Episode 31

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Published on:

19th Jul 2023

31: Dive Into The Evolution of Technology - with Prashanth Sharma

Meet Prashanth Sharma:

Prashanth is the CTO at thought focus and leads the technology function across all business lines and customer engagements. With over 22 years of industry experience. Prashanth is spearheading the next wave of technology growth at thought focus, motivating teams to exceed customer expectations. He's a natural innovator with entrepreneurial flair. Prashanth is driven to architect new tools and strategies that bring together people processes and technology to solve complex business challenges. A trusted technology advisor both in-house and to third focus clients, Prashanth leads the development of innovative business solutions custom-built for client success. Prashanth entrepreneurial mindset has characterized his career, his technology leadership was integral to the success of two technology startups, which have gone into multimillion-dollar solution providers. Before joining thought focus Prashanth worked in key positions at Tech Mahindra and ces era software. 

Lori: What is your positioning on AI? And how can people make sure that they're staying relevant and, and ready for the evolution of what's happening in the future here?


Prashanth: That's such a great question only because AI seems to be the centerpiece of conversations for every single person on this planet today, who understands technology, or who connects with technology in some form or the other, right? And typically, whenever there are new technologies, there are always conversations at the beginning of the hype cycle where you think that technology is going to be a game changer, that technology is going to take away jobs, if you want to look at it from a different perspective, or that technology is going to change our lives so drastically that we've got all going to be in flying cars in two years. So, you know, AI has followed the same pattern in terms of human behavior and their analysis of a new technology that is being introduced, and they're getting to know this AI as a technology is not new, how we interact focus have been working on AI technologies for the last eight years. What has changed in the last, probably six months is that it has been democratized by the likes of tech GPT and others. There are also a couple of other technical improvements that have gone into AI models if you will, that have enabled this conversation that we are having, as well as other conversations that other people are having in either boardrooms or podcasts or just to friends on meeting across the table for coffee. It's changed the way people understand AI and look at AI as a practical solution. Because if you log into chat GPD and ask a question, you get an answer that is meaningful enough now that people understand that okay, this is a technology to reckon with, right? So, all right Just a baseline AI is a technology. That's where the conversations are. But primarily, the improvements in the models have resulted in enabling AI as a technology to solve meaningful problems for people or businesses. Asking a question and getting an answer is probably a relatively simple one. But what happens, especially if you take such generative models or transformer models than they do models or where your algorithms create new information or data for you? And when you take both of these algorithms or models, combine them and train them on large data sets, you get a really powerful computing and answering machine for you. And it's only up to the human imagination to figure out how to apply that technology. If your business and if you train those powerful models on a set of data that is within your sphere of business, then it becomes that much more efficient. They're called large language models, primarily because they are connecting information, words, data, and whole large space of the internet, if you will, or data spaces. So when you connect all that language, and words and meanings and everything else and get the context, what you can do with that information is beyond imagination at that point in time. And that is why this technology is a game changer. You know, in our lifetime, we have seen technologies that have become game changers internet was one of those fundamental aspects that allowed us to connect to each other in a virtual world. We're having this podcast today, because of the internet. And the internet was, was the hype. At one point, there were skeptics, they were people who said this will change the world. It didn't really change the world only because a lot of people said, Okay, this is how I want to connect. AI is, in my opinion going to be a similar technology where it allows people to connect to this sort of powerful platform in a way that our thinking or behavior or aspects of processing information and learning everything will change. And that will change businesses. So to answer the second part of your question, is it going to change jobs? Yes, it is going to change the way we conduct our jobs. It's not going to take away jobs, maybe but it is definitely going to change the way we all conduct businesses. So it is going to change our jobs in a certain way.


Kris:  What technologies do you see having long-lasting impressions and changes for businesses going forward?


