More than 100 business owners and executives learned how to use data and the Internet of Things to grow their business during an Aug. 3 conference at Montclair State University.
The event, “Tools for Decision Making: Innovating in a Changing World,” was presented by four organizations: Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey, Meadowlands Regional Chamber, Newark Regional Business Partnership, and Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship.
“We wanted to offer a conference for small and midsize businesses that would cover innovative topics like Internet of Things, and how to leverage data to enhance their business,” said Dennis Bone, founding director of the Feliciano Center. “We were thrilled to partner with CIANJ, NRBP and Meadowlands, which are three organizations I have known well for a long time.”
The keynote speaker for the event was Michele Brown, president and CEO of Choose NJ. Brown spoke about why companies would decide to come to, or stay in, the Garden State, using the food industry as just one example.
The first panel at the conference featured a robust discussion about how the Internet of Things can impact businesses. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a phrase for using network connectivity so that everyday items can send and receive data. Examples include remote-controlled home appliances or parental monitoring of teen drivers. The panel included Daniel Borok, managing partner at Newark Venture Partners; Leecia Eve, VP of State Government Affairs for NY, NJ, CT Region at Verizon; Chris Leberknight, associate professor of Computer Science at Montclair State; and Michael Liguori, CEO and founder of Vognition, with Barbara E. Kauffman, EVP of Newark Regional Business Partnership, as moderator. The speakers covered various issues related to IoT, including security risks related to hacking into these devices.
The event’s second panel provided tips on using data to be agile and nimble with your business. The panelists were Bob Agresti, CFO/COO of O’Neill Logistics; Carina Pologruto, EVP and general manager of Marketsmith and Ipredictus; and David Gaudreau, VP of B-to-B Services at Infogroup, with Rashmi Jain, professor and chair of Department of Information Management and Analytics at Montclair State as moderator. The speakers told attendees how to ask the right questions when designing a plan to gather and use data, what data collection and analysis can cost, and how to respond when data results may be unexpected.