Event Highlights: Bloomberg Technology Summit (London)

Bloomberg Technology Summit

September 28, 2022

By Bloomberg Live

The Bloomberg Technology Summit in London brought together Europe’s business leaders and policy makers, entrepreneurs and innovators, founders and investors to discuss solution-based strategies to create a model that fosters growth and innovation in a world grappling with social, economic and political transformation.

Click here to view the Special Breakfast Session. 

Click here to view the morning sessions.

Click here to view the Special Lunch Session.

Click here to view the afternoon sessions. 

Speakers included:

  • Katherine Ainley, CEO, Ericsson UK & Ireland
  • Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber and Intelligence, Mastercard 
  • Raman Bhatia, CEO, OVO Energy
  • Ebru Binboga, Director, Data AI & Automation, IBM Technology, UK and Ireland
  • Tania Boler, Founder & CEO, Elvie
  • Howard Boville, Head of Cloud Platform, IBM
  • Joseph Bradley, CEO, Tonomous
  • Dr Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, XR & Senior Metaverse Producer, Decentraland Foundation
  • Edward Cooper, Head of Crypto, Revolut
  • Jon Davies, Head of Digital, Three UK
  • Sophie Dembinski, Head of Policy and UK, Ecosia
  • Aicha Evans, CEO, Zoox
  • Renaud Feil, Founder & CEO, Synacktiv
  • Daniel Folkman, SVP, Business, Gopuff
  • Poppy Gustafsson, CEO, Darktrace
  • Irina Haivas, Partner, Atomico
  • Hermann Hauser, Co-Founder & Venture Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners
  • Will Hayter, Senior Director, Digital Markets Unit, Competition and Markets Authority
  • Adriana Hoppenbrouwer-Pereira, Co-Founder, The Fabricant
  • Jack Howell, CEO, Zurich Global Ventures
  • Julie Kainz, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners
  • Morten Kjaersgaard, CEO, Heimdal Security
  • Frederike Kaltheuner, Director for Technology and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch
  • Simi Lindgren, Founder & CEO, Yuty
  • Ellen Moeller, Head of Europe, Watershed
  • José Neves, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Farfetch
  • Geoffrey Perez, Head of Luxury, Snap
  • Tom Pey, CEO & Founder, Waymap
  • Emily Prince, CEO, Yield Book & Group Head of Analytics, London Stock Exchange Group
  • Sandeep Raithatha, Head of Strategy, Innovation & 5G IoT, Virgin Media O2 Business
  • Thomas M. Siebel, Chairman & CEO, C3 AI
  • Window Snyder, Founder & CEO, Thistle Technologies
  • Tom Stafford, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, DST Global
  • Peter Vincent, Head of Connected Systems, Scania R&D
  • Sreeran Visvanathan, Chief Executive, IBM, UK & Ireland

Bloomberg Moderators:

  • Jillian Deutsch, European Tech, Media and Telecom Reporter, Bloomberg
  • Lauren Kiel, General Manager, Bloomberg Green
  • Francine Lacqua, Editor-At-Large & Anchor, Bloomberg Television
  • Nate Lanxon, Technology Editor, Bloomberg
  • Ivan Levingston, European Technology Reporter, Bloomberg
  • Tom Mackenzie, Anchor, Bloomberg Television
  • Rachel Morison, Team Leader for Power, Gas, Renewables in Europe, Bloomberg
  • Emily Nicolle, Crypto Blogger, Bloomberg
  • Nicola Porter, Executive Editor for Middle East & Africa Studios, Bloomberg
  • Jordan Robertson, Cybersecurity Reporter, Bloomberg 
  • Olivia Solon, Technology Editor, Bloomberg
  • Brad Stone, Author & Senior Executive Editor, Technology, Bloomberg
  • Amy Thomson, Technology Team Leader EMEA, Bloomberg
  • Giles Turner, Managing Editor, European Technology, Bloomberg
  • Alex Webb, Correspondent, Bloomberg Quicktake

Event Highlights:

Special Breakfast Session: Building a Customer-Centric Business With AI & Data

Ebru Binboga, Director, Data AI & Automation, IBM Technology, UK and Ireland talked about  IBM’s “three truths” for AI success and revealed the results of an extensive, global AI index study involving more than 7,500 companies, and its “surprising” findings. “While we have seen this increasing adoption rate, 90% of the companies admitted that they are struggling to scale AI. However, the good side is that 72% of these executives thought that they will definitely automate their processes and workflows in the next two to four years.”

