Technology Trends in Lincoln, NE – 2018
While you’ll find innovation anywhere you look in the business world, the pace of this in the technology industry in particular is staggering. Staying in the know can be a challenge for someone who isn’t actively involved in the field—and just when you think you’ve got a good grasp on it, the latest and greatest thing comes out and there’s a new learning curve ahead. That being the case, it’s wise to utilize the expertise of the professionals to guide you through selecting what works best for your business, implementation, troubleshooting, and so on. This way, you can stay busy doing what you do best while they provide insight and support on what they do best.
First, you’ve likely heard the adage “You can’t look forward without looking back.” To give a little bit of context on the rapid evolution of the tech industry, and more specifically something that many businesses are very familiar with, information technology or IT, Adam Walter with Virtual C shares, “Often we forget that the field of information technology (IT) is very young. A problem that has existed for quite some time is the lack of seasoned professionals. The first round of IT professionals graduated from college in the early 2000s, and before that there was not even a degree for IT. This means a truly seasoned professional has 15-20 years of experience at most.”
So how does that factor into tech trends that apply to businesses today? Walter explains, “There are still very few of these seasoned professionals available, but with our reliance on technology, we are desperate to hire the best. With this new field depth, a new trend that we are seeing is an increase in the use of management consulting to take advantage of these professionals. Other industries have enjoyed this luxury for decades, but information technology has largely had to forge the paths alone. For the first time, IT professionals are able to hire executive level consultants to help with their departments.
Of course, at Virtual C, we are most excited for this new level of engagement as IT shops around the world start shifting into a new level of professionalism. No longer does the small IT shop have to work alone. Now, CEOs have someone to turn to if they are concerned with technology in-house. The biggest thing our clients are asking for from us currently is agile (cultural) transformation, which is focused on helping departments increase communication and connect with business processes. They are really enjoying this new methodology as it starts creating an atmosphere of innovation in a stagnant field. It also creates a much more relaxed company as technical staff are able to adapt to the business much more quickly.
I really believe that IT coaching and fractional management will become more popular. Through coaching IT staff can have a mentor to accelerate their growth. Through fractional management; companies are able to save a lot of money by hiring more experienced staff than they could normally afford and gain an edge on their competitors.”
When asked if there was anything new offered by Virtual C on the horizon, Walter’s quick and enthusiastic response is as follows: “Indeed there is! We are launching a new product called ‘Soundboard’ where any company can engage Virtual C to help solve a problem, review a contract, or just bounce ideas. We realized that not every company needs a long term commitment. Sometimes you just need a professional to make sure you are making the right decision, or to help negotiate a contract. This is what Soundboard is built for in a nutshell. For a few thousand dollars you can have a panel of professionals solve the problem facing your company. Our soundboard has helped companies land large contracts, resolve issues with personnel management and caught errors that would have cost millions of dollars. Don’t know if you should move to the cloud? Are you struggling with personnel? Do you need to deal with an underperforming vendor? Or perhaps you just need help negotiating a complicated RFP. We are here to help.”
Along the same lines, he also provides a word of caution. “Avoid the trap of thinking that more technology will help your company. Technology adoption should be appropriate to the business needs. My advice to entrepreneurs and business owners out there is to avoid letting technology drive your business. Focus on what your business does and see if technology fits and augments what you do. If it does not, then it is unnecessary overhead.”
If you’re a business, especially a small business, keeping up with all the latest technology advancements might feel overwhelming. That is why Panology makes technical support and cloud services accessible to small and medium sized businesses. “As a business grows, so do the demands upon their technology,” acknowledges Darren Lichty with Panology Tech Solutions. “As your technology partner, we keep your technology growing with your business. Our services begin with assessment, where we perform a comprehensive investigation of the technology currently in use at your business. Whether a particular technology is causing you problems, you want to evaluate how your technology is performing, or you want to add a new technology to the mix. Whatever your business’s needs and goals, we will focus our assessment appropriately.
By lowering the barrier to cloud adoption through automation, you can begin (or accelerate) the movement of your workloads into the cloud with ease. Increase your agility and keep the technology that your business relies upon running, while you focus on what your business does best.”
Processors & Graphics
Today, if it doesn’t happen instantly, it’s too slow. Trends related to PCs, laptops, tablets, and smart phones have to do with speed. The resolution of graphics is another focal point.
