Meetings No 19
Intro
Artificial Intelligence
Atti Soenarso: AI is soon an everyday commodity.
Cover Story
Anders Sörman-Nilsson
Gazing into the future of the meetings industry.
Intermission
Europe is not a market
It is the will to live together.
Radar
Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre
“Our vision is to create Europe’s most attractive venue.”
ROI
Padraic Gilligan
Why ROI for meetings and incentives is a waste of time.
ROI
Elling Hamso
Why ROI is not a waste of time.
Radar
ICC Sydney
An important contributor to innovation.
Strategy
PCMA
Radar on penetrating the ­European meetings industry.
HR Technology
The Rise of AI
Rohit Talwar and Alexandra Whittington: On AI and HR.
Sustainable Growth
GDS-Index
Scandinavian sustainability initiative expands.
Intermission
In a Hole
Lending a hand.
Radar
ICCA
Record number of association meetings in 2016.
Collaboration
Best Cities Global Forum
“Unlocking the collective intelligence.”
Sharma
My 23 Best Tactics for Personal Greatness
Robin Sharma: “Protect your willpower.”
Radar
Technology and Meetings
Tech is key in creating purposeful meetings.
Radar
IMEX Frankfurt
Packed with opportunities.
Cyber Security
The Anti-Cloud
Jaak Geens and Linas Bukauskas on geens.com.
Kellerman
Cyber vs. Personal
Roger Kellerman: “Now is the time to improve online security.”
classifieds
news
the convention industry
Paris back as number one
in the city rankings for international congresses.
Africa Meetings
Africa Rising
in the ICCA statistic 2016.
business Intelligence
Saudi Arabia to launch into MICE sector
worldwide by exhibiting at IMEX in Frankfurt.
New position
Aoife Delaney
new Director of Marketing and Sales at DMC Network.
Redefining meetings
Sarawak goes tribal
to boost business.
Hotel world
Asias ultimate destination,
Signiel Seoul Hotel opens in the worlds new landmark.
Business Intelligence
Ottawa Tourism
sees large business events bookings up 220% in Canada’s 150th year.
meetings creates events, events creates meetings
Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre
in Gothenburg speeds up plans to extend facilities.
Aviation Industry
Swedish Aviation Tax to Cost 7,500 Jobs,
Conflicts with Global Carbon Agreement.
NEW
Successful trials lead IMEX in Frankfurt
to fully-fledged roll out of Zenvoy networking service.
Links
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Geens & Bukauskas
The simple act of going online these days opens you up to cyber attacks that can come in the form of deploying data-stealing malware on your system, deceptive and dangerous middle-man attacks leading to all kinds of infections, and many other guises, all with potentially crippling consequences. The allure of free, public Wi-Fi is an especial hazard for your data and personal security – banking information, passwords, birthplace, social security number, address, your browsing history … the list is endless. It seems that for the moment there is no absolute cyber security for regular people. It could, however, be on its way.

As abstract as they may seem to most people, cyber threats can never be discounted and a successful cyber security professional has to understand a wide range of technological application, be intellectually curious and also be trustworthy. We met Jaak Geens, Director of Strategeens and Dr. Linas Bukauskas, Vice Dean at the University of Vilnius (Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics), who are together developing the geens.com platform that could be the next major advance in cyber security.

“In these times of elevator pitches (i.e. ’explain in a minute what you are working on’), limited tweets or text messages, trying to quickly tell you what we aim for with geens.com is a nice challenge,” says Jaak Geens. “The platform is an environment that is totally yours; it is privacy itself, it is the anti-cloud, it empowers you and gives you all the decision power to show and to know what you want – completely anonymously.”

“Moreover, the whole concept is set-up by you becoming a member of it: geens.com is a European Non-Profit Organisation (NPO). By law, you can become a member, similar to a shareholder in a ’profit’ organisation. Our bottom-line is a highly professional environment – a guarantee for your privacy and owned by you. No hidden agenda – no strings attached; but also conceptually so designed that misuse is prevented and key.”