Prashanth: That's an interesting question. Because anyone and I feel when I predict technology, it gets obsolete immediately. It's just the nature of technology. Evolution is so fast that whatever you think is going to be the next big thing is already the thing of yesterday as such. But fundamentally, there are a couple of things that could be the flagpoles, if you will, in terms of where technologies are going to be the things of the future. If you look at the evolution of technology, and right from the day, when you had the mainframe computers today, with AI, all the conversations, deal with a couple of important things, the first and foremost data and converting that data to information that is actionable. And the way we process and analyze data, whether it's for business for humans, for people, whatever it is, it's changing. So from that standpoint, even if you take AI it is building context and intelligence on data. Some time ago, the whole big data conversation or data analytics conversation was also around that. So any technology that deals with making it easy to access information is going to be the key piece whether it is a visual aggregation of the information or gathering information from different sources or putting information into, a box, which is just a box, a magic box that you ask a question and you get an answer from sort of the thing, all of that. So the evolution of the next phase of technologies is going to be connecting the dots of this information and the other world becomes more connected. as our world becomes more and more active in sharing information. Today, information is very prevalent and available, the technologies that are better at doing that job and connecting the data and providing them with information are always going to be at the forefront. So that's why you talk about IoT, or connected factories, or self-driving cars, and all those things these days, because information about roads with the GPS system about all the things that are on the road with the camera, and that is all collated for you to have that self-driving car technology. So I think that's one of the flatboats. And today, that particular piece is around AI, data analytics, and visualization and all those aspects, right? The other technology, that is, again, a game changer is communication. Our communication has also kind of evolved, we're still communicating, I wouldn't say the same way, because I don't understand half the words that are used on the internet these days, and to say, all, but it's just very different. And the slags are very different and all of those pieces, but the way to communicate has evolved as well with the convenience of communication. And most people like to text rather than pick up the phone and call people these days because it's convenient to text. And similarly, that piece when you're communicating, it's whether it's with people, with the system, or with the world around you, that is also a place where it is going to change. The reason why Apple thought it was a good idea to release the VR technology right now is because they think that is going to be a good platform for the world's information to be collected and presented. And for you to communicate through that device. At this point in time. I'm a little, I would say skeptical about how efficient that will be right now. But I know that is the future in terms of how we interact. Even today, when you look at training, let's say for example, a machine operator or a maintenance worker, that technology is in use today because it all relays information to the real world so well that you can communicate in that device in terms of what is happening around you and with somebody in your ear talking you through what needs to be done all those pieces, right? So information and communication are always going to be the centerpiece of what technology does to the business to the world if you will, and those technologies are going to continue to evolve. And if you want to do anything in this space, those are the two areas I would say, Be focused on and bring that together.




And so much more… 



Connect with Prashanth!


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Connect with the broads!


Connect with Erin on LinkedIn and visit http://www.earthlinginteractive.com for web-based solutions to your complex business problems!


Connect with Lori on LinkedIn and visit www.keystoneclick.com for your strategic digital marketing needs!  


Connect with Kris on LinkedIn and visit www.genalpha.com for OEM and aftermarket digital solutions!

Transcript
Lori Highby:

All right. So it's a big milestone for Keystone click Chris.

Kris:

I know it's so exciting. I am so very happy for you. You know, it is a big milestone. Congratulations. 15 years.

Lori Highby:

I know just thank you. Where does the time go? You know, what's even more exciting is that we're gonna get to meet in person.

Kris:

Yes. After all these years, yeah. And attempts. Yes. Yeah.

Lori Highby:

Lots of attempts, actually. But most people what's our listeners probably don't know that. You Erin and I haven't actually met in

Kris:

Even though we're fact we're in the same states. And, you know, it's just so easy to connect today remotely, that you can build a really great

Lori Highby:

numerous times.

Kris:

Well, I'm really excited to celebrate with you next week on that great milestone. So congratulations to you and your team. I know that

Lori Highby:

so much. Looking forward to seeing you in person. Yay.

Kris:

All right, should we move to our guest? We have Prashant Sharma here today from thought focus. And I'm going to take a minute just to introduce

Kris:

architect new tools and strategies that bring together people processes and technology to solve complex business challenges. A trusted technology

Kris:

Before joining thought focus Prashanth worked in key positions at Tech Mahindra and ces era software for schomp. Welcome to the broadcast.

Unknown:

Thank you very much, Chris, lovely to be talking to you both on a Friday and feel excited to be on the on this podcast. Thank you for having

Lori Highby:

So I've got to ask him to jump in. I mean, everyone, the listeners know, AI is definitely the area that I geek out about it. And you

Unknown:

That's such a great question only because AI seems to be the centerpiece be the centerpiece of conversations for every single person on

Unknown:

it from a different perspective, or that technology is going to change our lives so drastically that we've got all going to be in flying cars in two

Unknown:

been democratized by the likes of tech GPT and others. There are also a couple of other technical improvements that have gone into AI models, if

Unknown:

answer that is meaningful enough now that people understand that okay, this is a technology to reckon with, right. So, all right Just a baseline AI is

Unknown:

they do models or where your algorithms create new information or data for you. And when you take both of these algorithms or models, combine them and

Unknown:

language models, primarily because they are connecting information, words, data, and whole large space of the internet, if you will, or data spaces.

Unknown:

fundamental aspects that allowed us to connect to each other in a virtual world. We're having this podcast today, because of the internet. And the

Unknown:

our thinking or behavior or aspects of processing information and learning everything will change. And that will change businesses. So to answer the

Lori Highby:

Yeah, I agree. 100%. Like you I love that you brought up the just the evolution of the Internet and, and how that change jobs. I mean,

Lori Highby:

now. But yeah, it's the natural evolution of technology, creating efficiencies and in pivoting kind of specific role. Duties, basically,

Unknown:

one of the aspects that is very difficult to understand or even fathom, sometimes glorious when these technologies come into play. And we

Unknown:

software teams took those models to figure out if they can find a way to generate a program code, if you will. So let's say if I want to add two

Unknown:

you take a guess how long it took for the team to figure out that answer with the current AI technology that's out there?

