In his role as Director of IFS Labs Bas de Vos, is at the heart of driving innovation forward in our industry. So who better to talk to find out what technologies we should be eagerly awaiting and what is the process to take these technologies from cool ideas through to practical applications…
FSN: What are the three most exciting technologies that have yet to come fully to light that you and your team are currently working on?
BdV: Firstly it is augmented reality or mixed reality as I see it, secondly I would say that drones are still in there as well and the third one is something that we have been working on for some time that we keep coming back to – autonomous assistance. New ways of interacting with business applications – can I talk to my device? Can I chat with my device – it’s a very interesting subject. We have a prototype and we are going to researching and further developing that.
Whether it will be an IFS product one day, that is something that with Labs I can never say up front – but I see the development now in the consumer space with speech control like Siri and Cortana and on the other hand chat-bots for Facebook and Snap Chat etc it’s all very interesting, so we shall see.
FSN: Your team demonstrated a great example of Drones, IoT and FSM software all coming together at the last IFS World Conference – is that product ready to go or was it just a proof of concept demo?
BdV: Well, yes it is ready to go but it won’t be an actual IFS product – we won’t have the IFS drone product out in the market – definitely not.
No, what we wanted to do was demonstrate how companies who want to do stuff like this can do so through using our IoT business connector. Basically everything that we demonstrated at the World Conference in that session, the integration of drone technology, image capture and recognition and automated data analysis was made all possible through the IoT business connector.
FSN: How much of what you and your team do is about actually giving your customers the ideas of what is possible to allow them to innovate themselves?
BdV: If you look at the mission we have as IFS labs it is threefold. Firstly, we exist to guide, basically we do a lot of research. We don’t get to only do the cool stuff – so it’s not only playing with drones! We do a lot of proper research into database technologies etc. So we are there to guide the R&D teams on what we think they should be picking up and taking further.
Secondly, we are here to talk to influencers, to help explain to the wider world what we are doing at IFS and what the purposes of IFS Labs as a technology incubator is all about.
Then thirdly, and perhaps the most important part of the job for me is that we are here to inspire our clients to do more with their business applications. If you look at my work personally it’s an equal split across these core functions.
FSN: In general do you ever feel an urgency to push a project out whilst it may be still in Beta or do you think it is better to wait until the product is fully refined and completely free of bugs?
BdV: That’s a very good question.
First of all do I feel pressure to deliver IFS products around any given technology? The answer is always no and the reason for that is fairly simple. We are not here to compete with say Microsoft HoloLens in terms of technology. We will not be providing the actual AR technology ourselves.
What we need to do -which is part of the mission of IFS labs is to make sure that our business application is ready for when these technologies do become viable products.
What I mean by that is we need to be able to have an app ready to go on HoloLens to take advantage of that technology, or any other similar new emerging technologies.
Are we the guys that will actually create the technology? No I don’t think that is our core business and to be honest I don’t think that we would have the skill set to do that as well as others who are focussed on that area.
Our task at labs is to keep on monitoring the market and being able to leverage these exciting technologies once they are industry ready.