Archive for the ‘VIP’ Category

AR/VR Immersion Solutions

September 9, 2022
VIP Roundtable – AR/VR Immersion Solutions, September 9, 2022

FountainBlue’s September 9 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘AR/VR Immersion Solutions’, with opening remarks by NVIDIA.  Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of roles, backgrounds and industries, but they share an enthusiasm for the many real-life opportunities around AR/VR immersion solutions. 

Our executives spoke about how AR/VR immersion solutions have facilitated the design of new products and solutions, provided in-depth experiential training for thousands, ensured compliance and security for robots and workers, optimized manufacturing floors and processes, and provided customer support. 

They spoke of a turning point in the industry, expecting broad and wide adoption. Below is a summary of their suggestions and recommendations for leaders adopting AR/VR solutions.

  • Ensure that your solutions are compliant and secure, scalable and available.
  • AR/VR solutions have applications across industries – aerospace, automotive, healthcare, industrial automation, construction, and many more.
  • Plan for the business cases and practical applications around AR/VR, particularly for enterprise customers
    • Customers experiencing high-risk scenarios, even if that happens in low volume would benefit from simulations and training to help mitigate those risks.
    • Customers that will experience an activity in high volume would benefit from training and simulation which provides medium to high gain.

Our executives also spoke to the challenges for implementing AR/VR immersion solutions.

  • The combination of hardware and software poses cultural, technical, operational and other challenges for the internal teams charged with implementation.
  • There are many exciting use cases and business cases, but it’s hard to focus on the lowest-hanging fruit – the easiest solutions to implement for a target audience with the greatest need, and willing and able to pay for it.

The bottom line is that AR/VR immersion solutions will be inevitably adopted as it will help 1) better innovate and collaborate, 2) plan-fully mitigate risks 3) efficiently deliver support and services, 4) save money.

Balancing Privacy, Security and Access

August 12, 2022

FountainBlue’s August 12 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Balancing Privacy, Security and Access’, with opening remarks by Samsung. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for their remarks and input.

Our executives in attendance represented a wide range of roles, backgrounds and industries, but they share many common perspectives around balancing privacy, security and access.

  • Balancing privacy, security and access will continue to be of primary importance. 
  • No longer will companies be able to rely on single individuals or teams to proactively manage privacy, security and access. 
  • It will take a concerted and collaborative effort, driven by senior leaders, and implemented across the organization.

Balancing privacy, security and access is not easy. 

  • Managing to ensure compliance is complicated as the data volume is huge and growing, individual users are untrained, uninformed or even unethical, and the ways data is used and the number of users continues to grow.
  • Cultural and international standards vary greatly, and many companies have employees and customers all over the world.
  • It’s hard for executives to manage the data when each data set might have different associated experts, and multiple data sets are integrated into individual applications and programs.
  • The stakes are high and are continuing to grow, so bad actors are more motivated to access sensitive data.
  • Consumers and end users are becoming more adamant about their rights around privacy, while also insisting on efficiently accessing the information they need.  

Below is a compilation of thoughts and best practices.

Be Strategic

  • Be fully aware of the type, flow, storage and distribution of data and proactively manage that data to ensure the right people have the right access at the right time for the right reason.
  • Build a partnership between the legal, technical, executive, and product/engineering teams so you can plan-fully manage product development and support.
  • Create standards and agreements so collaborations can be made to proactively manage secure access to targeted information, while respecting privacy needs.
  • Consider the needs of the team and organization over the rights of individuals, while also respecting the rights of individuals.
  • Manage to the weakest link – perhaps the human who does not set up proper passwords for access to the corporate network.

Leverage Technology

  • Leverage technologies and tools so that you can easily identify data or users or systems who may be at risk.
  • Create dashboards for your network so you can proactively manage potential data breaches.
  • Factor in different types of data (transient, persistent, meta, etc.,) as you manage, collect, store and distribute that data. 

Manage the Give and Take

  • Focus on business outcomes while respecting technical requirements. 
  • Minimize exposure and risk, especially when mission-critical applications are at stake.