Lori Highby:

I imagine it's fairly quickly.

Kris:

With the right prompt,

Unknown:

less than three days, we had a working tool that would allow people to generate code for actual purposes, right, and the languages that

Lori Highby:

I mean, it's already coming in at a fast pace. And Chris knows that I'm definitely one that nerds out on this quite a bit. And I struggled

Lori Highby:

that are not going to be they're not early adopters, you know, we know this bell curve of, you know, what percentage is early adopters, and laggards.

Lori Highby:

know, to unfold. I don't know if that's making sense at all. But I'm just it I feel like that there's, as a society, we need to be educating everyone

Kris:

Yeah, I think it's a really good point, too. I will tell you that we've already incorporated using AI in our sales and marketing efforts. And

Kris:

tried chapter CPT, and they still don't know what it is. So I think you're bringing up a really fair point. And that doesn't even go to the larger

Kris:

when do you catch up? Curious, your thoughts, Prashant,

Unknown:

you both are making me eat out so much that this Friday morning is getting better and better. I can go on for hours about this. The socio

Unknown:

behavior that you will probably see is people will start forming opinions and based on the opinions, people are either strong advocates or people are

Unknown:

if you will. We don't realize that like when we use Siri or other things right now it is already part of our lives. But what you will see is an

Unknown:

that technology and start using it. And the best accelerator for that is convenience. The more it enables convenience, the easier it is for, for it

Unknown:

something. And I don't think a lot of people will have the choice to be left behind, they'll just be smoking into it. Yeah.

Kris:

Well, I like what somebody had said, is that Google was a place where you asked questions, and you got a query of results that you had to then go

Unknown:

in terms of what you've seen, Chris, the you're using AI for sales for marketing, and you're using AI and other pieces? How easy has it been

Kris:

It's so I mean, you use the right word, it's incredibly convenient. And it speeds up our entire process of, you know, coming up with new ideas.

Kris:

technology is bringing you back when you prompt it properly, right to bring back answers that are meaningful to your audience that do get searched and

Kris:

here. But so What technologies do you see having long lasting impressions and changes for businesses going forward?

Unknown:

That's an interesting question. Because anyone and I feel when I predict technology, it gets obsolete immediately. It's just the nature of

Unknown:

day, when you had the mainframe computers today, with AI, all the conversations, they deal with a couple of important things, the first and

Unknown:

was also around that. So any technology that deals with making it easy to access information is going to be the key piece whether it is visual

Unknown:

more connected. as our world becomes more and more active in sharing information. Today, information is very prevalent and available, the

Unknown:

and that is all collated for you to have that self driving car technology. So I think that's one of the flatboats. And today, that particular piece is

Unknown:

it's just very different. And the slags are very different and all of those pieces, but the way to communicate has evolved as well with the convenience

Unknown:

good idea to release the VR technology right now is because they think that is going to be a good platform for the world's information to be collected

Unknown:

because it all relays information to the real world so well that you can communicate in that device in terms of what is happening around you and

Unknown:

would say, Be focus on and bring that together.

Kris:

Yeah, I like that. I think, you know, for our manufacturing audience, for sure thinking about, you know, communication and how you communicate

Lori Highby:

I have so many so many thoughts running through my head and I don't even know where to start. I am gonna start, Chris, when you said you

Lori Highby:

message is connecting and resonating with the audience. And now that the evolution of how to communicate is changing different platforms of

Lori Highby:

how, which is the technology.

Kris:

I think the three of us should come together and like, come up with a solution for all this. Sounds like a fun exercise to take a few problems

Lori Highby:

need some some bourbon or something. The idea sparks flying on that one

Kris:

shot can help with that. Okay.

Unknown:

I have a big bourbon that's called sweat. So absolutely. Wisconsin old fashion. So yes.

Lori Highby:

You know, Milwaukee has a bourbon networking club.

Unknown:

Oh, it does? Well, I remember surprises Milwaukee so

Lori Highby:

that I've to extend and extend the invite to that one. Yeah.

