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The Matthew White column

How does a computer see the world?

This article in the Wall Street Journal  has a decent non-tech summary of where is the world of robotics, and computing in general, when it comes to copying human perceptions. Computers and robots already can see, hear, touch and even smell as well as some humans. They have been shown to recognise from faces to tumours better than humans can; expect other perception to soon be better than humans.

If that’s what they can do today, what will they be able to do in only ten years time?

Where will your school or business be in 10 years, and how will it be using these new computers?

When you think about computers, you probably think about either a phone, or the work machine on your desk. If you are like most of our customers, you think only about computers when they don’t work, or how you have to upgrade them to do something you want done… eg you don’t think about them if you can avoid it.

Take a moment to think back only 10-15 years ago. Mobile computing wasn’t a thing. The internet was a business add on for most mainstream companies. Schools had a computing room and a specific class for it. Wifi wasn’t common because few people needed to move a computer and internet retail was limited to only a small % of sales.

My first job was in 1994 at an architects design office. They had a Windows 3.11 workstation with a CAD package that no-one knew how to use. Having been a gamer for at least 10 years, I took to it and by the first week had churned out a 3D model of a building. So ended my week long work experience and started my first job offer. In the next year I’d got that office up to doing most designs digitally, fully printed on A1 sized paper from the plotter.

I still remember the pride at being a kid straight out of school and going to my first building site, and seeing on the floor where the carpenters had left it, was the 3D render of the office they were building. It was being used instead of the plans and elevations because they could visualise what it should look like from person-head-height… a massive first for builders.

That freaking rocked!

I knew I wanted to help businesses be better because of the tech I was installing/building/implementing. 20 years on and I’d built a company that does that for SMB and schools UK wide. Same feeling, but instead of pride for my actions, now I’m proud of my amazing consultants who design for clients, the dedicated PMs who get the project in at high spec and on time, and the patient support engineers who keep the systems running for businesses and schools every day.

You probably don’t think about what computing can possibly do, nor how it can improve how you work, but our consultants do that all the time. It’s their job to geek out over the changes in the world of tech and then work out how to make your businesses and schools work better. That’s the role of a good IT Director. They should challenge and move you to working better with less money/effort/time.

When you think about an IT Director, remember at least this one thing: you want more than just a Captain Obvious (your server just ran out of hard disk, you need a new disk… ok, Thanks Captain Obvious!) An IT director should be pushing you to spend… on the investments that will return the best value for money, and they should be looking at least 3-5 years ahead.

Most small to medium businesses can’t justify hiring a full time IT director and unless you’re a MAT, schools can’t afford to pay for an IT director instead of, say, more teachers. That’s why an outsourced IT Director makes sense.  They meet with your senior leadership team monthly and review what you are doing, suggesting how to improve with fully costed business cases. They can also then govern the delivery of those projects.

If you are ready to improve what you do, contact one of our consultants today.