5 must reads for the weekend

We keep our ear to the ground for the interesting stats, insights and discussion points you need to feel in the know.

1. What’s happening in EY’s space tech lab?

An aerial shot of a train at sunset, speeding through the countryside.

“Space Tech has evolved at the same pace as smart phones. It just hasn’t been in the palm of people’s hands – so they aren’t familiar with its power,” says Anthony Jones, EY Space Tech Leader & Oceania Assurance Innovation Leader. Today, satellite-mounted sensors are gathering deeper, granular and more varied data than ever before. Earth observation tools can detect changes to soil minerals, vegetation types, emissions, water quality and even the slightest deformation to the Earth’s crust. We can even measure the growth in a stem of rice to determine the right time to harvest. We can watch vegetation grow, water pool and cities expand. The EY Space Tech Lab was established in 2020 and since then has amassed more than 150 use cases for space tech, across a wide range of industries – including rail. “Rail operators don’t need to fly helicopters or drones or send out maintenance teams to investigate every single issue on foot. We can see every square metre of the Earth down to a resolution of 30 centimetres. That’s the power of satellite data,” says Neal Johnston, EY Oceania Partner, Transport Leader.

How insights from Earth observation data can optimise rail operations

2. Has the meteoric rise of AI made you anxious?

A young man with a cityscape reflected on his face.

AI is now in the hands of the workforce. More people than ever are directly exposed to AI – and the sentiment is largely positive. 90% of employees say their organization uses at least one AI technology, according to recent EY research. Most of these employees say they believe AI will make them more efficient (82%), more productive (81%) and able to focus on higher value work (81%). But, almost as many have concerns about the technology. Their concerns center around AI making certain jobs obsolete (75%). Other concerns include the quality of AI outputs and the speed at which AI is being adopted. In a world of rising misinformation, deepfakes and malicious hackers, people are increasingly worried about the unintended consequences of AI. They feel it’s all happening too quickly. But, there are clear steps businesses can take to reduce anxiety and help employees…

Businesses can stop rising AI use from fueling anxiety

3. The world needs women-owned businesses

A young Asian woman speaking on her phone, in front of trees and large, modern office buildings.

It’s really that simple. But the market itself continues to hold women in entrepreneurship back from delivering on their promise and unleashing their full potential. Something has to change – and fast. Women in entrepreneurship are dismantling barriers, overcoming hurdles and driving progress through sheer grit and passionate determination, that much is certain. Take Bobbie Racette for example. A woman who faced a world of bias applying for jobs. Bobbie is a Cree-Métis woman who identifies as 2SLGBTQ+ but no one, it seemed, would hire her. Through her job search, she noticed a gap: online administrative services were predominantly offshore. So she decided to do something about it and built a local offering herself. As the founder of Virtual Gurusshe has developed an inclusive platform that now employs more than 1,100 people reflecting a kaleidoscope of backgrounds, experiences, genders, identities and orientations. She’s one example of so many remarkable women making an impact on the world. Discover more stories just like hers…

How one woman’s vision can create a business masterpiece

4. Weathering the storm

In a business landscape where change and uncertainty are the only certainties, navigating the storm in 2024 requires a careful balancing act. But what does that mean for businesses? EY research suggests that this requires a balance between short term priorities and long-term value creation. Entrepreneurs must be prepared. High-performing entrepreneurial businesses today are thinking ahead. This means monitoring and planning for what might be coming and getting ready for what’s next. These businesses have undertaken scenario analysis and planning of geopolitical, economic, technological, ecosystem and climate developments among other concerns. But their adaptive strategies don’t end there.  They’ve also embedded the ability to respond rapidly to fast-moving and unpredictable events, regularly assessing their operations and what might be lacking to achieve their growth ambitions. For entrepreneurial businesses to break free from the rollercoaster of continual strategic reprioritization, one thing is clear – embodying agility, flexibility and resilience is paramount.

What entrepreneurial businesses should look out for in 2024

5. Artificial intelligence is more than a “buzz phrase”

AI engineers work together in a lab, creating a new electric turbine

…and is set to have a deep and wide impact across the industrial sector. In fact, forty-nine percent of advanced manufacturing and mobility companies have fully integrated AI-driven product or service changes into their capital allocation process and are actively investing in AI-driven innovation, according to the EY CEO Outlook Pulse Survey. But that’s not all. By 2030, 96% of companiesare expected to increase manufacturing AI investment. That’s a significant forecasted increase. Despite this projection, AI deployment faces a complex set of challenges, spanning from strategy and supply chain to people and Information Technology (IT). So, which steps can companies take to ensure they’re using AI effectively? From setting up an AI taskforce to understand its value to aligning your AI strategy to anticipated future events to name a few. We explore the five ways AI can be deployed effectively.

How can AI unlock value for industrials