Robotics, Automation and AI – Investing

ACG LogoThe investment opportunities for growth in AI, Robotics and Automation will be greater than that of the internet companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon.  This was the position of William Studebaker, President, Chief Investment Officer, and Managing Partner at ROBO Global, LLC.   He was a featured speaker at the ACG event hosted at the Windows over Minnesota on the 50th floor of the IDS building in downtown Minneapolis.

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IoT and Smart Water

IMG_4570Minnesota DEED Trade Office hosted a Smart Water Round Table event at the Uponor corporation on May 10th, 2018.   Featured were a host of IoT companies showcasing their work in smart water solutions.   The audience and speakers who attended came from as far away as Europe and South America.   This event came on the heels of the Minnesota IoT Fuse conference.   The solutions they covered spanned a vast array of topics including:  precision agriculture, water treatment, smart cities,  transportation, city infrastructure optimization, etc.    The companies also represented specializations in hardware & sensors,  data aggregation and analytics, and business model development.

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ACG – Food Technology

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IMG_4305The Alliance for Corporate Growth hosted their monthly lunch at the Hilton Gallery on April 17th, 2018.   This event was focused on several local companies that specialized in advanced food technologies.  Their stories on how they are revolutionizing the food industry and paving the way for an entirely new age of healthy food was inspiring.

Some of the major challenges facing society is the level of overall illness that has been created by the current agriculture and food industries that are more focused on profits than actually on the nutrition and health of their products they are selling to consumers.  Another global challenge is the exponential population growth rates in many countries around the world.   This increase places huge food production and transportation issues for the industry.  One statistic shared stated that in the next 40 years we will have to grow 4000 times the amount of food that we have in the past just to feed the world’s population.  The talk also covered more Trends that are impacting the food industry overall.   Continue reading “ACG – Food Technology”

Cybersecurity: An FBI Perspective

IMG_4068I attended a presentation by a former FBI executive director John Slattery.   He spoke about his experience across more than three decades with the FBI involving counter-intelligence work and the rise of cybersecurity.

The first part of the program covered his career with the agency that spanned from agent training, to field agent, to undercover agent, then the move into management and lastly really unique roles working in CIA HQ around joint FBI/CIA efforts.  His career included many external cases on counter-intelligence, as well as, some internal crisis within government agencies.

The second part of the session talked about real-world public examples in the private sector.  This part of the talk demonstrated how companies were at huge risks in terms of their security protocols and technology vulnerabilities.   Mr. Slattery talked about his current role consulting with both corporate and government parties around cybersecurity and internal security processes.

Key Take-Aways from the conversation that was covered in some depth.

  1. The top countries that are actively organizing and threatening America include:
    1. China
    2. Russia
    3. North Korea
    4. Iran
  2. Levels of espionage and intelligence gathering are as high as cold war era.
  3. Technology is being employed and developed as weapons of warfare.  Just like military arms and economics have been highly refined technology is the new frontier for waging conflict.
  4. Top areas of technology risks include:
    1. Planting or turning inside personnel to gather data and/or access to systems.
    2. Email / Phishing for data.
    3. Tunneling or hacking into systems.
    4. Big Data gathering of public data and network traffic for analytics
    5. The growth of IoT is creating a huge security risk for nations because of all the data and lack of security maturity in those platforms.
    6. The growth of the dark web and its capabilities.
    7. The use of social media to spread disinformation and shape public opinion by hostile groups.
    8. Security policies at all levels of society ( Government, Business, Social ) are not in place and lack maturity given the pace of technology evolution.
    9. Lack of funding to create national security assets to manage and counter the threat.
    10. Lack of public and business understanding of the threats and the scale of damage that can be inflicted upon public and private institutions.

The Q&A session ranged broadly across the topics above and current FBI investigations going on at the highest levels in Washington in terms of foreign powers disrupting our government.    A key message here was that foreign powers have been trying to do this forever,  it is just the level of sophistication is increasing exponentially.

Another key topic included the use of artificial intelligence employed in counter-intelligence.  There is great potential here in terms of pattern or anomaly identification across large sets of integrated big data.   The concern is that it will still take a thoughtful human interpretation of information to develop insight and provide the intervention plans required to stem the threat.

As the conversation started to cover what companies need to do it was clear that besides all the basic policy and technology infrastructure that security still must be lead by people.  Every situation has its own context that must be investigated and understood.   The other aspect that companies must address is that they provide the channels for employees to share concerns and have the ability TO ACT when this information is received.

See more international event photos in the gallery

 

Wisconsin Water Cluster Growing

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Wisconsin’s water cluster initiative continues to attract companies from across the nation and world to participate in their innovation and education centers,  the growing network of ecosystem development and their growing brand of industry leadership.

A recent example of attraction comes from Austrialia and south east Asia.  With its head office located in Sydney, Australia, a sales and operations office based in Singapore and a contract assembly hub in Shanghai, China, the BioGill team knew it was time for a U.S. office to be established.

In January of 2017 the company established BioGill North America Inc., and in July opened its Milwaukee office within the Global Water Center, employing Annie Weidert as Regional Manager for the Americas. In October BioGill exhibited at WEFTEC, along with The Water Council, in Chicago. After the company delivered a technical paper at the event there was a tsunami of interest in the technology, which has led to the expansion of its U.S. team by adding a second full-time employee in January 2018.

“One of my beliefs in business is that one plus one should equal three. To successfully scale up in business, you need to look for ways to value add, leverage and network. And that’s what the water hub in Milwaukee has delivered to us. We’re plugging into an influential and well- established industry network, helping us to make better informed decisions as we grow our client base in the U.S.” – Paul Hatten / CEO BioGill

“We looked at many locations and states for our U.S. operation, but Milwaukee and Wisconsin best suited our needs,” said Paul Hatten.  “While we have many sites and proven projects around the world, the U.S. is a relatively new market for us. The Water Council has proven to be a powerhouse of knowledge, contacts and advice. In the end, it was an easy decision and made perfect business sense to locate in Milwaukee.”

Source:  The Water Council

Wisconsin continues to lead in the US in terms of cluster development and building a global brand for industry leadership.   They have already launched over 6 cluster initiative in varying cities across the state but have the infrastructure and operational models to continue to move into more emerging industries faster than states that have no vision for cluster development and the regional advantage and attraction it creates.

Location of Things to reach $71.6B by 2025

 

 

IOTInternet of Things  (IOT) continues to grow rapidly enabled by the internet, cloud computing, sensors, and cell phones.   A rapidly growing subcategory is the Location of Things (LOT) with is expected to reach $71.6B by 2025.   LOT is focused on connected devices enables connected devices to communicate their geographic location.   This is creating new forms of big data and analytics that many companies are eager to collect and leverage. North America and Europe accounted for the majority share in the location of things markets today but Asia is growing rapidly.
Source: Research and Markets