Key Takeaways from the #StateofTech16

By: Kayla Koehmstedt, Marketing Intern

Tuesday, August 16th was a great day in Fargo as the State of Technology 2016 conference took place at the Hilton. Along with good food and conversation, the event was filled with facts and challenges facing today’s technological world. In fact, we learned so much we thought we would share some key takeaways from the conference.

Takeaway #1: Technology is getting smarter and growing faster than ever before.

Jake Joraanstad, CEO of Myriad Mobile, opened the conference by speaking on the idea of exponential “smart” growth, and this theme held true throughout the day. Jake spoke on how not only his company, but many other companies and industry sectors have seen “smart” technologies, such as robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning, grow exponentially.


Takeaway #2: Thoughts and ideas are coming to life because of technology.

“Inspiring innovation, that’s what we’re all about,” said US Senator John Hoeven during his opening remarks. With the rise of smart technologies, as well as other technological advances, innovation is happening all around us. Whether it be in the form of Mukai Selekwa’s social media managing platform, Neil Bracken’s cloud seeding at Weather Modification Inc. or Dakota Carrier Network’s implementation of internet and Wi-Fi across the state, innovation and growth are happening all around us in North Dakota.


Takeaway #3: Technology is going the distance…literally.

The conference also included a keynote from Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft. Smith’s talk focused on technology and the need for accessibility for all, even as the need for technology grows. With today’s technology, Microsoft has been able to bring internet to parts of the world that would have never been able to access it just 5 years ago. In Kenya, Microsoft was able to provide internet in a small shack that doubles as an internet café. Because of this, many Kenyans are able to receive online schooling, job training and access to the world around them.


Takeaway #4: Technology is changing the way business is done.

The growth and innovation is not only bringing internet and other technologies to different parts of the world; it is also making information more accessible via the cloud. The idea of cloud computing is becoming increasingly more popular with businesses and individuals alike who have a desire to share and access files from anywhere, not just plugged in to a system internet. This technology has changed the way many companies do business. “We need to help every company transform,” Smith said.


Takeaway #5: Technology is saving lives.

Michael Chambers, CEO of Aldevron, spoke on how his company is using biotechnology to make breakthroughs in the medical field, specifically in plasmid DNA and protein production, and antibody development. Through these developments, Aldevron has been able to offer products to pharmaceutical companies to do groundbreaking science that will hopefully save lives. Some of the projects their products have been applied to include malaria and cancer research. Through the use of technology, lives are being enhanced and saved.

The speakers at the conference proved that technology is growing, whether it be that we can now control what happens in the literal clouds or manage what happens in “the cloud”. At the end of the day, Joraanstad and fellow emcee Camille Grade left the crowd with a challenge: What if North Dakota was the number one place to design, develop, and test autonomous technology?

We are excited for our state, and can’t wait to help North Dakota become the State of Technology.

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