Asked to define AI, Simi Lindgren, Founder & CEO, Yuty, recalled Oxford classroom hours spent struggling with it. Streaming content recommendations, as an example, are “narrow AI.” What she is looking forward to is “general AI,” “the one that I wish was around was if my son asked for the Paw Patrol theme tune again, and Siri would turn around and say, ‘No chance, we’ve heard it fair a few times’.” On customer service, Lindgren described using customer data to make real-time recommendations, and creating synthetic data to consistently drive that personalization experience. 

Emily Prince, CEO, Yield Book & Group Head of Analytics, London Stock Exchange Group compared AI to the discovery of fire and learning to deal with the risks. There have been catastrophic failures, and remarkable achievements, such as climate risk modeling, but it’s not a cure-all. “I don’t know that we want it to answer all problems and I think we are learning this.”

On AI solution investment trends in the EMEA, Prince said there is a broader view and cross-industry learning. “It’s fascinating the conversations we’re having now because we’re pulling up examples of use and application of AI in completely orthogonal segments.”

AI’s abilities do not meet expectations in customer service, said Jon Davies, Head of Digital, Three UK, which has millions of interactions each month. The level of sophistication chatbots offer is not to the promised level, and initial attempts to pass them off as human failed. “There is no scenario where we can see switching off all of that human interaction. The art is finding the sweet spot which you pivot from that automated experience over to the human experience.”

Asked about what they might have done differently had the pandemic been predictable, he said the “tidal wave of demand” for digital interactions highlighted where scaling up was needed. There was much opportunity for growth in those channels, but it remains fluid as customers “flex back to human interactions.”


European Tech: Navigating the Next Boom 

Investment activity is significantly below the level seen last year, and in their entire 12-year history, said Tom Stafford, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, DST Global. He added that they are driven by the performance of their portfolio and company. Of the ideas, capital and talent needed for VC, the latter is the most important. Last year’s deals were larger – by 30-80% – n\egating the need to raise this year, but Stafford believes it’s a mistake to not raise funds this year in anticipation that next year will be better. 

Julie Kainz, Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners said there’s an interesting game to play. On the one hand, you don’t want to slow down too much and not be able to catch up again to ride the next wave. On the other hand there is a need to be prepared for the recession to last longer and make deeper cuts than anticipated. “It’s a challenging time, mentally and emotionally. We try to connect newer investors with those who have been through it before.”

There’s no denying it’s a recession, said Hermann Hauser, Co-Founder & Venture Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners. “I’ve seen four of these cycles, and the story’s always the same,” he said. listing a concentration on cash and a correlation in a venture year with a recession with a positive return. He said, for the first time in history, European VCs are getting better returns than those in the U.S. He spoke to the macro outlook and said that Europe is “snapping at the heels of the UK.” 


Mastercard Sponsor Spotlight: Supercharging Trust in Today’s Hyperconnected World

Asked about what keeps him up at night,  Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber and Intelligence, Mastercard  cited cybercrime. He said it is becoming an industry which is expected to reach a “mind-boggling” cost of $10.5 trillion by 2025. Mastercard is using AI and other advanced technology to assure consumers that “no matter where you are, physical world, digital world, that our customers can enjoy a seamless, safe and secure experience.”


AI’s Wild West and Opportunities 

Panelists were tasked with sorting AI fact from fiction.

On accusations that Darktrace is over-hyping its product’s capabilities and its characterization as “AI snake oil,”  Poppy Gustafsson, CEO, Darktrace said it’s “deeply irritating to hear unfounded criticism, but it’s the nature of being a public company.” Darktrace went public 15 months ago. Validation comes from their 7,400 customers; companies that want to see Darktrace working in their businesses. As for potential ethical concerns about AI’s profiling, “I think AI is brilliant at augmenting the human in the system, but it’s not giving a definitive answer. AI is really good at digesting a whole bunch of information, then intelligently saying, probabilistically, these are the key things that you should be spending your time on,” she said.

The world of AI is divided into three parts, per Thomas M. Siebel, Chairman & CEO, C3 AI. AI, he said, has the capacity to think on the same or greater level than humans. The dark side is “when your smart refrigerator takes over your house. But I don’t think you need to worry about that anytime soon. The largest computer we have right now has the mental capacity of a mealworm.” 

When applied to social circumstances, AI can make predictions about people, and can flag them as unreliable workers or prone to violence, which can lead to discrimination in the workplace, according to Frederike Kaltheuner, Director for Technology and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch. “But where we work – disasters, war zones, the border – the suspicion, or being flagged as aggressive, deceptive, can really harm people’s lives.” The use of AI can be insidious, “because we are increasingly surrounded by systems that make assumptions about who we are. The proof then falls on us to correct those systems, but we’re dealing with systems that are inaccessible to those being affected,” he said.


In Conversation with Farfetch Founder & CEO José Neves

José Neves, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Farfetch expanded on the meshing of technology and retail, particularly in the fashion industry, for which he was developing software at the age of 19 in his native northern Portugal. “I’ve always been fascinated by how these two worlds would come together and how tech could foster this part of culture. It’s part of the mission of Farfetch.”

Neves spoke about resiliency, the fashion industry getting over its fear of technology, dissolving barriers between digital and physical shopping and AI’s role. “In fashion, the sales experience is the same as it was in the 90s, except for the way you pay. The biggest opportunities are there.” 

Tonomous Sponsor Spotlight: Lifting the Lid on Cognitive Cities

Joseph Bradley, CEO, Tonomus began the conversation with an announcement: that his company is changing its name from Neom Tech & Digital to Tonomus. He said he was excited about showing the world what it really means to transition from “smart” to “cognitive.” In terms of cities, “Smart cities often sacrifice human-centricity for efficiency. In cognitive cities, it’s all about the humans. It’s about establishing relationships and creating a 360-degree learning loop.”

Bradley spoke to the “very important” question about the role of data in the cognitive ecosystem which helps transform the vision into reality. He said it is the first time in history that a digital twin city is being built at the same time as the physical city. “Where it really gets cool, they also intersect one another. I can actually show up in NEOM as a hologram.” NEOM is an ambitious, futuristic mega city being built in Saudi Arabia.


Into the Metaverse

The panel dove into what fashion in the metaverse will look like.  

The Fabricant took us  back to their work in the metaverse in 2019, to a time “When nobody understood it, ” said Co-Founder Adriana Hoppenbrouwer-Pereira. “When we talk metaverse, I always say it has two sides for me. It’s immersive and a new media type. It’s another way we will be able to express ourselves. The other way is blockchain, that allows us to own products and transact those products. The combination of the two is now very well understood in the fashion industry.”

On brand perspectives, Dr Giovanna Graziosi Casimiro, XR & Senior Metaverse Producer, Decentraland Foundation said now is the time for experimentation. “We ‘re just trying to unlock creativity in many ways, and the metaverse is the next generation of that.” On cultural transformation, she said, “I do feel in the future our physical clothing will be triggered and expanded by animated elements. That will be just a normal thing in 10 years.”

Geoffrey Perez, Head of Luxury, Snap modeled the company’s new augmented reality glasses, calling them part of what Augmented Reality and fashion are trying to create together. “It’s the reality of humans with that added layer of computing. We truly believe that the next computing platform is going to be experiences, and we need to be at the center of that.” As to Snap’s unique perspective of not using ads on Bitmoji, Perez said they are very cautious about how it’s marketed. “We collaborate with brands, but we are not selling outfits there…not yet. I‘m not saying never.”