Empower and Enable Your People

  • Support product and engineering teams, who are constantly challenged to create and update code to meet the shifting security, privacy and access requirements.

The bottom line is that we can all collaborate to build a Zero Trust network – where only the right Users, have the right Access, to the right Data, for the right Reason, all the time, every time. 

Next Generation Hardware

July 8, 2022

FountainBlue’s July 8 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Next Generation Hardware’, with opening remarks by Honda. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for their remarks and input.Collaboration and integration were both themes in this morning’s far-ranging discussion about the next generation of hardware. Hardware must integrate with software and processes to deliver full-featured customized solutions which add value, are safe, protect privacy, and, ideally, also be cost-effective, efficient and sustainable. This is no small task, but our experienced and dynamic executives in attendance shared many best practices on doing this well.

  • Embrace carbon-neutral, sustainable solutions because the customers demand it and because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Look for interconnections between solutions, problems, customers, etc., as it may be a basis future innovations.
  • When designing hardware prototypes, understand the stressors which would impact the integrity of the hardware, including temperature variations, SW integration requirements, power needs, etc.,
  • Accept that managing material availability and supply chain challenges is part of the hardware innovation challenge.
  • Optimize for efficiency and effectiveness while ensuring low-failure rates, sustainability, reliability, and compatibility. 
  • When designing and producing prototypes, assume that speeds will continue to double and that there will be a shorter time to market.
  • Differentiate on user experience and ease of use.
  • Work with researchers as well as engineering, business and operations staff to address the design, prototyping, manufacturing, production, and distribution challenges inherent with hardware innovations.

Below are some thoughts on some hardware innovation ideas to watch for:

  • Scenario-based, photo-realistic renderings are driving real-world innovations
  • Optimization for power consumption
  • Novel memory processors which don’t require additional capability, packaging or overhead
  • 3D Printing options which minimize risk and optimize for efficiency and functionality
  • Digital Twin technology to do prototyping with software to better inform hardware design and layout, hardware requirements and even hardware development and integration.

The bottom line is that hardware innovations are continuing to evolve at breakneck speed, and it’s the innovative leaders, like the ones in attendance, and their organizations who are collaborating with others to stay in front of the curve.

The Future of Work

June 10, 2022

FountainBlue’s June 10 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Work’, with opening remarks by Cisco. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for their remarks and input.Our executives in attendance all sat at different leadership seats through this pandemic, and shared many similar perspectives about how the pandemic has affected the future of work.

  • We are leveraging networking, collaboration and security technology more, making hybrid work scenarios work for each of us and our organizations.
  • There are mixed receptions to the range of company requirements on return-to-work policies.
  • We have raised our standards on the value of our health, our families, and the role of work in our lives. 

Below is a compilation of thoughts on opportunities around the future of work.

  • When a distributed workforce is hybrid, networks, devices, applications may all put individuals, teams and companies at risk for privacy and security breaches. Hence there is an opportunity to more proactively manage the security and privacy of individual users, and minimize the risk, and isolate and quickly recover from any breaches.
  • AI-driven bot solutions will continue to automate workflows and processes so customers are more efficiently served, so humans can handle more complex issues. (It also follows that the workforce of the future must be more prepared to address more complex issues.) 
  • Telepresence robots will help increasingly more employees participate in in-person activities which support collaboration, community-building, and engagement, but social and technical issues will still provide barriers to adoption – at least for now.
  • Creating and growing communities of experts will help distributed and hybrid workforces collaborate and connect with others to share best practices, while developing, supporting and influencing each other.
  • Securely providing access to common data and information will continue to support an organization’s collaboration, engagement and innovation goals.
  • Immersion AR/VR experience will take video-calling to the next level, adding more life-like audio and visual experiences. 
  • Solutions which enhance the employee experience and customer experience, providing them easier access to informed support, will drive customer and employee retention and engagement.
  • There may be a trend toward broader engagement from a wider range of people to manage cloud-based no-code and low-code solutions which manage the data captured.

It’s hard to make predictions on what the future of work will look like, but it’s clear that roles will change, tasks will change, and robots and automation will work closely with humans and that leaders must leverage technology to proactively manage and optimize employee and customer experiences.

Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions

May 13, 2022
FountainBlue’s May 13, 2022 VIP Roundtable: Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions

FountainBlue’s May 13 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions’, with opening remarks by GE Digital Grid. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for their remarks and input.

Our executives in attendance exclaimed many times about the major shift in focus toward  carbon-neutral energy solutions over the past decade. No longer do we need to make the business/social/ sustainability/practical business case about WHY we must adopt more carbon-neutral solutions.

Our executives agree that the focus will now be on WHICH options we adopt (try them all), WHAT we do collaboratively (everything) and HOW we can work better together to drive leadership and innovation to better adopt more technologies and solutions for each of us today, and for the future. Our executives are bullish about the market and technology opportunities over the next decade for carbon-neutral energy solutions. They agree that it will not be easy to implement and realize these solutions because they:

  • must leverage hardware and software designed to manage energy generation, storage, distribution, and usage. 
  • must support the reliability, sustainability, safety, sustainability, security, policy, affordability, demand goals from a wide range of customers. 
  • must collect and manage, filter and process huge volumes of data real-time in order to provide meaningful dashboards of information to stakeholders so that decisions can be made, actions can be taken.
  • must manage the integration of both traditional and renewable energy into a common grid, ensuring that customers only receive usable energy sources. 
  • must work with utilities and their customers, using the infrastructure around the electrical grid, and selectively integrating devices on the edge. 

Below are some thoughts on opportunities and innovations for carbon-neutral energy solutions:

  • Leverage digital twin technology may help utilities and organizations plan for energy management and distribution scenarios.
  • Gather data from the edge can better inform energy usage and generation patterns real-time and also make projections for future energy usage.
  • Connecting a network of disparate renewal energy generation sources so we can help better manage the energy in the grid.
  • Providing temporary power solutions to customers with utility/infrastructure challenges may be necessary if customers adopt solutions before the infrastructure/utilities are ready. 
  • Consider last-minute drone and robot solutions for providing more carbon-neutral solutions for the delivery of goods.

Below are thoughts on how we can drive innovation in this space.

  • Invite the participation of a wide breadth of scientists and technicians to collaborate on designing and implementing carbon-neutral energy solutions – from chemical engineers to data scientists, from physicists to pharmacists, from geologists to rocket engineers.
  • Technology will play a major role in creating, designing, planning, and delivering a carbon-neutral future. 
  • Create demand from the ground up, and visioning and execution from the top-down so we can drive more momentum for a carbon-neutral future. 
  • Be consistently vocal to policy-makers and influencers, and insist that they rise above the politics and support the carbon-neutral solutions which serve us all today and in the future. 

In closing, we agreed that there is no silver bullet, but we brainstormed what each of us today today to embrace and support carbon-neutral energy solutions:

  • Start now, and do something little and big every day.
  • Educate yourself on practical carbon-neutral solutions and integrate them into your day-to-day work and life.
  • Adopt electric vehicles which offer better torque/acceleration/power at lower cost.
  • Choose a role/job/activity/vision which would support a carbon-neutral future. 
  • Push for policy and legislative changes using your influence in ways big and small.
  • Push the boundaries on what’s possible.
  • Support your local utilities and policy-makers in upgrading and updating the infrastructure which will take us from here to there.
  • Be open-minded about the technology and market opportunities for carbon-neutral solutions. 
  • Collaborate with others to make commitments and sacrifices for the greater good.

It is conversations like this that give me hope for a better world – one that leverages innovation and leadership for the greater good. Please join me again in thanking our participating executives and the larger FountainBlue community for their insights and participation.

Leading Industry 4.0

April 15, 2022
Leading Industry 4.0

FountainBlue’s April 15 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Leading Industry 4.0’, with opening remarks by Intel. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance for their remarks and input.

