04/27/2015

Cornell alumni and Industry experts take on “The Internet of Things”

Cornell alumni and Industry experts take on “The Internet of Things”


Cornell alumni and Industry experts take on “The Internet of Things”
(From left) Manik Gupta, executive director or analytics operations, big data, and advance solutions at AT&T mobile and business solutions; Adam Drobot '68, chairman of Open Tech Works; Tom Black, vice presidents of IT and enterprise information management for Eaton; William Pence PhD '89, executive vice president and chief technology officer at AOL; and Mike Thompson, MBA '98, executive vice president and general manager of the Nuance mobile and consumer division discuss the "Internet of Everything."

When it comes to technology and business, the stakes are higher than ever.

“You really have to be thinking about what is going to come up and completely change your business,” said William Pence, PhD '89, the executive vice president and chief technology officer at AOL, during a panel discussion on the Internet of Things (IoT) hosted at the Manhattan headquarters of Deloitte April 22.

The discussion, the final event in Johnson’s 2014-2015 Thought Leader Series in New York City, brought together industry experts from AT&T, AOL, Eaton, Nuance, and Open Tech Works to discuss the impact of the Internet of Things in our increasingly connected world.

“It’s an ecosystem. Fundamentally, it’s about digitizing activity,” said Pence.

From mine safety to fleet maintenance, this shift to digital is changing how corporations do business.

To telecommunications giant AT&T, sensor technology is helping the company keep its fleet of vehicles on the road by analyzing and predicting repairs. This effort increases both productivity and customer service, said Manik Gupta, executive director of analytics operations, big data, and advance solutions.

To the power management company Eaton, IoT provides a “significant competitive advantage,” said Tom Black, vice president of IT and Enterprise Information Management.

While these opportunities abound, creating networks and transforming human behavior that pave the way for new enterprises, much remains unsettled. Security and data privacy remain serious concerns. “Don’t start anything in IoT without building in security from the get-go,” said Adam Drobot '68, the chairman of Open Tech Works.

Finally, the ability to integrate all of these systems together remains a challenge. “Interoperability is still the big elephant in the room,” said Black.

Putting those pieces together, like assembling tools into a Swiss Army knife, isn’t far off. Particularly for consumers, who demand a simplicity and functionality, there is tremendous value in aggregating data.

“Users are using the Internet to manage their lives…The complexities have come in because there are so many silos of data from a consumer point of view. No one is going to want to have 15 apps to control 15 appliances. I can guarantee that there will be startup companies that bring that together,” he said.

That kind of innovation has the ability not only to fuel the Internet of things; it has the ability to fuel the Internet of everything.

Claire Lambrecht '06, MBA '15, is a freelance writer based in New York City.

About Johnson’s Thought Leader Series

In this New York City-based series, sponsored by Johnson's Office of Alumni Affairs and Development and the Johnson Club of New York City, leading business scholars who are faculty members at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and business leaders who are Cornell alumni share their research and expertise on pressing issues confronting business today. The series offers Johnson and Cornell alumni in the New York metropolitan area a forum to discuss these issues as well as an opportunity to network with one another.



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