“In my line of business, we expect to see more performance from PCs with new processors/chipsets and graphics cards coming out in Q3/Q4 2018,” says Justin Nolte with EXTREME PCs. “You can count on the introduction of processors with more threads and cores. New Intel and AMD processors have already emerged with these types of enhancements. What this translates to is a PC that can handle more rigorous tasks or other tasks much faster. Additionally, laptops have evolved with more technology and higher performance, namely faster hard drives and better graphics. We have also seen a increase in hard drive technology beyond typical SSDs (solid-state drives that have no moving parts). New PCI-E (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) architecture in hard drives writes data significantly faster than traditional SSDs because of its interface with moving parts. The new PCI-E architecture in hard drives is especially exciting as it calls for much faster boot-ups as well as faster app loads and accessing of data.
As for graphics, the new NVIDIA RTX graphics cards are expected to be a game changer going from the 10 series to the new 20 series. New Graphics Cards coming in September will be the new RTX 2070/2080 and 2080TI. What makes these cards revolutionary is not only their performance but the ray tracing ability. GeForce® RTX graphics cards are powered by the Turing GPU architecture and the all-new RTX platform. This gives you up to 6X the performance of previous-generation graphics cards and brings the power of real-time ray tracing and AI to games. When it comes to next-gen gaming and video performance, it’s all about realism. GeForce RTX 2080Ti is light years ahead of other cards, delivering truly unique real-time ray-tracking technologies for cutting-edge, hyper-realistic graphics.
Overall, it’s no exaggeration that tech changes every day, and these are just a few examples of what’s just around the corner. At EXTREME PCs, we specialize in providing the latest cutting-edge technology to all of our clients. We’d be more than happy to advise you on all of the latest tech trends in PCs, laptops, and personal devices and answer any questions you have about those, anytime, just stop in or give us a call.”
Although it’s now fairly common knowledge about what it means to be in/on “the cloud,” this was not the case even just a few years ago. This trend emerged with the introduction of various cloud-based services and colocation centers with servers designed for extensive data storage. True to form, in the modern context of “cloud computing,” what was forecasted as something that would change how we operate entirely did just that in a little over a decade’s time. As the user base has steadily grown, it’s become the standard for how we store, access, and use our data, online and off-site, to conduct our business operations (and for personal use, too).
“Many companies are moving away from premise-based solutions to cloud-based solutions,” says Brad Hedrick with Windstream. “Cloud-based solutions empower businesses to stay current with technology without having the inconvenience and expense of owning, managing and maintaining large in-office equipment. Two great examples of cloud-based solutions are Windstream’s SD-WAN and OfficeSuite UC® products.
SD-WAN enables businesses to be faster, safer and more efficient. It is a new ‘in-the-cloud’ service that brings faster Internet, business continuity and visibility to business owners. Using SD-WAN, businesses can ensure that critical functions, such as payment processing, get priority access to bandwidth. SD-WAN is tremendously exciting because it brings a sense of Internet control not previously available to business owners, including faster access speeds, Internet access redundancy, prioritization of voice and data transmission, and overall Internet usage visibility.
OfficeSuite UC is a multi-award-winning cloud-based voice communications solution trusted by 225,000 users. It provides an advanced phone system solution without all the in-office equipment maintenance and hassle. It can operate on smartphones, smart devices, and PC apps, extending a business’s office communications anywhere—allowing the business owner and employees great mobility while still being in contact. So, instead of business communications being confined to the office, everything is mobile.
We know that our business customers want simplified, yet powerful, communications solutions. The combination of SD-WAN and OfficeSuite UC really meets the need. Windstream isn’t stopping there. We are looking into additional business-continuity solutions, as well as additional Wi-Fi solutions, that will provide previously unavailable business management tools.”
In conclusion, he notes, “Technology is amazing and can really help improve a business’s bottom line. Windstream is prepared to stay at the forefront of technology and will remain focused on providing solutions that help businesses succeed.”
We’ve covered a lot of “buzz words” so far, and this is another one that you might hear thrown around by the pros.
“‘Instrumentation’ is a term I hear more and more, and it is not just a term used in my own industry, but a term that is being used in all types of industries,” says Tyler Pearson with ALLO Communications. “It simply means that businesses will have more digital tools to manage their business more efficiently and with greater cost savings. Innovations in things like 5G, AI, Machine Learning and VR/AR are just some of the examples of this.
There is a lot of talk about 5G and the various commercial applications that businesses and municipalities will potentially be able to utilize with 5G, which is exciting. However, I’m most excited about the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning as it is applied to business. AI and machine learning will eventually enable even small businesses to use the technology to create efficiencies and create cost savings.
