Posted: 26/10/16

From digital ‘assistants’ to virtual data visualisation, the future of intelligent systems was on display in Croke Park recently at a showcase organised by the Science Foundation Ireland supported ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology.  Aimed at organisations from a wide range of industries looking to achieve more through digital transformation, the solutions on display included business intelligence, fraud detection, virtual reality, productivity, smart search and artificial intelligence.

The event, which saw over 200 guests attend, gave visitors an opportunity to get hands-on experience of these solutions that were grouped thematically around next generation social media and the web; data management and quality; technology-enhanced learning and eHealth; translation and localisation; and customer engagement and analytics. 

Opening the event Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, said: “Innovation is central to economic recovery and will increase in importance as digital technologies become ever more prevalent and embedded in every-day life. The Government has the ambition to increase total investment in R&D in Ireland, led by the private sector, to 2.5% of GNP and position Ireland as an innovation leader.  This increased level of innovation will require a concerted effort from centres of education and entrepreneurial commercial organisations. The ADAPT Centre is an excellent example of how such collaboration can lead to tangible research outputs.”

ADAPT Centre Director Professor Vincent Wade commented: “The ADAPT Centre’s research excellence is helping organisations gain a competitive advantage through digital content technology innovations.  This age of digital engagement requires much more than digitally enhancing traditional business processes; it requires a reframing of how businesses operate globally.  Our solutions are enabling organisations explore how digital transformation can work for them by improving customer experiences, enhancing operational processes and extracting business intelligence to make incisive commercial decisions and access new market opportunities.”

Attending the showcase Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy & Communications at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “The Adapt SFI Research Centre is collaborating with industry partners to develop intelligent solutions that enable companies, individuals and communities to make the most of their digital content by helping them to detect fraud, manage risk, personalise education programmes, and deliver multilingual customer care initiatives.  Science Foundation Ireland is delighted to support ADAPT - a world-class research centre that has the potential to have a significant impact on a wide range of industry sectors and societal needs.” 

The showcase event was built around the theme of Intelligent Systems where technologies such as Machine Learning and Neural Networks are used to programme computers to react flexibly and ‘intelligently’ to new situations.  Technological solutions developed by ADAPT with industry partners revealed the advances taking place in areas such as real-time intelligence, predictive maintenance, organisational insights, 3D visualisation, big data analytics, and digital content monitoring.  These innovations covered a number of industries including financial services, healthcare, retail, government, education and cultural heritage. At the event ADAPT showcased 30 next generation digital content technology projects.  

Futuristic Technology Now a Reality

In 2002 Steven Spielberg imagined the technology of the future in the film, ‘Minority Report’, set in the year 2054.  One of the most popular attractions at the ADAPT showcase showed how some of those advances were now possible. ADAPT’s novel visualisation of financial data called ‘Virtual Reality Minority Report’ allowed visitors the opportunity to explore how a large financial dataset could be visualised allowing the user analyse risk and identify suspicious activity using live data. Running on an iPhone using Google Cardboard or the Samsung Gear, the solution represents a step forward in computing solutions for engaging with and extracting insights from digital data.  The device allows the user interact with the data, identify relationships and patterns, and absorb information quicker than text based information.

Other highlights included:

• Delegates got the chance to see ‘Holmes’, a solution that allows investigators include data from social media to generate a complete picture of an insurance claim case by building a profile of all parties involved.  Connections between individual profiles are then mapped allowing the investigator generate a comprehensive visualisation of the relationships between all those involved in an insurance claim.

• ADAPT also presented a ‘Sarcastic Twitterbot’, a programme that learns what sorts of words and patterns distinguish sarcastic remarks or convey a sentiment that is inconsistent with the literal meaning.  

• The next generation of digital ‘assistant’ was introduced at the event.  ADELE is a form of artificial intelligence that can interact with its users personal information such as calendars and social media to create a more personal, engaging conversation.  This adaptive assistant is powered using technologies such as machine learning to tailor interactions based on the users personal needs.

Supported by the Irish government through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to the amount of €24 million, the ADAPT Centre is leveraged with an additional €26 million from industry partners.  The ADAPT centre already works with a range of respected industry partners including Microsoft, PayPal, Huawei, eir, Ordnance Survey Ireland, Brite:Bill and Deutsche Bank. The Centre is seeking opportunities to work with other industry partners in order to further diversify and strengthen its research, and identify new uses for the technologies that are being developed.

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