovation.

“With AI, new areas have been opened for innovation,” said Daniel Akenine in a brief break between the lectures and meetings he attended during the days. Beside being CTO for Microsoft in Sweden he is also one of the driving forces behind AddAI, a new initiative that aims to raise the discussion about AI in technical, legal and social areas.

AI opens for new innovation

Daniel Akenine is convinced of the fact that AI can contribute to new innovation. He mentions face recognition as an example of artificial intelligence that can create new services and products.

“Suddenly you can open up new innovation areas,” says Daniel Akenine.

However, knowledge of technology is not enough to create new innovation. Even if new technology is emerging, both smaller and larger companies has to understand the problems and needs their customers have.

“It’s all about listening and studying. That’s something we do in Microsoft much. In that case, IT can contribute in many ways by collecting data on behaviors, for example. The more data you have, the easier it becomes to understand what innovations you can do for people,” Daniel Akenine says.

AI changes cooperation

Daniel Akenine also stresses how AI changes the interaction between different actors. He mentions German producer Thyssenkrupp who today has a great collaboration with Microsoft around AI and about virtual and mixed reality with Microsoft headset Hololens.

The challenge for these companies is that they traditionally have very good engineering skills but not as strong IT excellence.

“Microsoft may not have cooperated so much with companies in the engineering industry such as Thyssenkrupp. But it’s changing now when these companies also need to put on an IT layer when they switch to selling services. They need AI competence and IT security skills, they need scalability, they have to put on an IT layer, explains Daniel Akenine.

New forms of collaboration

“When you want to create solutions for this, you must also create new forms of collaboration. New partners get to know each other and we get new players into the collaboration system,” says Daniel Akenine.

“If we look at the companies that are here at Techdays, it’s mostly middle sized companies and IT managers in different organizations. They need pieces of AI, more prepackaged parts. If you need facial recognition then you can use our puzzle pieces to build a solution, says Daniel Akenine.

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