January 2021

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                             Welcome to 2021, the year of healing with innovation     
I have been thinking about how 2020 has been a nightmare for all of us unifying us into an alternate reality and grounding us to rethink how we live, and what our daily actions and social interactions mean

Sudha Jamthe is
a Technology Futurist and CEO of IoTDisruptions
who mentors business leaders with Capstone projects to solve industry AI problems at Stanford Continuing Studies and online a

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 Welcome to 2021, the year of healing with innovation

I have been thinking about how 2020 has been a nightmare for all of us unifying us into an alternate reality and grounding us to rethink how we live, and what our daily actions and social interactions mean.  As we see a glimmer of hope with the promise of a vaccine in the new year, 2021 becomes the year of healing. And as a Technology Futurist, innovation is the best tool I recommend to begin the healing process.

One thing that binds all of us innovators is that we dream of the future and conceive of ways to bring that to the present using technology. 2020 brought more connected devices to buildings for remote work and facilities management than ever before. It brought technologies to watch whether we wore masks and practiced social distancing. All this came at a price because we paid for it with our freedom. We had to work from home. We had to stay indoors and get grocery delivered to us. We had to sit in front of large screens and watch streaming videos of entertainment. All of these would have been perks on a vacation, but they soured easily because we were forced to limit our mobility. And everything was out of our control because the pandemic was a silent invisible spreader and we could not see an end in sight.

As technology innovators, we have been fighting to connect IoT sensors to everything to manage remotely, bring cameras to do computer vision and touchfree devices to be activated by voice. Now all of these innovations are being adopted by everyone but it is happening with reluctance.

In 2021, as part of the healing process, first we get to stop and breathe in hope. We see the hope of a vaccine which will free us of the pandemic. We will still have the bruises of behavior change from being quarantined indoors for most of the year. We still will have travel restrictions and so much work to do to get the whole world vaccinated.  If we pause and look around, we can see the data from connected devices and cameras and a huge deluge of data from our new behaviour of doing everything online. There is even going to be more data about the distribution of vaccines and who is getting vaccinated and when different parts of the world reaches the critical mass of vaccinated people required to stop the pandemic. There is going to be healthcare data and AI segmenting people to show who should get the vaccine first. There is going to be supply chain data, fraud prevention data and AI forecasting and prediction to follow the vaccine.

We saw a generation of kids who adopted mobile first with the advent of smart phone apps. Now we will see a new generation of kids who know to engage with AI with computer screens all around them. As we resume our mobility to go back to bring life to buildings, we are not the same people who hurriedly left the buildings.

What does this mean for us as humans? It means that we have moved closer to co-exist with machines and AI albeit unknowingly. 

What does this mean for us as business users? It means that we have new data to navigate to understand us as new users, though this time, we are the same users returning back from quarantine. It means that now we have new data calling for AI from connected assets begging us to track Anomalies and make predictions as a matter of fact.

What does this mean for us as innovators? It means that we can get back to do what we do best - change the world because this time there is no doubt that we are going to change it for the better.

Sudha Jamthe is a Technology Futurist who enjoys mentoring business leaders with a learning community and a live learning lab for
product managers and business leaders to innovate in their business and careers with data and NoCodeAI at BusinessSchoolofAI.com and teaches AI at Stanford Continuing Studies.


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