Welcome to a new month. As we head into the New Year, we need to consider how business has changed in the past year and how it might also change in the year ahead. We are at the precipice of a great shift in business, all with the help of digital transformation and the IoT (Internet of Things). The time is now for great innovation. Let me explain.

Our supply chains are breaking. Our workers are leaving the workforce—many to retire for good. Our cyber systems are being hacked at an alarming rate. The pandemic has shined a spotlight on many weak spots in businesses, and that will continue to cripple many if nothing is done to fix it. This is not a new message.

At the same time, consumers are demanding customization and overnight deliveries. They want to be connected and they want products nearly immediately. All of this as many businesses are still operating old technology, while simultaneously bringing in new tools for digital transformation. And all of this is occurring in a world that desperately needs to move from grey to green but is doing it far too slow.

What we need now is greater resiliency and agility. We need to close the skills gap and find a solution for the retiring workforce. We need to meld the ways of old with the opportunities of new—and we need to do this all very quickly.

The good news is there are opportunities all around, if we are willing to look for them. Let me give you an example. The U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) is currently in the process of seeking input from the public about the public and private sector marketplace trends, supply-chain risks, and legislative, policy, and future investment needs of eight emerging technology areas. The topic areas include:

  1. AI (artificial intelligence)
  2. Internet of Things in manufacturing
  3. Quantum computing
  4. Blockchain technology
  5. New and advanced materials
  6. Unmanned delivery services
  7. Internet of Things
  8. 3D printing

The public can provide input by Jan. 31, 2022, in order to help identify, understand, refine, and guide the development of the current and future state of technology in these eight emerging technology areas. If you have thoughts about where we go from here, share your opinions.

While this is simply one example, I do believe there are brighter days ahead, if only we take the steps today to prepare for it. Here’s to a brighter tomorrow!

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