In boardrooms intelligent people have traditionally got together to brainstorm and learn how to manage the respective behaviours and feelings. Nowadays social media and any kind of app is designed to learn from your online activity and the data generated then used to give you a better service or, increasingly, stream a product that you might need.

“You’ll be happy to get an offer for that pair of shoes that you always wanted, or even to find that shampoo that deals with your unpredictable hair, but most people also feel a bit offended when some kind of spy tool decides that you have a lazy eye or that because your father had hair loss a machine is suggesting pills against it for you,” says Linas Bukauskas.

“The platform works via an app that you have to install on your smartphone, has its own database and is installed physically and working ’offline’ on your device. Data is timestamped, backup and encrypted on the main server, but there is absolutely no way for anyone – other than you – to find out from whom the data is, unless you want to open well defined information to some external source.”

The app collects all of your medical data on your phone (input by yourself), which is then complemented by external input from, for example, health institutions or wearables, information that is ’scrambled’ every time before reaching your app and vice-versa. Your medical records are therefore always in your pocket, or, as the initiators like to say, ’it’s all in your jeans’.

The starting point of the platform is an offer of vast potential on the basis of holding sensitive information, which is why they have set-up an ethical committee in the NPO. The committee members are a mixture of guardians of society, including professors of famous technology institutions, who safeguard the members’ ethical and privacy principles. If any concern about the principles arises the ethical committee can be contacted directly. Yet a cocktail of sensitive information and an ethics committee begs the question of just what kind of potential the platform can actually offer.

“The first goal is to offer you the power over your most intimate data and what it can tell you about the virus you caught last week, for example, or the one from years ago,” says Jaak Geens. “It is a data science tool and big data is a big issue. People are open to the right solutions and want to know – or don’t want to know – about everything that can be done with health. The platform doesn’t focus solely on diseases, but wants to advise you as a person, not as a patient. All kinds of data collected will give you advice on what to look for, what to follow-up, where to go and whom to go to.”

“If we make the right anonymous database and enrich it permanently with the newest technologies, you will get the best solutions and information – again with no strings attached,” says Linas Bukauskas. “Geens.com will not work with just user forums, but enrich these with the best technologies all the time. Needless to say, there is a huge need for objective and key information, which are all reasons why we decided to set up this concept.”

Whilst getting the concept up and running has required amassing considerable amounts of important and confidential information, this material could at the same time prove highly valuable to a number of companies, some of which may not be so keen on having an ethical committee in place.

“Absolutely true, and that is a very important part of the whole concept, in that we will create in a short time a huge database that a lot of big companies would be interested in buying,” says Jaak Geens. “Whatsapp was sold to Facebook for 50 dollars a user – could this happen with geens.com? Our answer is clearly: no. Geens.com is non-profit and cannot be sold at all – that’s the law.”

“However, if we do realise, together, the main goal of building an important big data warehouse, geens.com will be able to generate income comparable with the business plans of traditional social media. You could decide that you want to be part of a clinical trial or have a coupon for a new shampoo. And yes, it is important – and in many cases even to your own advantage – for all kinds of providers to have the possibility to contact the right group. Even in this case, however, privacy will be fully protected, unless you decide otherwise, and all income will go back to the geens.com community, like with a Frequent Flyer Membership. As you are a member of the community you are empowered: it is you that will decide.”

Along with ownership and decision power a further aspect of the platform is that members will also have the ultimate right of whether to remain with the community or leave it altogether, including bringing their data with them.

“You will have your data of being a member and there is also your medical data, and the system will only know you by your aliases to make external communication,” says Jaak Geens. “You can delete that data any time and restore it under a new nickname, or just delete it forever. Data is on – and only in – your app and you can at any time store it on your PC’s hard drive or a USB. The definition of the geens.com concept is that you are totally empowered. The platform by definition just focuses on the privacy layer itself.”

