Winning at the Crossroads of Technology and a Future-Proof Mindset

Harris Chan

Chief Technology Officer, ST Engineering

A platoon of soldiers creeps into the enemy’s desert compound, weapons at the ready as they prepare to breach the building. As the point man knocks down the door, the rest follow without hesitation, their movements drilled to precision. With lethal efficiency, they take down the enemy.

This battle is taking place digitally. The soldiers are indoors and plugged into Augmented Reality (AR) devices. By combining AR and Artificial Intelligence (AI), individual military performance can be assessed. This allows customised training programmes to be devised for each trainee.

The fundamentals of military training have largely remained unchanged for thousands of years.

But technology is upending norms – and not only in the military.

In the last decade, technology has been the greatest disruptor of all industries. It has revolutionised operations and altered consumers’ behaviour. Companies that do not keep up are falling by the wayside.

It may be difficult to change after decades of working the same way. But, when facing a crossroads between mindset and technology, we must make the two paths merge.

How? By shaping a future-proof mindset – one that allows us to keep an open mind about tech applications and continue pushing boundaries.

Here are five ways to shape a future-proof mindset.


In today’s world, data is the new oil. But it is useless unless we align it with knowledge and take actions for defined purposes or outcomes. We need to extract the relevant data and use it the right way.

For instance, companies can use data for predictive analysis that allows them to be proactive rather than reactive. Prescriptive analytics give companies a range of prescribed actions and always keep them one step ahead.

It is also important to simplify the process for users by federating this data, which creates a database that combines data across multiple sources into a single common pool.

Companies should also be open to using data analytics at an enterprise level, by tapping on the ecosystem to see how data on one platform can be used to boost another. I strongly urge companies to think about employing AI-powered digital platforms to apply data on a holistic level.


Beyond its functionality of mere connectivity, we are in an unending race towards smarter connectivity. We are in the evolution moving from the Internet of Things (IoT) to the Internet of Everything, where we can enjoy multi-protocol connectivity, even higher bandwidth and ultra-low latency.

Moving forward, companies should be open to deploying a unified IoT platform that supports everything – able to tap onto data across everything and connect through all modalities.

Having a unified platform facilitates analysis and allows us to connect our services anywhere and anytime.

Imagine. When sensors are deployed across an integrated estate or within a smart building, utility meters and infrastructure, lighting, public safety and environmental solutions can be sensed and optimised with advanced communications and cross-domain data analytics to benefit the residents. Not only we will reduce our carbon footprint, we can also potentially generate valuable insights to make better informed decisions, innovate and improve operational efficiencies.


Of all technologies bringing about waves of change, cloud technology is the tsunami of disruption. For instance, it has completely changed the infocomm technology sector.

Companies are now employing DevOps when it comes to the development process – one that allows for an increase in applications and services at extreme velocities, reducing their implementation timelines from weeks to just days.

We are also seeing an evolution of mainframe computing to edge computing – where computation and data storage can be found in individual devices rather than being compiled in a central system. This reduces latency and time.

Tech giants like Amazon and Google are now employing cloud technology through the use of Software as a Service (SaaS). These are business models that have evolved alongside technology. Likewise, companies should explore the possibilities of having cloud management platforms, and study how cloud can interplay with other technologies such as IoT and 5G. The potential is limitless.


Over the years, we have also seen how technology has changed learning processes. These days, it is all about having 3D simulations, AI assistants and smart tutors in the classroom.

The realism through augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D simulations enable learning and collaboration in an immersive environment across diverse disciplines that span beyond the design of products. By combining learning science and machine learning, we can use AI without constraints to identify individual proficiencies and gaps of trainees.

As an outcome, individuals will constantly progress and advance in their skill sets at an accelerated, personalised way, and the collaboration within the organisations can be further scaled up in a safe yet smart manner.


As companies adopt technology, the key concern will be security. But as technologies improve, so will the mechanisms that protect them.

From elliptic-curve cryptography solutions to triple data encryption, we are now progressing to developing quantum encryption, which will literally take millions of years to break.

The notion of automated systems have also elicit much fear. However, we can also counter and build autonomous systems-on-chips (SoCs) within products. For instance, installing SoCs within autonomous vehicles allow for real-time detection of threats and aggressive deployments of security responses. This is definitely a space to watch.

Ultimately, it is vital that companies break out of fixed mindsets when it comes to applying tech. By taking a human-centric approach and staying true to our purpose to grow and breakthrough, we would then look at technologies with a different lens – beyond its mere functionality – by asking how the technologies can advance your journey further.

We must continue to push boundaries, think long-term and keep investing in our R&D capabilities. Only then can we keep reaping the benefits.

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