Digital Leaders China Salon Event: Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province

Written by Jim Lawler, Founder & Chairman, Digital Alchemist Consulting Services International Ltd.

The event took place on the wonderful West Lake setting in Hangzhou, which is known as the most beautiful lake in China. The Digital Leaders China event was held at the same time as world leaders gathered from around the world to listen to China’s multi-trillion dollars global Belt and Road initiative, which also brought an extraordinary excitement to our event.

I opened the event by reminding the attendees that the primary themes of the Digital Leaders Platform are; Digital Transformation; Leadership in a Digital Age; Leading Change; Leveraging technology for their social and economic benefits. These themes align perfectly with the Belt and Road Initiative.

China’s Global Initiative – One Belt One Road (B&R Initiative)

The principles of the One Belt One Road Initiative advocates harmonious cooperation, inclusivity, tolerance among civilizations, respects the paths and modes of development chosen each country, and supports dialogues among different civilizations on the principles of seeking common ground while shelving differences and drawing on each other’s strengths, so that all countries can coexist in peace for common prosperity.

The Belt and Road run through the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, connecting the vibrant East Asia economic circle at one end and developed European economic circle at the other, and encompassing countries with huge potential for economic development. The Silk Road Economic Belt focuses on bringing together China, Central Asia, Russia and Europe.

While the One Belt One Road Initiative focuses on the infrastructural aspect of this vision, the Global Digital Leaders Platform can enable the right skills and to ensure that the right technologies enable the delivery of the B&R Initiative. To understand more about the B&R Initiative please click here.

Everest Research Group: Yugal Joshi, IOT Practice Director: IOT Market & Implementation Challenges

The first discussant lead was Yugal Joshi Everest Research Group, who beamed in from India for our event, who talked about the growth and trends associated with the IOT market and he shared with us that there was a four-fold increase in IOT projects which were now reaching the production stage and that the primary focus of these projects was to improve process optimisation. The total IOT Market is projected to increase by two and half fold over the next three years. The key sectors adopting IOT were manufacturing, energy and utilities.

Yugal also shared the key purposes for companies implementing IOT is to drive innovation. This approach is being enabled by learning and adopting best in class practices from adjacent industries. Some of the key aspects associated with the growth in IOT were to enhance predictive analysis, reliability, risk management and to implement 4.0 Industry Standards.

The Everest Research Group suggests that there are four types of IOT adopters; Integrators, Innovators, Engagers and Optimisers with the latter two being the predominate types with the following top 5 sectors leading the IOT charge

  • Manufacturing
  • Energy & Utilities
  • Health Care & Life Sciences
  • Retail, distribution & CPG
  • Travel & Transportation

Yugal then went on to describe the key challenges in implementing IOT those being articulated as follows:

  • Ecosystems
  • Investment
  • Security
  • Infrastructure
  • Platform
  • Data Analytics
  • Sensors
  • Network connectivity providers

Solution Centric, Joseph Smith: Innovation in Education

Our next DL China discussant lead was Joseph Smith. Joseph has worked in China for circa 18 years, during his time in China he has worked with IBM, Accenture and Huawei.

Joseph highlighted innovation challenges, the first being creativity; that means providing something new that customers want or need. He then went on to describe the second challenge being nurturing the right type of education. That is the ability to visualise the overall picture and to understand the multiple technologies and methods required to achieve a solution or a result.

Joseph emphasised the need to dramatically speed up the learning process and questioned why when the equipment software cost and innovation cost is approaching zero, then why is the education cost so high and not approaching zero? Education at a low cost but also delivered in a convenient manner. His main point was that modern society is now used to consuming information in minutes not hours therefore education needs to recognise this reality and deliver an enhanced education which is also fun and enjoyable.

Joseph gave the example of teaching executives about machine learning; he went on to say that the same approach used to teach executives could be used to teach 12 to 14-year- olds. “If you can explain something simply then it makes sense to everyone”.

Joseph believes this new kind of education and innovation can provide a competitive advantage to the individual, to the school, to the company, to the province and maybe to the country. Especially if it is low-cost, convenient and easy to consume.

Joseph summarised his point by saying if technology and software are already at the level where we can achieve smarter things for only 1 to 2 US dollars, why can’t we break the same barrier with education?

Thank you to our sponsors for this event First Century and Smart Sense


IOT represents a major opportunity to fuel growth and to create new business models. However IOT needs to overcome some key potential hinder factors; they include the feeling that the market has a plethora of products which may be considered as truly overwhelming and that they are futuristically unproven therefore do not have a proven sustainable value.

Innovation in education needs to become a number one priority to address the growing resource and cost pressures being faced by the education system, wherever you are in the world. We need to harness innovation and the tools of IOT to break the barriers facing the education system.

If you want to register for the next Digital Leaders China event in July / August please register here:

Chinese Registrants

English Speaking Registrants

If you wish to become a sponsor of Digital Leaders China please contact us:

James Fintain Lawler: [email protected]

or Jim@the-digital-

or Joseph Smith : [email protected]

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