CXTech Week 42 2021 News and Analysis

The purpose of this CXTech Week 42 2021 newsletter is to highlight, with commentary, some of the news stories in CXTech this week. What is CXTech?  The C stands for Connectivity, Communications, Collaboration, Conversation, Customer; X for Experience because that’s what matters; and Tech because the focus is enablers.

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Covered this week:

  • The Great AI Reckoning
  • Vonage Buys Conversational Commerce Startup
  • TADHack South Africa Winner: Maftuha
  • Marquis de Geek’s TADHack Global 2021 Review
  • Gavin Henry and SentryPeer
  • People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

The Great AI Reckoning

The IEEE Spectrum ran a special report on ‘Why is AI so Dumb?’ It’s one of the best written pieces covering AI’s 70 year evolution. It’s well-worth reading all the articles, and a welcome dose of sanity to the blathering in trade press articles.

Some articles reminded my of the points raised in the TADSummit Asia keynote, Mindful Connections, by Sami Mäkeläinen, on the brittleness of systems and the importance of slack. It also highlights the importance of understanding uncertainty around decisions, and that human intervention is will remain necessary.

“Just about every successful deployment of AI has either one of two expedients: It has a person somewhere in the loop, or the cost of failure, should the system blunder, is very low.”

An Inconvenient Truth About AI, IEEE Spectrum, Oct 2021

I’ve made this comment many times: AI, big data failed, so let’s have another go and this time blame the software (AI) not the data scientists.

Machine learning is working quite well for some problems, just like big data is. What’s happening is we’re learning where is works, where is does not, and how big the gaps are on whether current state of the art in machine learning will close those gaps anytime soon.

Vonage Buys Conversational Commerce Startup

Following a long list of such acquisitions: by Zoominfo, DeepAffects by RingCentral, by Twilio, and Voicea by Cisco. Most of these are acqui-hires in my opinion.

We’re only just scratching the surface in understanding conversations and being able to do something useful with that understanding. At TADSummit EMEA Americas next month we’re going to hear some important work from Thomas Howe. But more on that soon…

TADHack South Africa Winner: Maftuha

Due to Covid19, schools and universities were forced to move to online learning overnight. There are a multitude of platforms being used for online examinations, classes, information and communication with teachers and students, however there isn’t an App that hosts all the above in one single Application.

Furthermore, there are challenges around students cheating in online exams with additional monitors attached to their PCs, while other students are known to pay their friends to write their exams. This is common due to a lack of student identification and monitoring of students during online exams.

Maftuha is a single Application which provides the solution. Maftuha is an Arabic word meaning open, simple and easy to use.

Marquis de Geek’s TADHack Global 2021 Review

Thank you to Steve Goodwin for the excellent feedback on TADHack Global 2021.

Gavin Henry and SentryPeer

Gavin will be presenting SentryPeer at TADSummit EMEA Americas next month, sponsored by AWA NetworksAutomat BerlinSTROLIDRadisys, GoContact, and Broadvoice.

People, Gossip, and Frivolous Stuff

Simon Woodhead is now CEO at Simwood Futures Limited (seems to involve gambling in crypto, renewable energy and rural diversification) and Executive Chairman of Simwood Group.

Grahame Davies is now CEO at Simwood Group plc

Erik Lagerway has founded at stealth crypto startup.

Chee Teoh is now Director at NeoCyber Services. I’ve known Chee since his time at Bulldog Communications in the UK. Wow, that’s nearly 2 decades ago.

William Chia is now Director of Product Marketing at Osano

Price Shoemaker is now Senior Director, Product Management at Groupon. Price is a TADHack winner!

Shishir Garg is now Director, Partner Development at CoreStack. I’ve known Shishir since his time in Orange.

Larrison Kevin Agbo is Business and Technology Consultant at Digalance. Larry introduced me to some excellent beers in Lagos 🙂

Eric Macioszczyk is now Full Stack Engineering Manager at Cognizant

Dave Moeller (TeleSign, MITTO) is going back to school, though the bigger news is he’s going to be a dad!

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