Zurich Insurance Group Sponsor Spotlight: Using Technology to Innovate for the Future

 Jack Howell, CEO, Zurich Global Ventures spoke to how technology and data are changing how work is done in the insurance industry, including improving customer service by embedding technology in operations, and, “more interestingly, changing customer behavior and expectations.” Referencing the prior panel on the metaverse, he said the industry needs to ask how it can be part of that conversation.

An example of needed change is making sure they’re embedded in the customer journey, such as a customer being able to buy travel insurance from the same place they buy tickets. Around cyber, “It’s really important that we are there from the beginning, to understand the customer’s risks and help mitigate them.”


Leaders with Lacqua Goes Green

Aicha Evans, CEO, Zoox explained why they don’t call their autonomous vehicles cars. “From an engineering standpoint, the architecture of a car is around a human driver, the hood, the windshield, even the seating arrangements, so the people seated around the driver don’t bother them.” But the robotaxi, basically a passenger compartment on wheels, does not accommodate manual driving. “So, we want to make sure that mindset, that shift, that distinction is clear.”

Moving forward, the issue is about testing. In the U.S., an average of 40,000 people die annually in motor vehicle accidents, Evans said. That’s mostly due to human error. That said, drivers in the U.S. log a remarkable 100 million miles per fatality. “It takes a lot of testing, a lot of statistical math and forecasting to meet and beat that number, because we try to be better than humans.”


The Rise and Fall of Crypto and Web3 in Tech

On trends over the last year, as crypto went from bull to bear market,  Edward Cooper, Head of Crypto, Revolut stated that they’ve always had a belief in the future of crypto. Looking back on the bull runs of 2013, 2017 and 2021, “You tend to see a lot of euphoria, then a lot of funding, then a lot of companies form, some of which have good business models and some of which don’t.” When the tide goes out, the survivors are actually helped by the bear market, which “acts as a forcing function to structure their businesses to be extremely efficient and hyper-focused on adding value for users.” He compared it to the dot.com boom, then bust.

As a VC investor weathering the impacts, Irina Haivas, Partner, Atomico said their underlying thesis is that crypto is a trend that is here to stay, that it is transforming the tech world and taking the same trajectory as other technology that people were initially skeptical about. There are a lot of opportunities where things need to happen, especially in Web3, but it will also take its course.  “Twenty years ago, I couldn’t go to an 8-week coding course and start coding. Now I can, because there is that infrastructure which allows a wider range of developers and people to enter the system. The way we will drive adoption is not only by more people wanting to do the hard work and learn, but also by making it easier.”

Special Lunch Session: Redefining Business Opportunities with Limitless


How have we evolved with IoT, and where are we going?

New low-power, wide-area network technologies are scaling IoT ahead of what 5G will do, helping more businesses unlock their digital transformations, said Sandeep Raithatha, Head of Strategy, Innovation & 5G IoT, Virgin Media O2 Business. “We’ll start to see that change and impact on people’s lives, our communities, and making places much more sustainable, as well.”

IoT and connected technologies allow for monitoring and analyzing energy use for client companies, who often request further information as they see the value and sustainability impact. “There is much more maturity and understanding of the data,” and many more requirements requested upfront. “Clients need to see clear KPIs with benefits of operational efficiencies or sustainability before they invest.”

Raithatha also spoke about working with British Sugar in its transformation, “a great example of going from a small trial and a proof of concept, and explaining about the benefits to then really rolling it out at scale,” e-waste recycling, what he wants to see his peers doing, and sharing ideas. “It’s definitely not a one-way street. There’s a great collaboration where you can share your sustainability plans and goals and then learn from each other.


