Eruptions and Disruptions

If you’re fascinated by disruptive forces of nature like I am, you’re probably tracking the big disruptive event happening in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on the big island of Hawaii. One of its five volcanos, Kilauea, has been spewing out lava, disrupting life near the quaint town of Pahoa. It’s one of the most active volcanos in the world and has been erupting steadily since 1983.

The new violent flare-up in early May caused magma to push more than 10 miles downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island. The advance of lava couldn’t be stopped and has destroyed entire neighborhoods, engulfed automobiles, and ironically, taken out a geothermal plant built to harness the power of volcanic activity bubbling up from the Earth’s core.

If we equate this disruption to technology and one of the most disruptive forces of all time – the Internet – we see another unstoppable force: Data. About 10 years ago, the core of the internet was transformed forever. Before then, the majority of data, and “traffic”, on the internet was created by people…it was an IoP…an Internet of People. Data flow was not an issue.

Soon we realised this network possessed untapped potential. Why limit data to only what we as humans could generate – by typing? Why not connect the millions of sensors and machines and devices that exist in the world to the network, creating an IoT… an internet of things?

It’s turned out to be an eruption that couldn’t be held back or controlled any more than the lava flowing from the crater of Kilauea. It’s become overwhelming.

And while this flow of data has been heralded as the greatest achievement in human history, promising efficiencies and productivity and safety at mind-blowing levels, in the short term it’s had somewhat of the opposite effect – the gap between data generation and data usage is growing exponentially wider – every day.

We need an accelerator to close this gap and put data to work for us. This has been the driving force of our research and innovation efforts for the past few years – the cumulative result of which is an enormous leap forward we call Xalt. It’s a framework for accelerating our customer’s ability to harness all data simply, even autonomously.

In fact, the goal of Xalt is to create Autonomous Connected Ecosystems, a state where data is connected seamlessly through the convergence of the physical world with the digital, and where intelligence is built-in to all processes.

This not only transforms more data into actionable information for users, but also brings active knowledge to the entire ecosystem through autonomous processes and communications between machines.

There are many so-called “IoT platforms” out in the market today. They remind me of the geothermal plant on the flanks of Kilauea, trying to contain the power of the planet’s molten core.  Unlike these platforms, Xalt works differently, moving with the data, harnessing it and directing it in a way that taps the most critical IoT points of leverage: enterprise integration, cloud orchestration, data visualisation, built-in mobility, intelligent edge connectivity with artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere.

And most importantly, we’re leveraging Xalt’s framework to build the foundation underneath all of our solutions, so it comes standard.

The promise of the IoT has always been data, but the challenge has always been our ability to put it to use. Now, with Xalt, our customers can put it to work to do its greatest good – a disruption far more powerful than the eruption of new data we will continue to experience every day.

This is Hexagon. This is shaping smart change.

Ola Rollén

Ola Rollén has served as the President and CEO of Hexagon, as well as a member of its Board of Directors, since 2000. As President and CEO, Rollén is responsible for driving the company’s growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions that continue to transform Hexagon into a leading global provider of information technologies. Prior to joining Hexagon, Rollén held the positions of President of Sandvik Materials Technology, Executive Vice President of Avesta-Sheffield and President of Kanthal. He also previously served as a board member of Vestas Wind Systems A/S. Rollén holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.