Disrupting the Disrupters: Thriving in the Digital Age, Kevin Peesker at #CIOPeerForum

By: Yoko Onuma

How many of you are currently working on Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects? If not now, are you going to be within 5 years? Did you know Canada ranked 9th out of 10 countries in successful deployment of AI? According to a Forbes Insights report, the top challenges are lack of skills (54%), defining AI strategy (37%), and identifying use cases for AI (35%). How do Canadian business leaders overcome those barriers? Where do we begin? Kevin Peesker, president of Microsoft Canada, seemed to have the answers.

Kevin began by demonstrating the current and future real-world applications of Microsoft’s HoloLens. Combined with AI technologies, the potential of such technology is limitless. Remote technical assistant enables technicians to walk the site without being on location, to use their hands, eyes, and voice freely, and to troubleshoot in real-time efficiently and cost-effectively. The use of HoloLens in the image-guided minimally invasive procedures sounds like watching a TV show. It can be used by physicians to look “inside” in mixed reality and guide their actions.

An exciting both online and offline retail demo was made by Gladstone Grant from Microsoft Technology Centres (MTC). You can describe what you are looking for online by showing a picture (visual search), it tells you which location has the product that you want to try on, and when you are physically in the store, a kiosk greets you which already knows who you are and the purpose of your visit. All information in the chat is shared so that a kiosk can start smart advertising while you are in the store. For example: you may have mentioned that you like playing XBOX games, so how about a 10% off promotion upon a purchase of XBOX games while you are there? What if the kiosk can also show you the exact location for the product you want to try on and the promotional products?

How do we get started learning and developing with AI then? A good place to start is online with Microsoft, where they offer a variety of programs. Microsoft Professional Program for AI is completely free, and it has 10 courses that could be completed in 12 – 48 hours per course. For business leaders, Microsoft offers AI Business School to gain knowledge and apply it to your business.

91% of enterprises plan to use AI in the next 3 years; however, only 37% of them have started or are planning to start their AI initiatives in the next year, according to Gartner, 2019 CIO Survey. Why is that? There’s a talent and skills shortage in AI behind this. Some countries are planning to include AI to their education. We are in the era of AI technology.

About the writer:

Yoko Onuma is currently enrolled in the IT Project Management Post Graduate Certificate Program at Seneca College. She holds a B.Sc. Degree in Mathematics, and an Ontario College Advanced Diploma- Computer Programmer & Analyst.  Her professional experience has centered mainly in the areas of Web Application Development, Business Analysis, Quality Assurance and Testing. Yoko is passionate about launching a successful career in IT project management, where she can thrive because of acquired skills in dynamically tailoring her leadership and communication styles to a wide range of business situations and stakeholder personalities. During several years of industry experience in Japan and Canada, Yoko has matured as a very detail-oriented and goal-oriented professional. In her practice of Developing Web Applications as a freelance consultant, Yoko has discovered her areas of professional strengths and her great interest in Project Management, consequently has decided to endeavour her best efforts to acquiring both academic accreditation and professional certification in the discipline.

Besides her passion for Project Management, Yoko calls herself a “furry animal lover”; her friends call her a “crazy cat lady”. She volunteers at a Humane Society to serve “catsYoko”, in addition to her volunteering work at PMI-Toronto chapter.

You can connect with Yoko on LinkedIn here.