Driving 5G is a combination of business value and sustainability, according to Peter Vincent, Head of Connected Systems, Scania R&D, who said electric trucks are their next step. The challenge will be in sourcing clean energy and “understanding where customers can electrify, in which transport and what time frame.” With more software engineers now than hardware engineers, Scania is transitioning into more of a sustainable tech company. Coordination and scaling up, even of those leading the charge, is essential. “We have 5G, electric vehicles will come. The question is; How do we combine the different parts into values, and who’s going to do that?”


Katherine Ainley, CEO, Ericsson UK & Ireland said that in terms of sustainability goals across Europe, 800,000 electric trucks will be needed, with about 400,000 charging points. “You start to get a sense of how central connectivity will be to solving the problem.” Also part of the bigger picture is the infrastructure that encompasses so many different organizations, plus governments and regulators. “It all needs to snowball on. The infrastructure won’t get built if it’s not used.” On learning from 4G, Ainley said, “The countries that embraced 4G quickly got ahead. Europe is lagging behind Asia and the U.S. on 5G rollout.”

They discussed the “trailblazers” and the enterprise majority who need to catch up, policymakers, who they think will set a low bar, Europe’s technology abilities, and the situation five years out. Vincent expects EV saturation, with parts of London closed to vehicular traffic and investments in renewables the norm. Ainley said 5G will be everywhere, “taken for granted.” Its biggest impact will be in increasing safety and efficiency in high-risk and expensive jobs.


IBM Sponsor Spotlight: Technology-led Transformation in a Changing World

Sreeran Visvanathan, General Manager, IBM, UK & Ireland offered perspective on what is happening right now and all of the “external factors that are going to make every single industry and organization.” “How we change is up to us,” he said.  He spoke to the dichotomy between startups and business operators who grew up in the digital age .


In conversation with Raman Bhatia

Raman Bhatia, CEO, OVO Energy offered a compelling look at what’s happening in the UK and discussed what it will take to move more residents toward sustainable energy use. In a country where generally poorly insulated homes lose heat three times faster than homes across Europe, it’s going to take a reduction in demand, but that must be done smartly. Connected smart meters and thermostats present an opportunity to make a difference right away.

“Electric heat is an urgent imperative,” Bhatia said, noting that 80% of homes still have gas-powered boilers. And although sunshine is at a premium there, “Less than 5% of UK homes have solar, making that a large potential.”

Reinventing Consumer Tech

Panelists agreed that retail platforms are around to stay, but offered different perspectives. While Tania Boler, Founder & CEO, Elvie, said there is a need for constant reevaluating of value chains and linking products, Daniel Folkman, SVP, Business , Gopuff, pointed to “a little company named Amazon” that just invested tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure, pushing back against the third-party marketplace model and creating a blueprint for the future. “If you don’t own anything, how do you make money?” he asked. .

On taking losses during the pandemic, “Anyone can sell a dollar for 99 cents, Folkman said. “Covid accelerated the breadth of our exposure to consumers. Categories are where we were able to expand and where we saw success.”

“Component shortages in the aftermath of Covid were brutal,” Boler said, explaining that creating a larger price mix was the answer to changing buying habits.


Tech for All

An app that does not rely on a mapping app is how Tom Pey, CEO & Founder, Waymap summed up what his company offers. Its development started with designing for the most difficult users, the blind, with complex approaches used by the military thrown into the mix. An algorithm uses cell phone sensors and stride measurements to know where an individual is and predict their next move. To convey the impact the app has on lives, Pey, who is blind, said it’s about independence, like no longer having to ask his wife to take him to the grocery store. “It knows if you are in the coffee aisle or the wine aisle, and if you’re looking at red wine or white wine.” 

Washington D.C. is about to become the first city in the world using the technology for a truly inclusive public transportation system, and it’s the basis for extending into other areas, such as dementia care. 


Ericsson Sponsor Spotlight:  Connectivity Meets Climate Action

On connectivity and climate change, “We’re working to break the energy curve,” said Katherine Ainley CEO, Ericsson UK & Ireland, adding “if we embrace connectivity and all the benefits that come with it we can have a disproportionate impact on the world around us”. The company is already on its journey towards Net Zero, aiming to reduce its carbon emission by 50% by 2030 with a net-zero goal of 2040. To reinforce the message Katherine noted a practical example. She said Ericsson has re-developed a factory in the U.S which has reduced its energy usage and cost by 24%. It is engaging with customers to “inspire and innovate and help tackle the biggest issues around energy.”


