Letter from the Editor

By: Scott St. John

Data—and what we do with it—may be the final frontier for all of mankind. At its core, data is information. Information which has been digitized and, as a result, made instantly storable, accessible, and sharable.

Data is knowledge. Something so strong, once obtained, is virtually impossible to take away. It makes us smarter. It makes us better. It makes us capable of things we would not be able to do without it.

With data, we are building machines that build machines. Machines that can make independent decisions and do jobs that are impossible for humans to do. Data makes fly-by-wire air transportation, self-driving cars, and unmanned space travel possible. It’s helping to cure and prevent disease and extend the human lifespan.

Determining what we do with data from here will chart our course as a species. How we store, access, secure and share it will determine our character. How we harness it will determine our fate—and our generation will have to decide whether we use the power of data to build smarter medicine or weapons of autonomous warfare.

Over the last decade, we have seen an explosion of data and an evolution of what we do with it. We’ve seen the benefits when data is used properly, and the dark side of data when it’s misused. These lessons should guide us on our journey, as the responsibility of what happens next falls to us.

Chances are, if you are reading this article, your organization maintains mountains of data. The information you possess enables you to know your customer better than their closest friends and family. At any given time, you probably know your customer’s location, what they are doing, their social network, finances, personal interests, career experience, and the name of their best, high school friend or the name of the street on which they grew up. You have a wealth of information. You have a cornucopia of knowledge. What will you do with it from here?

As we have ventured down the digital path of data realization, we have mastered data capture and storage. We have become exceptionally skilled at data access and sharing. Today we are conquering data aggregation, visualization, and decisioning. We have seen the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the gradual adoption of it. We are just seeing the dawn of technologies such as Blockchain, which can be used to control access to data and systems. By next year, AI will be much more pervasive, moving beyond chatbots and into operations. We have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility. Now. Today.

In this issue of Pipeline, we look at how you can harness the power of data to transform how we live, work and communicate as a global society. We hear from Deutsche Telekom on how to build smarter homes. We learn how data makes us better and helps us make better decisions. We explore how data insights can improve the customer experience. And we learn how AI is being used to accelerate digital transformation, make better decisions, and improve network performance.  

We hope you enjoy this and every issue of Pipeline.

Scott St. John
Managing Editor


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