Machines and data: The state of technology in Dutchess

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Via Poughkeepsie Journal : Machines and data: The state of technology in Dutchess

To kick off 2017, Poughkeepsie Journal reporters are assessing the state of critical issues on their beats. In this story, investigative reporter John Ferro looks at the state of technology in Dutchess County.

On the beat

Perhaps the most significant trend to watch in 2017 will be the growing use of data analytics driven by the explosion of connected “smart” devices.

Think of all the things that are being connected to the internet. Then, think of all the data flowing from those devices.

Business competitiveness increasingly is going to be dependent upon who can analyze that data and apply the findings most effectively. The impacts will be felt on everything from healthcare and manufacturing, to your local landscaper or pizza shop.

Not surprisingly, that’s where many jobs will be. Information Sciences and Systems; Management Information Systems and Logistics/Supply Chain account for three of the top 10 in-demand majors, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Worldwide revenues from Big Data and business analytics software is expected to grow 50 percent to $187 billion in the four-year period ending in 2019, according to a 2015 analysis by International Data Corporation.

In the fall, Marist College added a major and a minor in data science to its curriculum. Dutchess Community College is examining the creation of associate degree programs in data analytics and cybersecurity that would align with Marist’s program.

Globalfoundries has adapted its chip-manufacturing strategy at its plant in Fishkill to offer more products that enable wireless communication and data sharing.

Local medical groups such as HealthQuest are rapidly streamlining electronic-medical-record portals to make it easier for patients to gain access. The company plans to hire 12 full-time employees in the coming year to support day-to-day IT operations.

What follows are key details about technology and its impact on Dutchess County, from jobs to education to our every day lives.

What to watch for

New lab opening. A materials science lab, developed in partnership with the T-SEC (formerly the the Solar Energy Consortium), will open later this year on the Dutchess Community College campus. It will be available for use by engineering students, as well as manufacturers requiring access to the specialized equipment.

IBM expansion? Some tech analysts are wondering whether IBM will launch a new mainframe system this year. The company heads into 2017 more than two years into its product cycle for the z13 mainframe system. In the third quarter of 2016, the Poughkeepsie-based z Systems division produced $1.6 billion in revenue during the quarter, a 21 percent drop from the previous year.

Machines that learn. Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (connected devices) are among the trends that will dominate tech in 2017, according to Forbes, CBS and others. In December, Amazon announced that its Echo and Echo Dot devices — controlled by the voice-recognition “Alexa” software — were its best-selling products in 2016. And machine learning reached new heights in November when Google unveiled its improved Google Translate software.

Why you should care

The amount of personal data being shared between entities is increasing exponentially. That can be a benefit and a concern for consumers. Businesses that know more about their customers can tailor offerings — an experience anyone see in the curated advertisements that appear on Facebook pages. But consumers should be vigilant about privacy policies that are constantly being updated and allow consumers to opt out of some sharing. Meanwhile, security remains an issue, as evidenced by the never-ending reports of data breaches at retail and tech giants. In a sign of the times, Apple recently released an upgrade to its mobile operating system that introduced a second layer of authentication for access to consumer data stored in the cloud.

Key players

Sabrina Schutzsmith is a co-founder of the growing Hudson Valley Tech Meetup group, which holds monthly meetings focusing on tech developments in the mid-Hudson Valley. Last year, the group hosted its first “women in tech” event and earned the Think Dutchess Alliance for Business’ award for innovation.

Ross Mauri is general manager of IBM’s z Systems mainframes, which are made at the company’s plant on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie. A Marist College graduate, Mauri also serves as vice chairman of the college’s board of trustees.

Laurence Gottlieb serves as president and CEO of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation and is a local thought-leader on tech trends. In 2016, the group hosted a tech-focused panel at Marist College featuring top health care and higher-education executives, titled “Eds and Meds.”

Carl Meyer is president and CEO of T-SEC (formerly the the Solar Energy Consortium). The New Paltz-based, nonprofit group promotes manufacturing job creation through incubators and the acquisition of state and federal grants.

Key dates

Jan. 28: Hudson Valley Tech Meetup will host its second annual “A Day of Women in Tech” meetup. This year’s edition will be held at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

March 4: The New York State Association for Computers and Technologies in Education will hold its annual Hudson Valley regional conference at Roy C. Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls.

March 30: Deadline for a Government Accountability Office report on “trusted suppliers” of microelectronics for defense systems. The report was ordered by the House Committee on Armed Services after foreign-owned Globalfoundries took over IBM’s DOD-certified chip manufacturing operations in Fishkill and Burlington, Vermont.

By the numbers

$828 million: The value of Globalfoundries seven-year contract with the Department of Defense to manufacture leading edge microelectronics for weapons systems and other defense applications.

3,564: Number of Dutchess County residents employed in the information sector, according to U.S. Census estimates.

4,000: The number of computers HealthQuest expects to replace with a “virtual desktop” platform that will allow staffers to access their files and data from any screen at any station.

$1.6 billion: Revenue in the third quarter of 2016 from IBM’s Poughkeepsie-based z Systems division.

Investigative and Environmental Reporter John Ferro has written extensively about operations at IBM and GlobalFoundries, as well as other aspects of the technology industry during his more than 25 years at the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Source : POUGHKEEPSIE JOURNAL | Machines and data: The state of technology in Dutchess

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