“Let us take a Taxi-app as an example: our platform is supplementary on top of all existing Taxi-apps. Why should the Taxi company know where you go or even who you are to deliver their service? Or even take the risk that an IT guy runs away with the customer database and starts his own Taxi-app? Unless there would be an accident or a payment discussion, then personal details can be provided to resolve the incident. And for a good understanding: geens.com will never offer a Taxi-app or any commercial application.”

The NPO did develop though one free demo application for polling (geepoll.com). The purpose of the voting (on different levels) is to educate the public and to demonstrate the principle of how to tackle privacy protection issues.

Not only are the members of the platform to be empowered, but the technology that has been developed for it and the people behind that technology have also been flexing their intellectual muscle for the full powers of what cyber security can offer and to make this platform a stand-out option.

Geens.com uses the newest technology that has been recently developed together with the University of Vilnius, one of the world’s top university centres on privacy and internet security.”

“The medical sector and new technology experts look for the newest concepts that are ready to use, so to become a full member of the platform is not a 1–2–3 process like creating an account on other social networks. That’s because we did think very carefully about how to protect privacy and because, after all, you’ll be a stakeholder of the platform itself,” says Jaak Geens.

“We think that a good platform has to give you total privacy, as nobody wants to share his or her deepest feelings, medical information or feedback if not absolutely sure that future technology will be able to filter out your past. Although lots of people surf forums on medical issues, only a minority share their own experiences, mainly because they don’t want to end up on a database that knows who they are and could start spamming.”

“Geens.com will therefore enrich the user forums, investigate and perform data mining, share the best opinions and value them with ’frequent miles’,” says Jaak Geens. “As privacy – and that includes digital security – are key to the system, we are convinced that we can become a very unique community on medical issues; but even in simple ’brainstorming’ on a project, individuals do not want that their out-of-the-box thinking is misused afterwards. Privacy is also about the right to be forgotten.”

The platform also has the ambition to become a central point for other sites related to the human body or human interest, stating that case that whilst it is fine to use a wearable, that it is not necessary for the device company to know about your ’night-time activity’. This kind of situation makes geens.com a solution for both individual and the wearable device company that isn’t keen on such private matters. Liability goes in two directions, and is also an issue for organisations.

“This is just a first step, as all kinds of medical institutions, blood centres, donor centres, dentists, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, DNA-investigators, universities and so many others will look for the right platform to guarantee patients absolute privacy,” says Jaak Geens. “Health is also not the issue of one specialist or symptom; there is the lack of a tool that brings all the expertise together. A pain in your chest can mean so many things and needs expertise by way of several views.”

Social websites are nowadays also aiming for the ultimate goal of a complete medical profile. For them, however, the purpose is to sell it to the relevant industries. Geens.com has the same goal of complete medical profile in mind, but not driven by profit motives. Their new levels of cyber security ensure it will only be with your membership and full agreement, and that any concept of profits will be of the kind that are ultimately for your own benefit.

On the question of whether geens.com is like an alternative for the GDPR (General Data Protection Rules) of the European Commission: “Our governments – in this case our European institutions – are looking for general rules to protect the citizens. Let me use a metaphor here: GDPR pushes building owners to put strong locks and doors, blind some of the windows or explain a must to install cameras in the public hallway and garage, but forbid public cameras in the apartments. That is of course all excellent. Our platform on the contrary starts from the individual and provides a cocoon from where the user decides what window where, when and to who will be open or closed to the external world.”

“If there is no bottom-up approach like this, a non-intentional effect of a ruling like GDPR will be that – and let us continue on this metaphor – no new forms of living together will be created or explored. Too many rules block new initiatives or approaches. GDPR should not be like a new Year 2000 2-digit issue, but become an opportunity to add value and therefore a marriage with the geens.com platform is a perfect win-win.”