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Emerging from a Locked Down World

Steven Hedrick

It may be hard to imagine, but we will not live in a COVID-19 locked down world forever. Leaders have been talking about emergence since March 2020.

But how do we ensure that we will we emerge from this stronger, safer, cleaner and better?

There are many possible answers to this challenging question, and here is one.  Our ability to leverage big data to drive improvements and solve problems, augmented by artificial intelligence (AI), must be sustained and magnified. 


The fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, and we have a better opportunity today than ever before to find industry, commerce and society working collaboratively. 

As America continues the effort to reshore manufacturing capabilities, we must lean into smart manufacturing and the industrial internet of things.
 

A first example is process control systems for medical devices such as ventilators and vital-sign monitors, essential devices when fighting disease.


We can leverage predictive analytics to eliminate defects in products to ensure our front-line workers have the tools and resources they need to serve patients.

Second, we have to allow this legacy of a COVID environment to be our springboard to move forward with solutions that are strengthened through AI.

For example, all construction and new builds should be smart-enabled across industrial, commercial and residential sectors. This needs to be the standard moving forward.

Finally, specifically in America, infrastructure is needed. We must recognize and satisfy the “work from anywhere environment” that now exists. Employees need adaptable connectivity to fully and functionally execute their jobs from wherever they might be.

This dramatic change in how humans work around the world has made broadband access a utility… not a privilege. America would be shortsighted not to enable adaptable connectivity through national broadband infrastructure.

(We also need downstream infrastructure in Appalachia for the petrochemical industry, a topic for which I am immensely passionate. But that’s another topic for another day.)

As we roll forward in 2021, we must continue to focus on advancing our society and creating a stronger, safer world. Enable yourself and others around you to cut through the noise of the day and focus on moving forward – personally and professionally – with purpose and productivity.

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