IBM Think London


By Yaw Dako, Technical Director at Big Radical

Last month, IBM held IBM Think London, bringing together some of the industry’s most disruptive change agents. 

The business world is changing at an alarming rate; digitisation is endemic, artificial intelligence threatens to turn our working and personal lives upside down and cyber criminals threaten to steal all our data.

To help understand how we continue to thrive in tomorrow’s business world, a host of client speakers, from across all industries, shared their stories, what they are doing right, and what they’ve done wrong. The core theme was ‘Technology meets Humanity’ covering areas such as Conversational UI, Big Data, Security, Infrastructure hosting and Blockchain technology.


Things kicked off with a keynote from the inspirational Sir Chris Hoy, eleven-times world champion and six-times Olympic cycling champion. He talked profusely about his experience in competitions, how he met and dealt with challenges that he faced throughout his long and successful career. He succinctly attributed his achievements to four key principles and things that could ultimately be applied to any business:

●      Set small incremental goals over a short period of time

●      Recovery; essential to maintain peak performance

●      Have a process and stick to it

●      Anxious or nervous? visualise something else using visualisation techniques

●      Success in sport is 90% Mental, 10% Physical



AI and New Technology: Bringing the Future Closer 

This talk provided a couple of case studies on Conversational UI and how Virtual Assistants / Chatbots can been used to improve health care within the NHS. This highlighted how so called traditional business can embrace new technology and drive meaningful change.

Philip Webb, Associate Director of Planning and Performance, NHS Wales, discussed the need to embrace Cognitive by design approaches, which helped contribute to development of Ritta an web based artificial intelligence system. This was used to help participants answer questions about opioids and chemotherapy, which resulted in alleviating the pressure on over-worked staff and improve outcomes on patient treatment using predictive analytics.


Following the thread on Cognitive Healthcare, was an introduction to Ask Oli, a ChatBot initiative by AlderHay; Liverpool’s leading Children’s Hospital. Ask Oli helps visitors through the sometimes difficult experience of being in hospital. This application allows users to easily obtain answers to common questions or additional info about their condition. AlderHay’s Cognitive Vision is to develop a Living Hospital that will help us to improve the services we deliver, raise quality and improve efficiency.


Transforming Trade Finance With Blockchain

With Blockchain synonymous with Bitcoins and a like, this talk looked at how the main features of Blockchain (transparent and tamper-proof) could help trade in other business scenarios. The end goal of looking for more efficient and cost-effective ways to trade internationally. This was highlighted by one platform in-particular, We.Trade, who have been trying to solve and ease the process of paperless transactions for trade finance, automated fulfilment in regards to KYC (Known Your Customers) and ease integration across a complex world trade ecosystems. Below are the process steps:


So what are the main building blocks for this technology solution:

  • Hyperledger Fabric: Open-source foundation for developing blockchain applications, with a modular, plug and play architecture. This typically hosts transactional contracts

  • Trader Directory: Marketplace to search for prospective trades

  • Smart Contracts: Code-backed smart contracts send payments instruction when the relevant trade conditions are met

  • Integration Ready: Allows for other financial services such as payment undertaking and invoice financing to utilise the platform

  • Multi-Entity: This allows the ability to support multiple bank legal entities to facilitate and validate the trades contracts

  • Track & Trace: Transparency for allowing customers to monitor and receive notifications on the status of the transactions and shipment details

If you would like to discuss these key highlights more in-depth, or chat about how we can help you utilise technology to bring more business, people and societal value to create sustainable advantage, please do get in contact. or

ThoughtsNicola CheeseTrends