Posted by: Greg Ness | October 4, 2016

Digitalization, Cloud and IP Theft: Future in Review Highlights

I spent most of last week at the Future in Review tech conference in Park City listening to afuture-in-review-kicks-off-in-park-city series of intense 30 minute sessions on tech disruptions occurring across multiple fields, from advanced materials and computing to oceanography and pharma. It’s the kind of breadth and depth that probably led The Economist to call Future in Review “The best technology conference in the world.” [Images are furnished courtesy of Kris Krug photography]

I’ve handpicked what I think are some of the most timely and relevant sessions for enterprise executives, including my session on Digitalization, Cloud and the 21st Century Enterprise.


Opening Keynote: William Janeway on Globalization, Trade, Immigration and Democracy

janeway-keynoteJaneway (Warburg Pincus) kicked off Fire with a brilliant keynote highlighting the micro effects of macro trends, explaining a great deal of the momentum behind Brexit and current US political realities.  It was one of the most poignant and precise explanations of domestic reactions to globalization.

One key takeaway: societies need to do a better job of addressing the stresses and strains of global integration, including migration and trade and preparing for various shocks to the system.


Watch Janeway’s Keynote on YouTube


Digitalization, Cloud and the 21st Century

It was a big panel because execs from Microsoft, Google/Waze, Accenture, Oracle, SOASTA and Avnet had a lot to say.  We concluded that most large enterprises were not prepared for the digital/cloud age and would likely be disrupted by smaller companies with more focused digitalization and cloud projects. Agility and data would triumph over inertia.  My mantra looking forward: “He (or she) with the best algorithm wins.”fire-panel-1-jpg

“The emerging trend of digitalization is blurring the line between the physical and digital world. The dramatic reduction in the cost of data collection, storage and analysis in the last several years has opened the door for this change, and it’s changing the nature of business. Greg Ness guided a discussion. Panel on the consequences of digitalization on Day 2 of the Future in Review 2016 conference. Preston McAfee, Michael Schwarz, Mark Sunday, Tim Fitzgerald [not pictured], James Urquhart, and Edy Liongosari were also present as panel members.”


View the Digitalization Panel on YouTube


China and IP Theft: Boiling the Frog

Perhaps one of the most grounded and provocative panels dealt with the rising tide of intellectual property being stole by nation-sponsored theft.  The panel included the CEO of American Superconductor, a firm recently featured on 60 Minutes (The Great Brain Robbery) as a case study of IP theft and the damage in can wreak on a company and a nation.china-ip-theft-panel

“The session began with a clip from 60 Minutes, which went through the findings of an INVNT/IP report on China’s government sponsored theft of American IP. The clip also introduced the story of McGahn’s company, which suffered serious damage due to IP theft despite their best efforts.

Anderson spoke on China’s end game with the consistent flow of stolen IP to eventually take over major parts of the global economy. He suggested that relentless development was being used as an anesthetic by the Chinese government to quell public discontent.”




Visualizing IP Theft: Looking at the Incidents Globally

If you think the previous panel was bleak, the visualization of IP theft was even bleaker. Evan Anderson developed a database of known and suspected thefts from nation to nation to show a powerful visualization of intellectual property leaving the US for China and other nations. Russ Dagget moderated the panel discussion.visualizing-ip-theft

Anderson started by pointing out that INVNT/IP has a database of IP flows going back to 2001, originating from geotagged data points logging publicly disclosed thefts.

“The asset of innovation is intellectual property,” he said.

Montgomery visualized these flows by uploading them to The resulting data was displayed on a globe, with animated arrows flowing from the origin country to the destination country of the IP. Red arrows referred to public thefts, purple to known but publicly undisclosed thefts, and black being projected and unknown threats. 



It will be weeks if not months before I fully absorb all of the great content assembled by the Fire team. You can get a glimpse of the sessions here at the 2016 Fire agenda.  I plan to post highlights of several other “must read” sessions from Future in Review here in coming weeks, based on time. Stay tuned.

Given the rise of digitalization and cloud and the impact of growing cyber threats, successful enterprises will have to be faster and more secure than ever across the next 3-5 years. If you miss the cloud you increase your chances to be a victim of theft and disruption.  Check out the Clouds monthly newsletter for more on the much-needed cloud automation and orchestration revolution.

Special thanks to Kris Krug for the images used in this post. You can reach him at

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