By Eimear Dodd, freelance journalist/writer

Artificial Intelligence, biometric security and quantum computing were some of the topics discussed at this year’s Fujitsu Forum. Over 12,000 people were expected to attend the two day event which took place on 8 and 9 November at the Internationales Congress Center in Munich, Germany.

The theme of the event was ‘Human-Centric Innovation: Digital Co-creation’. Tony O’Malley, Fujitsu Ireland CEO, explains that human-centric innovation is about “putting the user, the customer, at the centre of technology. We feel technology is a force for good provided people are put at the centre when it comes to designing solutions.

One of the best ways to do that and our preferred approach is through digital co-creation… What that essentially means is through collaboration both with customer – the business side not just the technology side – and using our ecosystem, bringing our partners in. They can be partners we traditionally work with or they can be new partners who, due to the nature of what the customer is trying to achieve, we might be working with for the first time.”

Over the two days, there were opportunities to network, attend thought leadership keynotes as well as expert talks and breakout sessions.

The press briefings covered topics including cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), digital transformation and quantum computing. The cybersecurity panel discussed why it’s business-critical to prepare for possible cyber threats by developing strategies to protect and defend essential business data.

In terms of IoT, the discussion emphasised how the technology allows for a real-time dialogue between people and things. This in turn created opportunities for increased automation and the development of artificial intelligence. One of the IoT case studies highlighted collaboration between Fujitsu and Slingeland Hospital in the Netherlands. Patients wore two small sensors which allowed for continuous monitoring of vital signs. This information helped medical staff to improve quality of care.

There was also an opportunity to hear from Fujitsu’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Joseph Reger, who talked about AI, machine learning and the potential of quantum computing. Dr Reger talked more about the implications of quantum computing during his keynote address at the forum.

The Demo Centre

The forum also contained a huge exhibition space. The ‘Demo Centre’ contained some of Fujitsu’s technologies and service solutions alongside some of their collaborations with partners. The area was divided into five zones:

•Infrastructure for the Digital World,
•Enabling Digital,
•Hyper-Connected Business,
•Cyber Security and
•Mobilizing the enterprise.

Each zone contained many exhibits which highlighted technological services and solutions for retail, digital workplaces and financial services. The technology covered automation, machine learning, robotics, virtual reality and IoT wearables for employee safety.

For example, the Cyber Security zone contained a functioning security operations centre or a ‘SOC in a box’. Inside a modified shipping container, cybersecurity experts were carrying out real-time threat assessments and deploying defensive and preventative counter-measures.

Other exhibits looked at biometric security applications such as Fujitsu’s PalmSecure Application. Irish Tech News later got a demo of this contactless authentication system that uses biometric technology to identify users based on vein pattern recognition. The experience would not have been out of place in a science fiction story. The sensor reads the hand vein patterns and unlocks the device only if it identifies the vein pattern that corresponds to the appropriate user.

A Japanese ICT company, Fujitsu provides a range of technology products, solutions and services. It has a global workforce of around 155,000 people based in over 100 countries.

In Ireland, the company employs around 350 people with a further 1,000 staff employed in Northern Ireland. Fujitsu’s client base is in the Irish public and private sectors.

“I think Fujitsu is one of the best kept secrets in the industry in some ways” said Tony O’Malley, Fujitsu Ireland CEO, “and I think an event like this helps remove some of the myth around the brand. I think people are genuinely surprised at the depth and breadth of our offerings and our products.”

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