I am also very excited about the ever-increasing application of VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) in the business space. Until recently, I think the value of VR has been limited primarily to the gaming industry. At least that has been the perception. I think we are just now seeing comprehensive adoption of VR and AR technologies in industries like telemedicine and engineering. I see a lot of opportunity to apply VR/AR to other industries like education and agriculture, among others.
In addition to the various AWS and Azure services we will be offering, we currently provide larger businesses with a direct, layer 2 connection to both AWS (AWS Direct Connect) and Azure. This eliminates the virtual connection generally required for connecting to AWS and Azure. A virtual connection works very well for small and medium size businesses, but some larger businesses require higher bandwidth, low latency connections for leveraging the various AWS and Azure products and services.
Ultimately, ALLO Communications is not a simple Internet & TV company, but a technology company. On the IT support front, we are working to provide a virtual call center solution to our business customers, both large and small. I believe our industry is poised to see a surge in the next few years of new technology and online services that will relatively quickly change the way businesses provide customer care, market, sell and create their products.”
Building Management Systems (BMS)
Building Management Systems (BMS), also referred to as Building Automation Systems (BAS), are yet another excellent example of trending technology that has incredible applications in the place where you work and conduct business.
“From a building technology perspective, there are a whole host of Building Management System (BMS) programs that will incorporate more advanced technology in the workplace,” says Pat Killeen with Engineered Controls. “These serve the purpose of making a building smarter and more efficient by providing essential instrumentation and control. A couple that serve as great examples are lighting and security. The lighting controls solution we provide at Engineered Controls can make lighting much more efficient. With smart scheduling, presence detection and photocells, you can ensure lights aren’t left burning in vacant areas and that lights are off in areas where there is already plenty of natural light. Then there’s our integrated security solutions to meet your every need. These include standalone and networked access control solutions, an intrusion detection or video surveillance solution, or a fully-integrated security system. There is now a whole array of new video cameras with better low light technology, and the number of manufacturers embracing the wireless lock technology is expanding at such a rapid pace that at some point it may overtake hardwired locks. Then there’s NFC readers that turn cell phones into credentials, integrated apps that notify law enforcement or others of emergencies, and vandalism/ballistic window laminates to add to the physical security and protect the occupants inside of buildings.
Engineered Controls offers our customers high quality products and services that create efficient, safe and comfortable building environments. So to that end, if someone was looking to leverage technology to improve the energy efficiency in their facility, we have products and service that will do that. On the other hand, if someone is looking to protect their people and assets, we have safety products and services involving cutting-edge technology that do that as well. As far as integration goes, we have team of experienced engineers assigned specifically to create custom integration solutions to pull all of the building equipment into a common BMS platform regardless of manufacturer.”
The drone craze is only growing. If you’re interested in buying a drone, there are some things you need to know. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts associated with being a drone owner:
- DO register your drone with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
- DO stay at least 5 miles away from airports
- DON’T fly over private properties or government facilities
- DON’T fly more than 400 ft above the ground
If it doesn’t make sense to invest in a drone yourself but you’re interested in utilizing drone technology for your business, Digital Sky is a local company that can help you create aerial volumetric analysis to save time, high resolution, and current aerial maps or photos.
“Technology is what our company is all about!” Exclaims Justin Kyser with Digital Sky. “Over the past four years, we’ve seen an explosion of technology that has enabled us to help our clients work better, ranging from increases in battery and the ability for smaller, more powerful cameras to be mounted on our drones. These things help us make the video productions we do for our clients look more cinematic, and increase their return on investment. This doesn’t just apply to our aerial video and photography capabilities, aerial mapping and inspections are also easier because of this. We’ve gone from being able to fly for 30 minutes on a single battery in our mapping drones, to close to an hour, which is a huge improvement and means we’re able to save costs and push that through to our clients!
Another thing that’s greatly impacting the work we do is business automation through a service called Schedudrone. We’re able to have our own page where clients request work, which is centered around a map. Clients simply show us on the map where they’d like service performed by either dropping a pin, outlining an area, or drawing a line. They can then attach information to those locations, select from our services, and send a request which we’re immediately able to give them a quote on. It makes the work we do more efficient and saves us time! Our request page can be found at digitalsky.schedudroneapp.com.”
When it comes to use of technology in operating a business, there is an abundance of potential. The fact that there’s always something new being introduced is an incredible thing. Enlist the help of the experts in the industry to help you stay up on tech trends that can help you keep moving your business forward.