It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the apparent negative spiral that the Earth is experiencing when we talk about degradation of the environment, increasingly erratic and violent weather patterns and depletion of natural resources. There is no lack of statistics quantifying the extinction of species, the metric tons of carbon emissions, and the size of the plastic island floating in the Pacific Ocean. On a more constructive note, in the keynote speech kicking off HxGN Live 2019, Ola Rollén, president and CEO, maintained that reversing the current trend and saving the world may be the “best business opportunity that you’ve encountered throughout your career.” Since 71 of the top 100 polluters in the world are corporations, “the only way to change behaviors when it comes to mankind is to make it financially driven. That’s how the capitalist system works.”

A recurring and consistent theme at this year’s conference, held in Las Vegas June 11-14, was the necessity of using technology to alter our current trajectory, which some researchers predict will bring environmental conditions to the point of no return by the year 2050 if significant changes are not made. As Rollén said, “I think we’ve spent too much time admiring the problem, let’s find some solutions instead.” The challenge he presented is to use the technology we already have in smarter ways to improve productivity and efficiency, reduce waste, and pursue sustainability. He provided several interesting examples of how businesses are doing good things and making money at the same time.

The keynote speech by Hexagon Geosystems President Juergen Dold also emphasized the value gained from maximizing the use of all available data, whether it is ground penetrating radar to detect underground pipes or smart sensors feeding information to a building’s HVAC system. By digitizing all objects, particularly in 3D, we can apply artificial intelligence and data analytics to produce more reliable results. Dold highlighted the upcoming release of BLK2GO, a handheld 3D scanning device that provides surveyors with a faster mobile tool for capturing point cloud data that incorporates visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technologies. 

Continuing the message of using data to improve operational efficiency and proactively influence change, Mladen Stojic, President of Hexagon Geospatial, discussed how ecosystems create connections and generate data that support informed decision making. To efficiently utilize this data, Thermopylae Sciences and Technology, acquired by Hexagon AB in February 2019, developed technology that seamlessly blends raster and vector data from multiple sources to create rich information. Advancements in 2D and 3D data set visualization in the new releases of platforms Luciad V2019 and Enterprise leverage data to enhance situational awareness in real time and extend the understanding of what could, should and will happen in the future. 

HxGN Live 2019 issued a call to action, and as enthusiastic adopters of new technology, the mapping and surveying community plays an important role. Success will only be attainable by focusing on efficiency, productivity, quality and sustainability, and accurate up-to-date geodata supports better decision making and planning in all these areas. A focus on efficiency is already growing in construction, as well as manufacturing, retail, and distribution. The combined efforts are a step in the right direction toward reversing negative global trends.

Ola Rollén has served as the President and CEO, as well as a member of the Board of Directors, of Hexagon since 2000.As President and CEO, Rollén is responsible for driving the company’s growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions.