OTTUMWA — Vice President Christian Renaud of 451 Research talked about economic development on Wednesday. He said, “Change is inevitable. As our world changes, it’s natural we change with it.”
This was the concept, Renaud addressed on Wednesday at the State of the Economy Luncheon at Bridge View Center.
He talked about microeconomic changes and labor force changes as well as technology and digital transformation. He focused on three concepts in regard to technology: connectivity, internet of things (IOT) and artificial intelligence.
“Connectivity takes a few forms,” Renaud said, “Historically there are a number of things connected in such a way the data was held hostage. There was a specific connector and couldn’t share that data with machines.”
He spoke of how to make sense of technology. “To make sense of technology,” Renaud said, “take all the things that were not historically connected, machines, vehicles, farm equipment and take the data and benefit. Ask yourself — How do you deliver value to clients? How do you reinvent yourself based on technologies?”
Renuad said IOT is what equates to the connectivity options. “IOT applies to existing installed based ground fueled equipment,” he said.”
After Renaud spoke of how to make sense of technology, attendees asked about digital transformation and as well as the application they can pursue to their jobs and personal lives.
“Digital transformation is the why and IOT is the how,” Renaud said. “You transform the ‘how’ to services and what you are changing to build products. Maybe you as an individual interact with your vehicles or phones. How you analyze data is where the value of IOT comes from. ”
Artificial intelligence was the second to last topic Renuad spoke about. He said it is a quest to build software that runs on machines that can “think” and act like humans. Examples include cars with cameras and drones. “Although we have some AI, we are still a long way from general AI,” he said.
Renaud ended with asking the audience how the information he presented was relevant to them. “It’s about applying and the practical nature,” he said. “It’s the combination of looking at what the industry and labor breakdown is, knowing how they’ll change and what benefits there will be.”
Many attendees were moved by Renaud’s message.
Scott Arnold was among many who appreciated what Renaud had to say. He also talked about how he will apply what he learned to his career. “We are in a major change for the way technology is changing,” Arnold said. “In the electric transmission line business, in the future a robot might be doing the testing for the safety of people. We will embrace this change. Coming was well worth the time.”
Renaud enjoyed his time. “I’m happy I got a chance to speak and do background information before coming," he said. "It’s very enlightening for local leaders to think along these lines and realize that the world is changing and how they need to change with it.”