I recently attended the 2015 San Antonio InnoTech business and technology conference. This was an all day conference that showcased several companies and initiatives that are present in the San Antonio area.
Since I am working freelance, I need to get up and out of my home office and interact with people. This was a great opportunity for me to stay plugged in and learn about what is new and interesting in the technology sector.
The opening keynote was given by the former CIO for the State of Colorado, Leah Lewis. She discussed the ‘Internet of Things’. The concept of the IoT is that every physical item that human beings can wear or use will eventually be connected to the Internet with a wireless connection. Essentially, businesses can begin gathering data reported by sensors in our clothes, our tools, our vehicles, and our smartphones. For example, doctors can prescribe a pill-sized device to a patient. The patient can swallow the device and it can begin transmitting data about the inside of the patient’s body through a wireless connection. While Lewis was the Colorado CIO, she managed a project where all the wells over a watershed were connected wirelessly and could report the amount water pumped out by each well. This data was collected and analyzed to give an overall model of the watershed. This helped the state organizations regulate water use during periods of drought.
I attended another presentation given by two USAF generals. It was provocatively called “Secret Cyber Warriors of San Antonio”. The generals were from the 24th and 25th Air Force cyber commands based at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. They gave a fascinating presentation about the work they do. The 24th Air Force was established in San Antonio in 2009 with the mission of operating, maintaining, defending, and extending the Air Force Information Network, and defending Air Force mission networks throughout the world — they are the Cyber Warriors of the Air Force. The newly re-designated 25th Air Force conducts full-source intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities throughout air, space, and cyberspace to support war fighting activities of the Air Force and the Joint Force, and serves as the Air Force Cryptologic component to the National Security Agency. Cool stuff!
Another great session was presented by David Smith. He discussed technology, jobs, and the future. He describes how the fast pace of technology change and productivity improvements, in an increasingly competitive market, have forced companies to change their strategy, frequently upgrade and improve their products or services, and adjust their workforce. In the future, employment will become more project-based and short-term. This will be the great challenge for the 21st century workforce.
There were other sessions but these were the ones that stuck in my memory. I’m glad I went to the conference! Good information was presented and it was a strong reminder that San Antonio is has a strong presence in the technology sector.