Water and steam brought on Industry 1.0, which brought people and things efficiently from place to place. Electricity brought power to a large mass of people, bringing huge transformations characteristic of Industry 2.0.Electronics and IT and the underlying networking around it enabled the advances for Industry 3.0. Now connected devices and networks are bringing on the Digital Revolution foundational to Industry 4.0. This revolution will continue to enable the convergence and acceleration within and between industries, even those not traditionally in tech. Specific advancements across industries include:

  • accessibility to data
  • mobility of devices and robots
  • simulations leveraging hardware and software
  • innovations on the edge
  • advanced connectivity
  • storage on the cloud and on devices

The opportunities are great, but the risks and challenges also exist, including the need to balance privacy, security and access, the need to manage data so that the relevant data informs decision-making, the need to overcome resistance to the adoption of digital technologies, tools and processes, the need to upgrade policies and protocols, etc.,
Below are recommended best practices for leading Industry 4.0 in manufacturing:

  • Manage a ‘dark fab’ which would best leverage automation, robotics and co-botics while also ensuring that humans are actively involved in the design and oversight of the same.
  • Optimize the supply chain to proactively plan to meet manufacturing and customer goals without compromising quality and integrity, while respecting the work-life balance for team members. 
  • Use scenario-based planning to optimize the visioning, planning and execution around manufacturing goals.
  • Leverage the expertise and insights of a wider range of backgrounds and industries – including chemical engineering, data science, energy generation, material science, – to more broadly address the challenges and opportunities.
  • Collaborate to design, plan and deliver solutions which are energy-efficient, cost-efficient, resilient and sustainable, while optimizing for performance and versatility.
  • Innovate in collaboration with others so that you can more effectively design solutions which address a broader range of needs for a longer period of time.

Below are examples of cutting-edge thoughts and ideas which will drive the next level of innovation around manufacturing:

  • Carbon-neutral technology which would help more efficiently and effectively support manufacturing goals
  • AR/VR Immersion solutions leveraged by field service engineers to more efficiently serve customers with personalized solutions
  • LEAN manufacturing solutions which help develop supply chain resilience and even at times make qualified projections for future needs
  • Industrial automation solutions which are seamless and integrated
  • Proactive waste management planning across the manufacturing process
  • AI solutions which help filter and manage data, and make recommendations based on data
  • ML solutions which make projections based on past data trends 

The opportunities and challenges are mind-boggling. But core to success is the ability to: 1) bridge silos and collaborate within and across teams, organizations and industries; 2) jointly create the infrastructure to enable innovation and the platform for collaboration; 3) focus on the ARR (annual recurring revenues) for the choices made for the short-term, while ensuring long term growth; 4) work with organizations to do the right (social, environmental, political, economic) thing by and for others and 5) invest in the people and leaders who will bring it all together, including each of the executives who joined our discussion today.
The bottom line is that the customers are demanding efficient and effective manufacturing to provide the high-quality, customized solutions they need to live and work and thrive. The winners are the organizations and leaders who can collaborate with others to best serve them.

Innovating on the Edge

March 18, 2022

FountainBlue’s March 18 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Innovating on the Edge’, with opening remarks by Micron. Our executives in attendance had a wide range of experience and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities around innovating on the edge. Below is a compilation of their advice.

About Edge Computing

With the continued evolution of technology, there will be continued consolidations, aggregations, innovations, etc., but edge computing will be a foundational piece of current and future technology trends.
Advice for Managing Innovations on the Edge

  • Strategize and manage to ensure optimization and continuous improvement, even when we can’t predict our future.
  • Take an end-to-end management perspective to oversee all the moving parts which could positively or negatively impact your ability to deliver customized solutions on the edge.
  • Design hyper automation (extreme automation) algorithms based on data delivered from the edge.
  • Look for areas where technology innovation on the edge could greatly improve a process, and more efficiently deliver an accurate result.

