What if the future was Slow tech? This question when asked by a software publisher could seem somewhat incongruous even counter-productive regarding its own interests. However Berger Levrault is engaging with the concept, reflecting on its various applications in its fields of activity for the benefit of its customers and their missions for public services.
The aim is to combine technology and digital sustainability (technologies that enable a more ethical use of natural resources and greatly reduced ecological impact).
“Low-tech, high future,” is what the editors wrote in a report published in 2018 by Fabrique Ecologique. A vision that did not leave Berger-Levrault indifferent. The company has seized upon it and has looked deeply at its other aspects, confronting the philosophy of slow tech on the one hand, with the digital applications with regard to its business lines, on the other. From the low-tech movement, what has been retained is the pragmatic and simple reality of its techniques, as well as its singular approach to innovation. By adopting the notion of slow, as in a slowdown of the state of mind in both a positive and voluntary fashion, Berger Levrault can make better informed decisions, in accordance to a process of profound transformation. Afterwards by projecting both aspects into the digital word, the company properly considers how to reach an economic model that is ethical and respectful of the environment. As a citizen actor, Berger-Levrault is walking on a new path of progress that limits the effect of its products on the environment and the subsequent human consequences.
BL’s clients are business players, who are conscious of public interest of regulating and controlling their expenditures, on behalf of both present-day and future citizens. These actions systematically play a part in the long term. Digital technologies, on the other hand, have a very short lifespan, they are influenced by trends, which leads to people expecting novelty and shortened deadlines.
Confronted with these opposed expectations, Berger-Levrault has chosen to develop solutions that are sustainable and durable, easy to deploy, manage, understand and maintain. Based on the philosophy of Slow Tech, Berger-Levrault can distinguish useful evolutions from those that are futile, too expensive for the public sector or too damaging to the environment. The challenge for the Research and development teams is to provide innovations that are both real and that provide clear added value. The goal is indeed to improve the performance of the digital tools in an eco-responsible way.
Examples of this approach: ways to design, program, develop, deploy more energy efficiently. “Eco-designer” software is a way to rethink software architecture – Deactivating various memory resources, limiting bandwidth, reducing the CPU cycles…
Another area of application of “Slow tech” in the digital world: the use of Small data. Contrary to the Artificial Intelligences concepts, that is becoming prevalent today and based upon big data in order to train up the machines, Berger-Levrault is creating adaptive learning, a system of continuous learning that changes and adapts in real time, and is less greedy for data. An example of such is the pay error analysis engine that has recently been developed from a relatively limited amount of data. It already has a success rate of over 98%. Thus, small amounts of data have been able to develop a real artificial intelligence. Another example is from the maintenance sector: Berger Levrault has developed an artificial intelligence for luggage conveyor belts and based on the feedback of simple sensors is offering a real added value to its client.
Measuring the need, outlining the response, projecting evolutions, at a human level; taking the time to understand and thus allow the next generation to progress. A true challenge for public services.