8 Cutting-Edge Technologies Companies Should be Evaluating and Integrating

CEOs no doubt have discussed the value of new technologies such as IoT, drones and blockchain with both their board and their executive team. But before they can decide which innovations to invest in, CEOs should spend some time with their CIO taking a deeper dive so they understand the use cases and the true value of these cutting edge technologies’ capabilities for their business.

A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers may help. PwC analyzed more than 150 technologies and whittled them down to the “essential eight” technologies companies and boards should pay attention to:
• Artificial Intelligence
• Augmented Reality
• Virtual Reality
• Drones
• Blockchain
• Internet of Things (IoT)
• 3D printing
• Robotics

The report suggests that directors can get more involved in company strategy and the impact of these technologies by understanding their firm’s tech priorities, increasing their board’s digital IQ and building technology into their board’s strategic oversight process.

“Too often, the CIO and his or her staff are the only ones involved, the report states. “While the CIO is a valuable resource, emerging technologies affect the entire business.”

Gary Solomon, Jr. | Photo courtesy Solomon Group

How one company is making new technology integral to its business
Technology has been a key differentiator for companies like Solomon Group, which produces live arena productions, televised events and major exhibits. The company has more than 300 employees at its New Orleans headquarters, but it needs to remotely manage operations in cities across the country. IoT technology has “transformed the way the company operates,” says president and co-founder Gary Solomon Jr.

“Because of IoT technologies, there’s more access to building custom solutions to help you run your business, instead of having to build your business around solutions that are on the shelf already.”

To achieve its goal, the company has designed a business management software system that connects all of its employees, no matter where they are, to the business process and the data. For the operations of Solomon Group’s events, for example, the bi-directional optical turnstiles, RFID readers and other event technology that the company has developed gives the business access anywhere to assess intelligence and data about active event sites. On the daily operations side of the business, the company will soon have IoT deployed to manage its inventory and warehouse operations with access remotely.

“Because of IoT technologies, there’s more access to building custom solutions to help you run your business, instead of having to build your business around solutions that are on the shelf already,” Solomon says.

The company has leveraged IoT hardware to build “people counter” devices equipped with RFID readers. Solomon places these devices at the access points to its events to scan attendees’ wristbands as they enter and exit the venue.

“I can look at a room in real time with a fire marshal, and the fire marshal can know with a high degree of accuracy exactly how many people are in the room because of the way we’re tracking inbound and outbound traffic,” Solomon says.

3D scanning and printing has been another useful technology for The Solomon Group. For example, 3D scanning allows the company to scan a stadium during a site visit to take measurements and create a model of the venue. “I don’t have to go back to Atlanta and rescan the width of the loading dock. I can go into my 3D model and look at it,” he says.

Solomon acknowledges that understanding so many new technologies can be overwhelming. He says CEOs should know they don’t need to do everything at once, and instead implement various technologies in a modular fashion. They also can find joy and use their imaginations in the process of making their business more connected. “It can be a fun way of creating something that’s custom that you can take pride in, as opposed to the dreaded IT conversion of yesteryear,” he says.

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Autumn Cafiero Giusti
Autumn Cafiero Giusti is a veteran business writer and editor specializing in global payments, e-commerce and personal finance. She is based in New Orleans.

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