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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MN IOTFuse Conference

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The 2018 IoT Fuse Conference was an amazing event to participate in.   It featured a large roster of speakers and covered all layers of IoT stack from hardware, platform, and industry companies.   Minnesota is one of the largest and fastest growing IoT ecosystems in North America and is positioned to become a global center of IoT expertise.   The opportunity at hand is for Minnesota to recognize the lead it currently has and begin a larger regional initiative to develop it the ecosystem to systematically build, support and attract each layer of the industry by creating true regional advantage for the industry to flourish.  It must also understand the growth opportunities of both the immediate horizontal or cross sector  integration opportunities to existing industries , in addition, to the vertical sector develop that will eventually occur as IoT itself becomes its own complete sector.   Global competition and other US cities are not sitting still and may be more aggressive in their attempts to become a global leader.

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University St. Thomas Spring Seminar

 

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Understanding the new frontiers in corporate strategy and innovation was a key theme University St. Thomas Spring Seminar focusing on Risk Leadership.  The event was hosted April 25, 2018 on the UST campus located in downtown Minneapolis Minnesota.  The event featured keynote speakers and several breakout tracks focusing on Risk Leadership and Risk Managment.   The attendees were primarily senior practitioners from twin cities corporations, as well as, SMEs from consulting firms and university students are in the UST Risk Management programs.

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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”

Greater MSP / Talent Crunch

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 7.38.09 PMGSMP hosts a morning event at the Hilton Minneapolis focused on “Managing Through the Talent Crunch”  They covered how the partnership is evolving to meet new challenges in economic development, and shared an overview of the new 2018 Talent Report. A moderated panel of senior talent leaders and industry experts provided their thoughts and insights.

Speakers include:

  • Richard Davis, Executive Chairman of U.S. Bancorp and GREATER MSP Board Chair
  • Michael Langley, GREATER MSP CEO
Panelists include:
  • Shawntera Hardy, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (Moderator)
  • Ken Charles, Senior Vice President, Global Talent, U.S Bank
  • Amy Langer, Co-founder, Salo
  • Carol Surface, Chief Human Resources Officer, Medtronic
7:30 a.m. – Registration opens
7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. – Networking and breakfast served
8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Program begins

9:30 a.m. – Adjournment

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