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April 17, 2013 | Tom Ballard

Digital imaging, megatrends, fear of MRIs among topics discussed in Chattanooga

They discussed everything from digital imaging for research and conservation to design engineering to address children’s fear of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines during yesterday’s sixth annual “Technology Transfer Conference” in Chattanooga.

Hosted by The Enterprise Center (EC), the event drew about 350 pre-registrations, according to Chris Daley, EC’s Director of Technology Development and Transfer and conference organizer.

Keynote speaker was Imran Akbar, Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Networks and Communications for Motorola Solutions. The seasoned telecommunications industry executive identified a series of megatrends that are impacting the industry sector.

“One big megatrend is mobile broadband,” Akbar said, noting that Chattanoogans understand this trend very well as a result of the Electric Power Board’s gigabit to the home initiative. Comparing the deployment locally to other cities vying to attract Google’s attention, he said that “Chattanooga does not need Google’s fiber. You already have it”

In addition to mobile broadband, Akbar identified other telecommunications-related megatrends as social media – “It’s no longer a fad” – and big data – “90 percent of the data in the world was created in the last two years.”

Earlier in the morning, Jared Spool, Founder of a company named User Interface Engineering, delivered a presentation titled “Experience Design Is Business’ New, (Not So) Secret Competitive Weapon.” He emphasized his points by describing how:

  • Cirque du Soleil used experience design to turn the traditional circus revenue model that had proven unprofitable into a moneymaker; and
  • GE Healthcare lowered sedation rates for children undergoing MRIs from 80 percent to less than .01 percent. will have more in-depth follow-up articles on each of these presentations next week.

E. Keats Webb, Digital Imaging Specialist with the Smithsonian Museum, was the first speaker. During her presentation, she described how the Smithsonian used “old and new tech, low and high tech” to enable research and enhance preservation and conservation of the art within its many collections.

The conference also featured a panel discussing how to leverage the region’s technology assets. Both Oak Ridge facilities were represented – Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Jeff Cornett, Manager of Economic Development) and Y-12 National Security Complex (Jeremy Benton, Manager of Technology Commercialization and Partnerships).

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