In the digital era, customers come first

In the digital era, everything can have a sensor installed. Organisations will need tools driven by artificial intelligence to analyse that data, not just to provide suggestions but make decisions themselves, all of which focus on the customer, says Brad Freeman, vice president, business and applications services, Fujitsu.

“It is easy to be focused on the internal organisation,” says Freeman, at a forum during the Fujitsu World Tour 2017 in Auckland. “The tools allow us to focus on the end customer more accurately.”

Richard Zwar, head of digital practice at Fujitsu, says the goal for organisations is to drive digital transformation in a way that is in tune with their unique needs, and to not just focus on the supply side of the business but the whole business.

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New tools allow us to focus on the end customer more accuratelyBrad Freeman, Fujitsu

He highlights three key areas in digital transformation.

First, is to “design everything from a customer perspective.”

Second, is to focus on connectivity, which transforms the business by connecting internal operations and external partners.

And third, artificial intelligence, which takes data analytics “to a new dimension”, Zwar says.

He favours hackathons that allow organisations to take a business problem “all the way in a couple of days.”

The key is to have diversity or a variety of people involved in problem solving, from organiser, thinker, hacker, catalyst to realist.

He says one such hackathon led to the creation of a ‘virtual carer for dementia patients’ at Twilight Aged Care in Australia.

He notes over half, or 60 per cent, of dementia patients tend to wander, and the group created a watch that ‘geofences’ safe areas for each patient.

These could be the house or the doctor’s office. When the patient leaves these areas, an alert that the patient is on the move is sent out to a loved one or a medical professional.

The watches can detect falls and alert medical authorities and families, so the patient can get medical attention.

Macquarie University, a partner in the project, mines the data to see how we can improve the solution, says Zwar.

Another case involved a state level justice department in Australia.

The challenge was the increasing cost of managing citizens on bail or community release, and complexity of managing them in rural or remote areas, says Zwar.

The solution was to call the person on a mobile device and using multi-factor authentication like finger, facial or voice recognition technology to identify who was being spoken to.

They are to be seen by a parole officer and to answer questions. They will also show the parole officer where they are and the people they are associating with at that time.

The parole check can be conducted this way, because the officer has a higher identification of who they are speaking with and uses a GPS system.

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During a hackathon, the key is to have diversity or a variety of people involved in problem solving, from organiser, thinker, hacker, catalyst to realist. Richard Zwar, Fujitsu

The parole officer can also geofence an area for an offender. For instance, the authorities can be alerted if a person involved in domestic violence gets too close to the family home.

Geofencing technology is also used to alert if a sexual offender is near kindergarten schools.

“We can automate this as we don't need a parole officer at the other end to schedule the call to individuals, where they can do multifactor authentication,” says Zwar.

“They have to answer a series of actions and only if they breach that call or do not do as instructed, is when a parole officer is notified.”

A third project involved the setting up of a network of ‘smart drains’.

In Australia, floods are the most costly disasters and a major contributing factor to these is blocked pipes.

Doing manual checks on drains is very costly, says Zwar. So Fujitsu worked with Downer EDI to develop a system putting sensors in one in every five manholes. The sensors monitor the drain network, and measure the flow and volume of water travelling through that network.

Thus, the system replaced manual inspection of drains with Internet of Things sensors, which provide real-time information for prevention.

“We only have to do maintenance prevention for drains that need it,” he explains.

Zwar says this also brought major savings in staff hours and maintenance.

Mike Foster, CEO, Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand, says the three projects covering dementia care, law enforcement and smart drains represent “digital co-creation in action”.

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6 digital transformation success stories