If you’ve got your head in the clouds, you’re probably familiar with the iTech Conference, a cross-Canada event series that brings together those that work in IT infrastructure, security, cloud and mobility.
This week iTech’s Vancouver event attracted more than 700 people who came to learn about the changing role of the IT professional.
No longer just somebody who locks a server room at night, IT professionals are now responsible for managing the large-scale business opportunities that have been made available as a result of cloud computing.
Here are the top five insights from the conference:
1. Cloud is mature
Now that cloud has reached the mainstream, platform as a service (PaaS) providers are the norm, says Mark Janzen of IBM Canada. This means businesses such as Starbucks have access to previously closed-off markets.
2. Cloud is transformational
The “cognitive on cloud” movement will transform workspaces and customer interactions. Managers will split their time between human staff and leveraging cognitive technology, and bots will frequent customer service.
3. Cloud can expand or shrink
The cloud will make IT infrastructure a commodity. “In 3 years most companies will consume [IT] and pay a monthly fee, just like they do for water,” says Kyle Kilback, VP of Graycon.
4. Cognitive on cloud moves business beyond just storing data
One big industry that will reap benefits from the cloud and cognitive technology is health care. With 70% of corporate executives saying they plan to significantly increase their investments in AI-related technologies, companies will be able to extract more value as well as insight from the mountains of data they sit on. Terry Belanger, Brand Manager for IBM Power Systems, said treatment plans based on one’s genome are within possibility.
"I'm two years into a fight against melanoma," Terry Belanger, Power Systems Brand Leader, @IBM Canada tells #iTechVan. The possibilities of #cognitive #health care are "incredible," he says. In the future, @ibmwatson could analyze #data sequenced from his #genome and then create a personalized #treatment schedule. "I could have had a plan within a few hours of being in a hospital instead of a four or five month process," he says. #MachineLearning programs are designed to change and develop as they learn more: Progress is being made.
5. Security and the cloud go hand in hand
Investment in the cloud should be matched with investment in security. IT professionals need to raise awareness of issues ranging from vulnerable nodes, to people using personal devices on corporate networks, and corporate devices in personal use. Testing and updating a security plan is a must.