Tech is here, there, everywhere

Posted on Jan 30, 2020 :: Standing Feature
Posted by , Insight on Technology Staff Writer

Technology is interwoven into our lives. From the time we get up in the morning and grab our phone to check emails to the end of the day when we glance at the phone to check tomorrow’s schedule, most of us are tied to our devices looking for information, communicating with others or just taking a break by looking at the latest memes or silly videos. But that daily interaction with our electronic devices is just the beginning of the expanding role technology plays in our lives.

Think about health care. Most health systems have apps or online portals where patients can connect directly with their providers and staff to get questions answered or schedule appointments. But it goes deeper than that. Technology also improves the care we receive. Case in point: the EyeBOX, the first FDA-approved neurodiagnostic device that uses proprietary and innovative technology to track eye movement to determine if a person has a concussion. The TitletownTech venture fund recently led an $8 million funding round for EyeBOX creator Oculogica, a company run by two sisters from Beaver Dam.

EyeBOX is just one example of how technology improves health. More health care systems are investing in telemedicine so patients in rural areas can be “seen” by a provider many miles or even states away. That investment in technology is vital, health care providers say, since it makes care more accessible. To learn more about the role technology plays in the medical field, turn to page 6 and read Jessica Thiel’s cover story on the topic.

When most of us hear the words “virtual reality,” our minds usually shift to video games. While that is one use of the technology, businesses are finding the value in using VR in other ways, including employee training. For decades, J. J. Keller & Associates Inc. produced publications and then videos to help with training, whether for a specific skill or a more nuanced topic, such as how to deal with conflict. Now the Neenah company is venturing into the world of Video 360 and VR to produce a training session on sexual harassment. Employees either wear special goggles or download an app on their phone and place it in a device like Google Cardboard. From there, the employee is transported to the role of bystander as a co-worker is sexually harassed. The app provides the trainee with several options he or she could take and then responds to the answer. Turn to page 11 and read my article on the role VR can play in workforce training.

Five years may not seem like a long time, but for Kim Iversen, the director of the NEW IT Alliance, it has been transformative. On page 14, Iversen compares what the region’s IT initiatives looked like in 2015 to what’s happening today. It’s a stunning look at accomplishments, including the increase in the number of computer science classes in high schools and the creation of the NEW IT Alliance. Seeing how much has changed in five years, I can only imagine what the next five years will bring.