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Have you heard what others are saying? A word from our friend and client, Joseph Perez

Attending the Premier CIO Forum in Raleigh is essential for me as a 30-year IT/innovation professional.  It is one of the highlights of my schedule each year, with several key benefits of this event coming to mind.

First of all, the opportunity for networking with other IT professionals has proven to be an invaluable means of building camaraderie and rapport.  It allows me to communicate with other like-minded individuals, whether they are in my particular industry or not.  There is something to be said about both sharing fresh ideas with others along with gaining new insights from others.  It’s a two-way street, and it’s a win-win for all parties involved.  Not only do I benefit from additional knowledge, but I get the satisfaction of knowing I helped someone else who was also in need.  Regardless of the specific industry, people in IT (at least the best ones) are, by nature, constantly looking for ways to improve their processes and increase efficiency, while avoiding “burn-out” at the same time.  Everyone improves & benefits from encouragement & motivation.  Being in a room with others who are going through similar situations and hearing how they got through them is remarkably cathartic.

Secondly, the sessions themselves were very informative and eye-opening.  Imagine how much you would learn about physics if you were to gather up a dream team comprised the best instructors and professors from high-profile Universities to meet with you for one day. The Premier CIO Forum is a similar experience. Of course, a one-day conference in no way compares to a college education or even a semester class, but my point is that these sessions with industry experts allow me to tap into their collective wisdom – and that’s powerful.  At this specific conference, I had an additional perspective: I had the honor of speaking at one of those sessions.  It was outstanding to see “the light come on” in the faces of my audience, and it was encouraging to receive the overwhelming positive feedback afterwards.  Knowing I made an impact on someone else by what I said is extremely satisfying, and I can only imagine the other speakers feeling the same way.  What a tremendous opportunity for innovation on a personal level!  And as I said in my presentation, “If you’re not innovating, then you’re stagnating!”

Lastly, the Premier CIO Forum provided a means to enhance future networking.  That is, not only did I meet some phenomenal people while at the event, but also having shared contact information also resulted in many professional social media.  In fact, my involvement with the Premier CIO Forum (and Premier Connects) has been largely responsible for a 25% increase in my LinkedIn network (from just over 3000 to more than 4100 connections).  The opportunity for both giving and receiving; the unknowns of whether you will be the mentor or the mentee; the win-win of sharing advice and being advised – and much more – all combine to make the Premier CIO Forum both an unforgettable experience and an incalculable value to the IT professional.  With an incomparable staff and first-class leadership at the helm, you can’t go wrong with Premier Connects.

A New Year, A New Commitment

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the company that was spawned out of technology giant Hewlett-Packard’s corporate restructuring in 2015, has already established itself as the gold standard of the IT industry. That’s why it is such a tremendous honor for Premier Connects to appear on one of HPE’s coveted ‘best of’ lists, in this case, “Top 14 Conferences for CIOs in 2019.” We at Premier Connects really feel we’ve arrived, as its a hard-fought privilege to garner the recognition from a proven thought leader like HPE, and to be among so many respected contemporaries.

Premier Connects continues our well-earned reputation into the new year, with more top-notch speakers and exciting events. For 18 years, Premier Connects, formerly Premier Event Management, has engineered industry focused CIO events, and over that time has expanded to 16 cities nationally. We procure the cream of the crop in each city’s event to bring the region’s top IT minds to act as advisers. The advisers speak and lead on topics affecting the IT industry as a whole, while also maintaining focus on the region’s particular trends and needs. Additionally, Premier events can act as a great starting point for companies, as there is no admission fee to Director level executives and higher!

2019 brings a whole new face to Premier Connects, and we’re here to disrupt the standard presentation of CIO conferences by creating a more engaging, dynamic and hands-on experience while learning and networking. With our updated name, also comes new leadership, who adamantly bring with them a revived sense of commitment, not to mention a larger scale than ever before. Through collaborations with such industry luminaries as Google, Oracle and Lenovo, and speakers ranging from CIOs of Aetna to Comcast, there is no shortage of things to be excited about all through 2019. Additionally, we’ve revamped our focus on the physical enjoyment of the conferences themselves. We’ve stepped up our standard of event spaces, and will be holding them in higher class venues (Ritz-Carlton anyone?), not to mention our innovative execution of the conferences with our “no-booth” approach, allowing for a more fluid, dynamic experience where you will never be faced with an uncomfortable sales pitch.