Thoughts on Challenges 

As we continue to develop more devices/sensors/phones etc on to the edge, there will be amplified needs to:

  • ensure the privacy, security and access for individual users while aggregating the most relevant content for immediate and future use
  • minimize latency times so that automated actions can take place – lives are at times at stake!
  • securely and efficiently manage the huge volumes of data for immediate, short term, and long term usage
  • manage multiple operating systems and applications on individual computers to ensure efficiency, productivity and security
  • integrate legacy and bleeding edge solutions into applications which serve current need
  • consider supply chain issues which would impact the hardware we design, manufacture and distribute to be placed on the edge

Opportunities for growth, including:

  • designing sensors which capture temperature, vibration, sound, photo and audio input
  • producing devices on the edge which can check their own status and even automate processes based on these checks
  • creating always-on sensors which use little power and only act when triggering events occur
  • offering predictive analytics based on volumes of data collected
  • managing collected data to ensure privacy and security while gathering relevant aggregated data  
  • focusing on specificities around locations which may help multiple entities manage solutions in specific areas

In the end, as we look at innovating on the edge, we must look at the journey of the data (as it touches the software, hardware, apps), the needs of the customers (for privacy, security and access), the infrastructure and requirements (policy, broadband), and need to manage the old and the new (tools, technologies and people). Now that’s a TALL order. The innovators and collaborators will have an ‘edge’ in this market.  

Supply Chain Optimization

February 18, 2022
Feb 18 VIP Roundtable: Supply Chain Optimization

FountainBlue’s February 18 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Supply Chain Optimization’, with opening remarks by Lam Research. Our executives in attendance represented a range of backgrounds, organizations and industries, but all are successfully navigating the supply chain challenges and opportunities to benefit their teams, products, organizations and customers. Below is a summary of their best practices for supply chain optimization:

Be Strategic

  • Provide a platform which would allow disparate corporate functions (such as manufacturing, operations, hardware and software development) to collaborate and proactively manage supply chain challenges.
  • Proactively manage the supply chain of the wide range of parts throughout the development, customization, integration life cycle.
  • Leverage technology such as AI to understand the current and future risks for your individual vendors, and consequently your own supply chain optimization needs for each of your product lines. 
  • Design foundational architectures which are modular, versatile, and dynamic, while also being easily integrated, easily replicated, and easily adjusted.
  • Upgrade or phase out outdated copy-cut/locked-and-loaded supply chain optimization strategies which served the needs of past products, past eras, past customers.
  • Consider working with simulators and models to plan-fully strategize on a range of supply chain needs.
  • Proactively manage and mitigate the risks around the supply chain flow, making vendor, process and people adjustments as needed. 
  • Work with business professions to ensure compliance with local, national and global part standards, especially around security, materials and quality. 
  • Practice AI-based hyper-automation optimization, enlisting the support of an ecosystem of internal and external stakeholders.

Manage Your Vendors

  • Map out all the individual parts needed for each of your product lines and adopt a multi-tier view for your vendors.
  • Diversify your vendor options, and ensure that your vendors represent the sustainability, diversity, and versatility requirements of increasing interest to partners and customers.

Customers First

  • Strategically plan for and proactively deliver to the needs of the customer, being as flexible and agile as possible to address their changing needs.
  • Manage your customer needs based on supply chain bottlenecks which are beyond your control.

Empower Your People

  • Respect the work-life integration needs of our people – supply chain optimization must be more plan-ful, less emergency-driven and less stress-inducing.
  • Build relationships of trust across ecosystems of vendors, partners, suppliers, customers. 

The bottom line is that leaders and managers at all levels must adopt collaborative, agile and flexible leadership and management standards which would 1) manage the risk, 2) maintain the security and functionality, 3) ensure the optimal amount of quality supplies and 4) ensure the people have a coordinated, informed view of the needs of the customer, and the ability to deliver to those needs. 

Data Meets Healthcare

January 14, 2022

FountainBlue’s January 14 VIP Roundtable: Data Meets Healthcare

FountainBlue’s January 14 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Data Meets Healthcare’, with opening remarks by Change Healthcare. Data is the photon that’s foundational to providing value for all stakeholders, providing energy to solutions which serve all. But the question is how do we optimize the data to provide value, optimize care at minimal costs in an industry with so many stakeholders and so much regulation? 
Although digital transformation has a huge potential to impact the healthcare sector, as it has done for other sectors, the challenges are much more complex in healthcare because of the needs of disparate stakeholders, the regulations around the industry, the slim margins of hospitals and clinics, the disillusionment of patients to the point of not engaging, etc.,
Below are some thought-provoking ideas from an engaged and informed set of executives in attendance.

