Automation has certainly increased efficiency and productivity, but machines with only fixed, automated functions are not capable of dealing with changing real-world situations. In the autonomous future we are empowering, tasks, work processes, entire operations and industries will be able to adapt intelligently and autonomously. Smart, ecosystem-wide solutions will dwarf the impact of recent disruptions like Internet of Things and Big Data.
Increased connectivity through 5G will accelerate our ability to capture and process data. This is powerful, but we need the ability to leverage this data autonomously. Otherwise, we will be incapable of keeping up with the increasing gap between the amount of data being created and that being put to use.
Hexagon is a global leader in sensors, software and autonomous solutions that are driving digitalization in the geospatial industry. So, it’s incumbent upon us to continue developing technologies that push the boundaries of what is possible. We are committed to further innovation in reality capture, analysis and visualization that will put data to work for better results, no matter the application — from construction sites, infrastructure projects to entire cities.
Innovation is a pillar of Hexagon’s business model, and we will continue to invest heavily in R&D as we have for decades. In the past few years, 10-12% of our revenue has been reinvested in research and development. We have nearly 4,000 patents registered to our business units and have nearly 4,000 employees in R&D across the world.
We are committed to empowering an autonomous future where humanity can thrive sustainably. That means investing in today with a vision for a better tomorrow. That also means looking at innovative technologies that will help our customers perform well, while having minimal impact on the environment. We believe that these two things go hand in hand — by putting data to work to help our customers boost efficiency, productivity and quality across any application, we will do good for the planet as well.
In today’s day and age, companies can simultaneously ensure innovation and privacy. Truly innovative and transformative companies always have the user and customer in mind, so these two concepts are inextricably tied to each other. To suggest that innovation can be achieved without considering privacy would be to suggest such innovation is achieved by deceiving the user or customer in some way. To me, that is not innovative.
I think a company can gain its user/customer’s trust by providing solutions that put data to work in a way that clearly supports sustainable growth — both economically and environmentally. We hear a lot about advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, edge computing, mobility and interoperable systems, and the promise they have to solve many of our problems. The challenge is delivering on these promises, but those that do — and do so through transparent and ethical business practices — will earn the trust of the industry.
Trade tensions and other geopolitical factors undoubtedly are affecting how the industry approaches strategy and planning. Unfortunately, it is unknown at the moment how much these factors will positively or negatively impact the economy. We must continue to plan, knowing uncertainty is on the horizon. Fortunately, that is how we conduct business every day, no matter the situation. Our mission to empower an autonomous future that sees humanity thriving sustainably will continue to guide everything we do at Hexagon.
Since we are not in control of many factors, we must continue to move forward, anticipating the potential challenges before they affect us and adapting when the unexpected happens. We can build a sustainable future regardless of the economy we are dealing with. The ability to combine sensors, software and autonomous technologies helps industries and governments of all types and sizes create Smart Digital Realities. These digital replicas of the physical world allow us to see what was and what is, and to understand what could be, what should be and what will be. This combination of data capture, data intelligence, and ultimately, data leverage is the foundation for a more efficient, productive and sustainable future using fewer resources and creating less waste. The core objective of our business is innovation.
The good news in our business is that there is no shortage of people interested in learning about and working in technology. The biggest challenge is ensuring we have a diverse workforce by all accounts — demographic, geographic, psychographic, etc. The future of technology is the future of humanity, and we need to be sure that our workforce reflects the people we aim to serve. Since Hexagon works in critical ecosystems spanning manufacturing to mobility and cities to nations, that means pretty much everyone.
The pace at which technology is advancing requires us to do both upskill and reskill. We have to combine the valuable experience brought from our existing workforce with fresh thinking and new ideas brought in from the next generation of technology workers. Companies and industries which are able to strike this balance will be the most successful.
Autonomy will change the way humans work, but it will not mean the end of work for humans. The faster we embrace this and work together to leverage our unique skills and perspectives across generations, the better equipped we will be to handle the challenges of the future.