CEO Blog

OpenText World 2020—An Amazing Week

Empathetic technology, the sustainability revolution and the next generation of cloud innovation

It was an amazing week at OpenText World 2020. The innovation and inspirations ranged from our new domain clouds, the Great Rethink, the Sustainability Revolution and new empathetic technologies.

Below are some of my personal highlights from the conference:

  • Sustainability revolution keynote by Al Gore
  • Empathetic technology keynote by Dr. Poppy Crum
  • Record-breaking number of attendees, and fantastic demos and sessions
  • Release of Cloud Editions 20.4
  • Innovations in the five OpenText Clouds
  • The Great Rethink

It was my great pleasure to listen to the incredible keynotes by our guest speakers, Dr. Poppy Crum and former US Vice President Al Gore—and my even greater privilege to do a Q&A with them after their talks. Both of these experts blew me away with their insights into the human condition and our current reality, their intellect and ability to illuminate complex topics, and their passion for what the future will bring.

In her keynote on Monday, Dr. Poppy Crum, neurologist, technologist and the world’s leading expert on empathetic technology, shared her insights into the future of human evolution as we co-evolve with technology and enter a new paradigm—the era of the empath. Empathetic technology is coming, faster than we think. This does not refer to technology that can emulate human emotions; rather, it is technology that can detect the plethora of subtle biological cues that humans emit and use that data to better understand us and adapt to our needs. It relies on ubiquitous sensors enabled by AI, which we are already seeing in our smart homes, our devices and our public spaces.

The applications are endless, from extreme personalization to optimize an individual’s environment based on what they are trying to accomplish, to early prediction and diagnosis of diseases like Alzheimer’s (empathetic tech could notice Alzheimer’s symptoms an impressive 10 years sooner than current methods), to knowing more about each other and connecting in entirely new ways.

I also found it particularly enlightening to hear Dr. Crum speak on our current situation, where we rely on digital communications like video calls in order to connect with others. While these technologies have allowed us to keep in contact as would never have been possible before, they are also deeply flawed. They are exhausting us, forcing us to engage in unnatural ways and depriving us of most of the critical non-verbal components of communication. I was intrigued by the idea that perhaps a 3D virtual space, one we could traverse as Avatars, could be a solution—certainly something worth trying!

Q&A with Dr. Poppy Crum

As Dr. Crum said in her talk, technological advancement often comes with radical changes in human behavior. We are at the cusp of these radical changes today, and I cannot wait to see where this exciting field takes the next phase of human evolution.

On Tuesday, Former US Vice President Al Gore spoke eloquently, presenting us with a new frame of mind and posture of heart as we face some of the greatest crises in the world today—systemic injustice and racism, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change. Each of these issues are inextricably interwoven—as just one example, burning fossil fuels is a leading cause of climate change, meanwhile lower income communities are more likely to live downwind from such facilities and in more highly polluted areas, and such air pollution has been shown to increase the risk of infection and death from COVID-19. This is just a microcosm of the intricate ways these issues interact and affect each other.

However, Gore is optimistic. Like the problems, he believes the solutions can and must be linked. In fact, he went on to explain that we are in the early stages of a global sustainability revolution. 2020 is an awakening, a once-in-a-generation opportunity (and, obligation) to rethink, reset and redesign a sustainable recovery. And the solutions are available to us, in large part because of new digital and information technologies. The sustainability revolution will have the scale of the first industrial revolution combined with the pervasive impact and speed of the digital revolution. I am enthusiastic to see this revolution in action and bring OpenText’s technology to the fight.

In the Q&A, I asked about Gore’s Climate Trace project. Climate Trace collects data streams from a wide range of sources—in space, air-based, sea-based, land sensors, cyberspace—and combines it with advanced AI and machine learning to pinpoint every significant source of global human-made pollution. Expected to go live as soon as 2021, we will soon have a real-time, precise view into where global warming pollution is coming from, and which companies and governments must be held accountable. This unprecedented level of transparency will be a game-changer in the battle to solve the climate crisis and save our planet.

Q&A with Al Gore

As Gore urged, we have a mission to do our best to create a fairer and more just world. The will to change is, itself, a renewable resource.

Based on those two keynotes alone, I would call OpenText World 2020 a resounding success! But there was so much more to the event, on top of these excellent talks. We had a total of 11 fantastic keynotes, plus nearly 200 sessions, 140 breakouts and 50 hands-on labs. Our demo showcase was also a hit, featuring customer favorites like Content Suite and Extended ECM; Carbonite and Webroot Data Protection and Security; and AppWorks and Digital Process Automation, among many others.

With a remarkable turnout of over 7,500 attendees and 2,000 partners, it truly was the largest Information Management conference in the world.

OpenText World Highlights

Truly, there was so much to take away from this year’s event. Customers were particularly eager to hear about the enhancements and updates in our latest release, Cloud Editions 20.4—including new SaaS applications, cloud services, customer-driven features, connectors to leading business applications and much more.

OpenText Cloud Editions 20.4

OpenText Cloud Editions (CE) 20.4 is the most comprehensive and complete Information Management platform on the market.

Along with providing innovations across our entire technology portfolio, CE 20.4 marks the launch of OpenText’s five domain-oriented clouds, all running on the OpenText Cloud. We are 100% committed to delivering all of our products as a service.

OpenText Cloud Platform

The future of work is cloud. In the new equilibrium—initiated by the fourth industrial revolution and accelerated to lightspeed by the COVID-19 pandemic—cloud architecture is the only way to meet the changing needs of distributed organizations with the necessary agility, resilience and scale.

Content Cloud: CE 20.4 enhancements to Content Cloud include deeper integrations with lead applications like Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce, plus advancements in information governance that allow users to easily coordinate and validate records policy across repositories. New SaaS applications are also available, empowering customers with capabilities such as secure e-signature and information modeling.

Business Network Cloud: Key updates in CE 20.4 include a significant expansion of API Connectors to integrate Trading Grid with critical business applications, new applications that equip customers with actionable insights and even greater visibility into operations, and improved ethical sourcing and surveying capabilities for Global Partner Directory.

Experience Cloud: With CE 20.4, Experience Cloud offers new features to accelerate digital transformation, including more scalable personalization with AI-assisted communications design and authoring, new easy-to-use native tools for review and collaboration, and real-time speech processing and sentiment analysis to process live conversations and take contact center interactions to the next level.

Security & Protection Cloud: CE 20.4 brings features that simplify and streamline incident response to advanced and complicated threats, as well as enhancing support for data visibility, investigation and forensic tools—notably, with more capabilities aimed at securing remote, distributed endpoints off the corporate network.

Developer Cloud: Developer Cloud is brand new with CE 20.4, and includes consolidated access across all OpenText Cloud services so developers will have the tools they need at their fingertips, as well as a Developer Portal with resources such as training, blogs, code snippets and a developer community for knowledge-sharing.

That’s a Wrap!

Time to Rethink Business

Thank you for joining us at OpenText World 2020, it has been a great pleasure!

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Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText's Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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