The event infrastructure is not the only cutting edge aspect of the new Premier Connects; our recently unveiled app will completely streamline the sometimes confusing and overwhelming corporate conference experience. No more long lines waiting to check in, receive itineraries, etc. The entire checking in process is handled digitally, allowing for more time to network and explore. And speaking of networking, the app allows for an instant exchange of contact information through a simple touch and messaging feature. Viewing the schedule and customizing your own itinerary is all handled in the app as well, allowing for the most possible time to fully seize this opportunity.

2019 is already off to a great start for Premier Connects. We know this is going to be our best and most revolutionary year yet, and we can’t wait to see you at one of our exciting events across the country!

Machine Vision…and Squirrels?

Mechanically, the human visual system is not unique. We surpassed our own abilities long ago with inventions that catapulted us into areas of the light spectrum that most living creatures can’t reach. The photo lens, essentially a glass eye, is pretty well perfected.

But human perception is another matter. The 15 centimeters that lay behind the eye – the brain – is a massive net of neurons that process focused light into image, and image into meaning. That last phase, the part where blobs become quantifiable bits, ripe for the flipping has yet to be simulated. At least not to the level we expect, right?

You’d be surprised.

Wait, so machines can “see”?

No. To “see” is a huge set of tasks revolving around the ability to know, to understand, to learn, and to decide. To “see” is a precursor to reaction and oneof many sensors that allow us to monitor and audit our behavior. What machines have, currently, is vision – a consequence of sight plus interpretation. The way objects are identified in different lighting conditions, from different angles, with different permutations of size, color, and shape is the task of vison.

To illustrate, consider the “Eureka Machine” from Cornell University. After a few hours staring at the movement of a double pendulum, a motion that is extremely chaotic and difficult to predict, the Eureka machine managed to conclude: Fma, better known as Newton’s second law of motion. It took less than a day to make an inference that had massive impacts on our understanding of the world around us.

What happened next was a little less surprising: nothing. The machine went right on whirring and clicking, unaware of itself or the meaning of its conclusion. Later on, the machine would produce equations to explain phenomena that scientists couldn’t even understand. The machine, like a ditch digger, had done its job and unearthed a new artifact. It was done.

So, machine vision is like AI?

I’m going to use the word synergy here: Synergy.

Many consider machine vision to be a subset of the study of artificial intelligence, but truthfully the two fields could exist agnostic of one another. The areas of interest though overlap significantly, so the two are often found synergistically feeding into each other as part of a single application.

Take my new favorite app for example: Blippar. Blippar is just a machine vision demo at first blush, but the more curious user might stumble upon some very interesting features. One of these is that it recognizes and identifies plants quite well. With no more interaction than to point your phone at a potted plant, Blippar spots, names, and even describes the plant to you (through a set of suggested links and factoids) all in real time. Besides being scary accurate, Blippar is a great case-in-point study of how machine vision and AI work together.

But, how does that help me?

Blippar won’t deduce the laws of motion for you, not that you’d have much use for that, but it does give you some exciting ideas. These fresh areas of study are rife with opportunities for application way outside the industry of tech. AirBnB’s creative team just released a blog post on how they used machine learning (another subset of AI) and machine vision to generate code from sketches. Literally, they sketched out wireframes for a web template, showed it to their machine, and it coded it for them in real time. Watch the video, it’s pretty cool.

Far and away my favorite example of machine vision improving life on Earth is the example of Kurt Grandis. He’s the machine learning expert who created a water cannon turret to blast away squirrels in his backyard. Check it out (demo video at around 16:00)

You can even play with a neural network – the simulated brain of a machine with vision – in your own browser. Like, right now: https://goo.gl/xJXCmB

For more on AI and all its applications (and dangers), our expert AI speakers have you covered:

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