How Green is Tech’s Future, Honestly?

A poll that showed 93% of workers don’t think their companies are doing enough to control their environmental impact was the jumping off point for this panel. 

Measuring an enterprise’s carbon footprint begins with digging down to the raw data to determine its  emissions. “Once you have that, you can start making changes,” said Ellen Moeller, Head of Europe, Watershed. “Companies are often surprised by where there are hotspots in their business, like payment processes.” They also may not think about change as the result of growth, acquisitions or country expansions. 

“Transparency in storytelling is what keeps us true to our mission,” said Sophie Dembinski, Head of Policy and UK, Ecosia. That means that sometimes the tree counter – which tracks the impact of the search engine’s ad click plantings – goes down, because not every tree will survive, and they need to keep it totally honest. At about 150 million trees, they are still growing. They have 20 million users and partners – “we can’t do this alone” – who understand the value proposition.  “It’s free, it’s accessible, and it really speaks to people,” Dembinski said.  


The Regulatory Update

 Will Hayter, Senior Director, Digital Markets Unit, Competition and Markets Authority spoke about the DMU mandate of making markets work for businesses, consumers and the economy, and of a draft bill in parliament that would enhance their abilities to design remedies that are effective, allow the enforcement framework to be more collaborative and create a more level playing field for business competitors. “With the move to digital, we need to be able to think harder about where it might be going and how it might affect future competition,” he said.


Evolving Cybersecurity Landscape

Supply chain software security is one of the fastest-growing areas in tech, and one of the hardest to solve. A prevalent problem is lack of resiliency, according to Window Snyder, Founder & CEO, Thistle Technologies. Companies need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and coming up with security that’s insufficient for the threats, using components that can remain in place for decades. “We won’t be able to catch up, nevermind be resilient. We are offering technology to allow companies to leapfrog into a better posture.”

Howard Boville, Head of Cloud Platform, IBM spoke to fourth-party risk. The vendor that’s delivering the capability to you and the infrastructure on which it sits can be very opaque to the consumer, “So we’ve moved to a situation where we’ve got a very fragmented supply chain and more opacity. It’s more difficult to actually peer into these environments to understand where your risk is. But the important point within this is to not go too far on the risk side. It’s important to also understand how you can continue to embrace ERS innovation,” Boville said.

Renaud Feil, Founder & CEO, Synacktiv said it’s much cheaper to attack a company than protect it, and that hacking teams are larger than security teams. He explained offensive security by talking about a hacking competition in which one of their teams chose to break  into Tesla.. On open source software, 1% of the code base is written by the users, while 99% is, in a way, supply chain. “It’s a library, a code written by someone else. And, of course, it’s very difficult to ensure that 99% is secure.” 

An open-source WiFi monitoring library, written by Intel, was the vulnerability used for the Tesla hack. “I’m pretty sure the Tesla security team, which is quite good, had a look at those devices, but the vulnerability wasn’t in their code. It was actually in a provider’s, in the supply chain open-source system they are using.”

Embedded trust. It’s what makes device users accept security updates without a second thought.  Morten Kjaersgaard, CEO, Heimdal Security, said they check embedded updates, and also try to teach their customers how to do it, including checking for compliance certificates. He referenced the SolarWinds and CCleaner cyberattacks. “It’s a supply chain breach, and the way we check is we leave it in the box for three to fours hours and we let it run, but you can’t expect customers to do that, not with hundreds of updates coming in per month.” Infrastructure and devices have to be designed with the expectation they are going to be compromised. “But the real question is, what does it mean for the rest of your organization? Is this installed on every single device in the organization? Compartmentalization and segregation are our strategies that have worked in the security context from the very beginning.”

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