September 13, 2018

The Carroll County Long Term Advisory Council (LTAC) was formed and appointed in January 2017 at the request of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners to help develop a 30-year plan for the future of Carroll County. The Council consists of seven Clusters that focus on areas like education, business, recreation, and technology.

The Technology Cluster, Chaired by CTC’s Kati Townsley, was formed in April 2017 and has held numerous collaborative meetings with community and technology leaders over the past year. In July they gave a presentation of recommendations to the Council, and in November will be giving the final report to the Commissioners, Community Leaders, and the Community. The Technology Cluster identified 13 tech trends that will likely be prominent in 2047, ranging from autonomous cars, to med tech, to drones. Here are a few highlights:

Artificial Intelligence is set to transform business in ways we’ve not seen since the Industrial Revolution, and will fundamentally reinvent how businesses run, compete and thrive. When implemented holistically, Artificial Intelligence helps to improve productivity and lower costs, unlocking more creative jobs and creating new growth opportunities. It will likely displace entry level knowledge workers where algorithms, deep learning, and big data evolve into AI applications with faster and more accurate results.

At the same time, adopting AI is going to take time and money. These don’t have to be net-new expenditures. If organizations still have line items in their budgets for IT, now is the time to direct most of that to AI. As big data continues to grow in collection points or complexity, serving as input to AI networks, the logistics/distribution, health care, legal, finance, insurance, advertising and entertainment sectors will be likely influenced most initially.

Broadband Infrastructure will be of utmost importance. In the early 2000s, Carroll County invested in publicly owned fiber infrastructure to reduce costs and improve services for public schools, county government, and Community Anchor Institutions such as the Carroll County Public Library, local law enforcement, etc.

But broadband is more than local infrastructure and available providers in Carroll County.

The totality of the Internet relies on shared fiber circuits and network exchanges. This infrastructure is at risk due to fiber cuts and even rising ocean levels. There are no Internet Exchanges in the entire State of MD – all of our Internet traffic has to go somewhere else. Decisions will have to be made on a local, regional, and national level regarding expansion and maintenance of this crucial infrastructure.

Virtual-reality trends—from revolutionizing designer-client communication to improving construction-site performance—combine complex data and increasingly accurate (and vivid) visualizations in ways that will ultimately transform industries.

Virtual reality (VR) will become more mainstream. When you look at the growth trajectory of the VR industry over the past few years, it is clear that only great things lie ahead. Just a few years ago (in 2014), there were about 200 thousand active virtual reality users. This increased to 90 million active users in 2017, and it is projected to increase to 171 million users in 2018 (almost double that of 2017). The virtual reality software industry has gone from being a measly $129 million industry in 2015 to a projected $2.57 billion industry in 2018.

With Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, humans and machines will unite in the Workforce.

Interested in learning more? Plan to attend the community LTAC presentation in November, or contact Kati Townsley with questions: kati@carrolltechcouncil.org, 443-244-1262.

© 2017 Carroll Technology Council | 443.244-1262
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