At the virtual CompTIA Communities and Councils Forum, held March 17, four experts from CompTIA’s Industry Advisory Councils discussed emerging technology use cases during the session, "How Emerging Technologies are Delivering Business Outcomes." James Stanger, chief technology officer at CompTIA, moderated the expert panel that included Lloyd Danzig, chairman and founder, ICED(AI); Deborah Kestin-Schildkraut, IBM blockchain and global alliances ecosystem marketing leader, IBM; Ted Parisot, co-founder, Helios Visons; and Jill Klein, IoT practice lead, Sirius Computer Solutions.
“We're going to be talking about IoT, AI, drones and blockchain, and how they are really helping companies with practical implementations on how to get their business going,” said Stanger.
According to Lloyd Danzig, co-chair of CompTIA's AI Advisory Council, some of the biggest misconceptions about artificial intelligence (AI) pertain to terminology about the technology.
“AI is not Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Terminator. Although I think for many people that's what they think of. But also, AI is not the same as automation; it’s not the same as machine learning. I think there's just a basic need to help lay out, agree upon, those definitions,” said Danzig.
For him, thinking of AI as an extreme version of predictive analytics makes a lot of sense—and that’s where the use cases come in. From predicting patterns in financial markets to enhancing MRI images, he sees a variety of possibilities for AI.
“Different areas where there's something being done that involves a ton of computation that might benefit from the ability to identify non-linear relationships in enormous datasets, and again, to do so very, very quickly many, many times—that's where you're seeing AI being used,” he said.
One AI use case that’s currently being implemented is recommendation engines. “The statistic that people like to throw out is that Netflix saves $1 billion per year just through their AI-powered recommendation engine that lets them optimally match up users with the content that they would want to see,” said Danzig.
Check out AI resources.
With the hype around cryptocurrencies on the decline, it’s possible to begin addressing other myths about blockchain, says Deborah Kestin-Schildkraut, member of the Blockchain Advisory Council.
“People think that blockchain is purely only for the fintech industry. And it's really relevant for multiple industries, but again, it's not relevant for every industry, which is another thing that some people think—that it's going to be the new silver bullet,” said Kestin-Schildkraut. “Another misconception is that blockchain is completely unregulated, and so it's ideal for illegal activities, and that's not entirely true either. The whole point of blockchain is about trust and transparency.”
Blockchain use cases are growing rapidly—even for small businesses. Kestin-Schildkraut shared the story of Plastic Bank, an organization with a mission of fighting ocean plastic pollution and poverty. Plastic Bank partnered with Cognition Foundry, which used blockchain to create a waste management solution in low income areas.
“Cognition Foundry hooked up with the CEO of Plastic Bank, and they're incredibly passionate about how can we use technology for good. And hearing their dilemma, they put together a great Plastic Bank solution using blockchain,” said Kestin-Schildkraut. “The plastic is being collected by people who live in these very poor areas, and as they're bringing their plastic to the recycling centers, they're given a low-end smart phone and they're earning a value…. They're earning a living that they didn't have before by collecting the plastic.”
Check out blockchain resources.
Internet of Things
For many people, the internet of things (IoT) is often the easiest emerging technology to understand because it’s already here. But according to Jill Klein, member of the IoT Advisory Council, there’s still much to be learned.
“I think it's still a new technology, and I think you see a lot of people starting to learn how they can adopt it. There's been a lot of people that have tried. They've started. They've stumbled and they've stopped, and I think you're going to see that change a little bit in the near future,” said Klein. “The key for us is that nobody wants to implement new and emerging technology. They want to solve business problems. So, where we start is what are some of the things that our clients are struggling with? What are their goals?”
For Klein, utilizing senor data one way they are helping clients improve business processes, another is by creating new revenue opportunities.
“We're also working with companies to create new revenue streams, so things that they haven't sold to their clients before. And so by taking and connecting these assets or tables or parking spots or whatever it may be, we're helping folks with great new revenue streams," said Klein.
Check out IoT resources.
Early on, drones may have been seen as toys, but more and more they're becoming business tools, and ultimately—like other emerging technologies—it’s about the data that's being collected. But misconceptions and myths persist.
“The other misconceptions would be that you can't fly drones in certain places or you can't fly drone at all. So there's just kind of gray area or misunderstanding of how that works from a recreational standpoint to a business standpoint and then even beyond into other waivers and authorizations that only certain companies have at this time,” said Ted Parisot of the Drone Advisory Council.
While it can be a process with the FAA to get authorization, there are plenty of use cases for drones in business today.
“We primarily focus on construction, progress documentation, so new building construction, high-rises and things like that, but also building maintenance and building inspection, and ongoing inspections of buildings,” said Parisot. “A number of cities in the country have facade ordinances, which require building inspections, which traditionally are very expensive and can be somewhat unsafe... now we've been able to take drones and safely assess a building and send people up when it makes the most sense.”
Check out drone resources.
What’s Next for Emerging Technologies
The conversation continued as the panelists discussed how these technologies can work together and what’s next as new use cases emerge.
“Education and clarity are so important to really helping people to not be afraid and explore and try to take some of the technology that's now available to make their businesses innovate and perform better and more successfully,” said Kestin-Schildkraut.
To learn more about business opportunities in emerging tech and collaborate with peers on best practices in adoption, join CompTIA's Emerging Technology Community.
Missed CompTIA’s virtual Councils & Communities Forum? You can watch the whole event here.