  • Facilitate interoperability of data between payors, providers, patients, insurers, etc., 
  • Ensure patient ownership and access to their own data, but also provide regulations to ensure the safe, secure, and ubiquitous sharing of data which also protects the privacy of patients.
  • Address the needs of empowered consumers to provide personalized value-added solutions at scale in a way which is collaborative and scalable.
  • Support hospitals and healthcare centers to leverage data for better financial management, more efficient access and improved care metrics.
  • Use data to document and support the end-to-end patient journey from coverage and benefits to payments and insurance.
  • Invite the use of longitudinal care programs to provide ongoing personalized care and also to inform the care of others with similar conditions. 
  • Democratize and expand access to care.
  • Develop and design solutions which build patient engagement, build communities of care, and in general better leverage technology and innovation to optimize care for more people.

The pandemic has accelerated adoption of existing technologies like MRNA to accelerate drug discovery and improve care, and telehealth to expand access to care. 
The Silver Tsunami is coming with a large population reaching 65+ and therefore with the increased likelihood of chronic disease, and the need for constant care, monitoring and interaction. Let’s work together to focus on ensuring a healthy population by providing better clinical, operational and financial outcomes.

Leverage technology solutions to address any friction for providing digital services, leverage data to ensure accuracy and progress of treatments, leverage hospitals and healthcare systems to support patient acquisition and adoption of digital solutions, and work together to ensure that payers own payments, insurers embrace technology and data, and regulations facilitate the adoption of digital transformation in healthcare. 

Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

December 10, 2021
FountainBlue’s Dec 10 VIP Roundtable: Smart Cities, Smart Buildings

FountainBlue’s December 10 VIP Roundtable was on the topic of ‘Smart Cities, Smart Buildings’, with opening remarks by Intel. As usual, our executives in attendance had deep technical expertise and work with a wide range of business models, all designed to support specific and relevant use cases for today, and to create more integrated and robust solutions and opportunities for tomorrow. For decades, an increasingly larger proportion of people are moving from rural to urban and suburban areas, which necessitates companies, leaders, cities and governments to optimize our cities and buildings so that we can better connect, manage, secure and support larger populations of diverse people. Below is a compilation of thoughts and advice for creating smarter cities and smarter buildings.

  • Proactively collaborate to better manage your company’s strategy, plan, processes, and vision.
  • Manage manufacturing, supply chain, operational and distribution processes to optimize the end-to-end envisioning, development, distribution and integration cycles.
  • Create modules which would allow developers and partners to design custom solutions to solve specific problems, while addressing performance, power, cost, and integration challenges.
  • Be curious about the needs of the customer, as well as the trends in the market so you can offer practical solutions for current customers, while creating the infrastructure, products and support needed to serve future needs.
  • Collect the data and create algorithms focusing on the most relevant, actionable data, rather than working on assumption-based models. Look also beyond the immediate implications of the data to the longer-term impact and implications for the data collected.
  • Embrace the technology while looking also at the business models and market trends, and focusing on the longer-term impact of the solutions and choices we’re making today.
  • Empower lower-skill and new workers to collect the data and work with them to understand how that data can make our buildings and cities smarter, and why that matters.
  • Question not just why the technology is cool, but also how we can leverage the technology to serve a real-world need, making our buildings and cities safer, more integrated, more connected, more customized.

Today’s solutions will be complex – from a technology perspective with hardware, software, cloud and integration issues, from a business perspective with adoption, partnership, development and people issues, from an execution perspective with integration, infrastructure, implementation, operational and distribution issues, from a governance perspective with regulatory, compliance, alliance and other issues. And solutions will require individual leaders, teams, organizations, industries and countries to work together. But if we work together, we can leverage technologies such as AI and ML and edge computing and beyond, to better support the economic, environmental, social, and community needs of people in the buildings they occupy, in the cities where they live.