In the run up to Connected Britain, Total Telecom spoke with Rashik Parmar MBE, Technical Executive – Europe IBM Distinguished Engineer, IBM, to find out about the latest trends affecting the industry

What trends are you noticing in the industry at the moment? 

Surviving and thriving with the disruptions fuelled by advances in maturing technologies of Cloud, AI, Blockchain and IoT is the primary trend in the market place.

Strategies fall into two groups. Using these technologies to defend their market position and remain competitive. Alternatively, learning from and emulating the digital native disruptors commonly referred to as the “FANG”s.

At the heart of these strategies is using the data to create new experiences for clients, partners and employees that address the problems or challenges they face. As a simple example, if you consider the experiences of calling for a taxi prior to Uber, the customer had little or no view of the likely arrival time of the taxi. The modern Taxi apps now show the exact location of the taxi, the current traffic conditions, along with an accurate arrival time.

These disruptions are expected to see a major shift in labour and economic activity, estimated at $7.5tr over the next 20 years. Advances in AI such as brain inspired computing, and embedded intelligence are likely to accelerate some of these changes, with the need for ethics to be front and centre of AI’s development and use.

Business leaders need to prioritise their investments in technologies to ensure they delivery on the primary outcomes required to support these strategies: Increase the overall productivity of employees; Reduce process cycles times to increase business performance; Make effective use of all the information available to increase the predictability of business outcomes



What are your main activities and areas of focus here in the UK?

Our focus is in helping clients with the digital disruption initiatives. Clients are selecting technologies and projects related the following six areas: are working with us to implement technologies in the following 6 areas:
i) Digital Process Automation – building on investments in BPM using AI to achieve new levels of productivity and performance
ii) Hybrid Cloud – creating new cloud native applications to support disruption ambitions and leverage existing IT investments. Here are trying to create those new magical client experiences.
iii) Transform the IT organisation to agile and DEVOPs to accelerate the delivery of IT systems
iv) Building next generation data insight platforms and systems, leveraging all data available to optimise decision making
v) Developing a security immune system to cope with the never ending cyber threats. The experiences with Wanacry and Petcha are all too painful for many and they want to address any vulnerability.
vi) Creating ecosystems or partners or start-ups that use their published APIs to provide services to under served clients.

Is enough being done to fast track Britain’s move towards full fibre, gigabit capable connectivity?

Each country, city or business needs to decide if they want to be a disruptor or be disrupted. Use this to determine the required IT and connectivity infrastructure. The Akamai Internet Report reveals the UK is 15th for average internet speed and 26th for peak. This clearly shows there is scope for improvement and acceleration of the gigabit programme would be valuable. We also need to do more in developing the skills and business capabilities to use gigabit connectivity to increase competitiveness. Investments in Gigabit could be used to fuel growth in rural areas and address the productivity gap we see in parts of Britain. In addition we need ensure we have the digital infrastructure build on the connectivity infrastructure ( The historical “build it and they will come” strategy is not accepted by leader and they want to see evidence that that the investments will deliver the expected returns before they are willing to invest.



What predictions do you have for the next 10 years? What will Britain look like in 2028?

IBM annually creates a “5 in 5” that highlights the 5 technologies that are expected to change lives in the next 5 years . Quantum computing is likely to have helped find new ways to optimise the systems we depend on for our daily lives and help eliminate more of the wastage. The biggest change in the kind of employment and we can expect routine work to be replaced by automation. The human creativity will result in new kinds of employment that we refer to as new collar jobs. Jobs that are focused on achieving a defined outcome and often payment will be tied to success of the outcome. The jobs will be based on new kinds of business models that are built on new industry platforms. So will this result in the much anticipated increase in leisure time? Somehow, I think the pace of change will continue to accelerate and as our jobs will also be changing at an increased rate, our leisure time is not likely to increase.



Rashik Parmar MBE will be giving a plenary address at this year’s Connected Britain event. Entitled "Unlocking the potential of Connected Britain", the address will look at the ways in which emerging technology trends and societal challenges can be addressed. Click here for a full agenda and to find out how you can be part of the show.