Key themes of Think Milano 2019

For six days from 21st to 26th June, Milan was transformed into ‘The City of Technology’ as thousands attended an unmissable Think Summit held to celebrate the official opening of IBM Studios in Piazza Gae Aulenti.

Offering an exotic mix of insightful speeches and interactive laboratories, it gave every attendee the exciting opportunity to explore and even experience the most innovative cloud and AI technologies.

Friday 21 June was a day dedicated to the start-up and business partner ecosystem, while also including a seminar on digital’s fundamental role in environmental protection and sustainability. ‘The Ecosystem Story Challenge’ brought together a number of speakers including Francesco Casa (Ecosystem Partner Director IBM Italy) and Cristiano Carriero, a storyteller divulging the secrets of creating inspired presentations.

Similarly, developers were called upon to participate in a Call4code hackathon and consider how open source technologies can mitigate the tragic effects of natural disasters through enabling easier access to healthcare, while Filip Invancic (Co-founder & CEO AI-Patch) introduced the first AI Virtual Assistant for patients.

Naturally, other matters were also discussed, with a panel featuring Ginni Rometty (Chairman, President & CEO of IBM) exploring the necessity of digital reinvention, whereas speakers such as Sebastiano Saccani (Lead Data Scientist Aindo) and Luca Altieri (CMO Director of Marketing IBM Italy) focused on machine learning, encoding information in the network, and quantum computing.

Over the weekend, the entire area was opened up to families and children, featuring a Focus Junior Lab, Digital Detox, Focus Thinkering Lab, and even a chance to relive Apollo 11’s flight via Virtual Reality.

Monday dawned with the official opening of the new IBM Garage studios, with Enrico Cereda (President & CEO IBM Italy) confidently declaring, “We need physical spaces where we can all work together – partners, customers, and IBM itself – on exponential technologies such as Cloud, IoT, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity…an iconic place where we can stimulate innovation, co-creation, and co-development.”

This was swiftly followed by an ‘IBM Garage and Strategy & Design Lab’ in which speakers such as Stephanie Trunzo (Global Head IBM Garage) and Nico Losito (Director Cloud & Cognitive Software IBM Italy) took their audience through the multiple advantages of combing skills, platforms and technologies in a creative context.

“At IBM Garage we don’t just develop solutions, we help companies transform,” Stephanie Trunzo said as she underlined the importance of the methodological approach in governing change, adding that, “our main objective is to accompany companies in a path of change that is primarily cultural; approaching, experimenting and adopting a technology are decision-making aspects of a change that is much greater, requiring an organisational transformation of the business, of the people, of the way in which they work and interact with each other throughout the organisation.”

In both morning and afternoon sessions, ‘IBM Cloud: Tailored to Your Cloud’, along with the seminars ‘Experiential Paths’ and ‘The New Generation of Mobile Enterprise’, introduced several companies who’ve started with IBM on the evolutionary path towards the hybrid cloud. Marco Utili, (Director Systems Hardware Sales IBM Italy) shared strategies on utilising Infrastructure to accelerate business, and Alessandro La Volpe (Vice President IBM Cloud) expounded on the ‘mission critical’ preparations for ‘Chapter 2’.

“IBM Garage is not just a physical place,” Alessandro La Volpe explained, “but also a method by which, through co-creation and co-development of ideas and solutions, we help the companies to move from an idea to an experimentation and from an experimentation to a project of adoption/ production on a corporate scale.”

Tuesday was dedicated to the topic of security, with attendees at ‘Protect Your Business from Cyberattacks’ and ‘VMware: Making the Cloud Secure’ hearing how it is increasingly necessary to counter attacks on ever shorter time scales through an integrated, collaborative approach. ‘Industry 4.0: Digital Innovation and Italian Excellence’ brought together a panel confronting the effects of digital technology on a whole ecosystem including people and everyday processes rather than being simply confined to industrial matters.

The astronaut Umberto Guidoni gave a motivational speech on a Wednesday focused on the theme of an ever-increasing intelligence, with ‘The Art of Knowing How to Change’ utilising customer testimonials to explore what the transformation into a Cognitive Enterprise entails, whereas ‘B2Human – What Future for the Intelligent Experience?’ set out digital strategies creating more value and a greater experience for customers. ‘Artificial Intelligence for HR: the Resource of the Future’ plunged even deeper into how artificial intelligence is revolutionising the interplay between humans and technologies.

Thinking things afresh; that was the key takeout at Think Milano 2019.

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