Kris:

Yeah. All right. So, you know, maybe just to kind of round out the questions for you, Prashant? What sort of workforce challenges do you see

Unknown:

I think the couple of things is what Lori was talking about earlier, right? With the changing world, some people are going to be left

Unknown:

more drastic than before. I'll take go back to AI as an example. Everybody is talking about AI, and everybody has an opinion about AI. But when you

Unknown:

you need a deeper understanding of the technologies of the models and the computing, aspects of it, a whole lot of different things and how to bring

Unknown:

solutions are built, you'll never be able to apply for the job. So yes, there are going to be many things. And that is one of the challenges that I

Unknown:

thing, some people don't understand it, but don't want to be left behind. So there is always going to be a little bit of noise. And that is very

Lori Highby:

one of the, I guess, fears or even I'm starting to see some of this too, with with the workforce and more like the younger generation I've

Lori Highby:

leveraging the tools and not forgetting about all this history and things that we've learned over time. So I don't know if you want to speak to that

Unknown:

It's very interesting. Because it's one of the things right, because we're trying to make AI more human. We're saying it's a conundrum

Unknown:

anything, because technology is just an aspect of how society interacts with itself, whether it's business or people or anything else. Okay. And

Unknown:

intuitively figure out what is a chatbot? And what is the actual human? Yes, yeah, it's getting better. I will say there are some times that line

Lori Highby:

Yeah, that's that's an interesting thought. Yeah, it is. I need to pay attention to that when next time. Yeah.

Unknown:

And that is important, because it also tells you that that fundamental of the human connection is still something that we hold very

Lori Highby:

I love how this conversation did not go any direction, I thought it would, but I love the evolution of the conversation itself.

Kris:

And that's such a just great way to think about, you know, wrapping this portion of the conversation up because, you know, what we love about

Kris:

attention to. Well, Prashant, thank you so much for for answering those questions. And, you know, you shared already something interesting about

Unknown:

Well, it's very funny because I blacked out as soon as someone says something interesting about you. It's just one of those conundrums

Unknown:

and there are days where I just want to binge watch on Netflix. So it's it's like a spectrum of things that I go through and depends on many

Unknown:

experiences that help you grow as an individual, if you're not doing that, then you're not making the best of your time on this planet.

Kris:

Yeah, great message. And although the best experiences for me for sure.

Lori Highby:

Yeah, I can, I can see Chris, where you think Prashant and I should hang out sometime.

Kris:

What I didn't say at the beginning when I was introducing Prashant is that he's a very, very good friend of mine. And we've known each other for

Lori Highby:

I'm not gonna go down the AI route, because we had a fairly Hardy conversation about AI today. So I'm gonna go the fun route. I just

Lori Highby:

want to top spot. So that's that's big. Wow. I wonder if the rise of you know, all the different beer options has also made a change in all of that.

Kris:

mean, it would be interesting to know a stat on how many people are not even choosing, you know, some of the more well known ones, and they're

Lori Highby:

are out grow bruise. I mean, yeah, I mean, microbrews have definitely taken over a big chunk of market share, away from kind of the,

Unknown:

do so.

Lori Highby:

Absolutely. But I also know that like the spirits, and wine took a big chunk of market share, too. And the seltzers kind of ate into

Kris:

I was doing a little bit of research, and happened on a stat regarding baby boomers, because I was looking at some generational

Kris:

roles in large companies, and then the owners of you know, even more companies, it's just so interesting to me to think about how things will

Kris:

over time here and there. But I just thought that that statistic was very meaningful two thirds of businesses with with employees. So what will the

Lori Highby:

mergers and acquisitions, I imagine. Yes. It is something to look at.

Kris:

Yeah, yeah. So for shots, what have you learned?

Unknown:

Well, actually, two things come to mind. But opposite ends of the spectrum. I learned that, you know, we all have probably some of us have

Lori Highby:

I'm boggled right now I'm trying to understand

Kris:

if time is not constant, that mean

Unknown:

it needs a lot of bourbon and beer.

Lori Highby:

To have this conversation

Unknown:

the thing that I learned, you know, we all buy peppers in store. Red, yellow, green. It's all the same pepper is just more right. Relax.

Kris:

Oh, I see. Oh, yeah, you're you're sweet pepper. Yeah.

Lori Highby:

Yeah, they, but they have different flavor profiles. I feel like,

Unknown:

yeah, that's because. Okay. Yeah.

Kris:

Okay. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah, that might I guess that makes sense, too, when you think about it. Well, cool. Well, now we've got all kinds of

Lori Highby:

mind is boggled on a number of different spots right now.

Kris:

And then rooms and everything else comments with no time. All right. So per shot that people want to reach out to you, what's the best place to

Unknown:

they can always write to me. My email is Prashant at top focus.com. Also, they can connect me if you go to our website, WWE to the

Kris:

All right. Well, great. Thank you so much for being on the show today. It was wonderful.

Unknown:

It was wonderful. Thank you. We should do this again.

Lori Highby:

Absolutely. No, this is this was fantastic. All right. These are three broads two of them today, but that's okay. Wrapping up. We reach

Show artwork for a BROADcast for Manufacturers

About the Podcast

a BROADcast for Manufacturers
The purpose of this show is to share knowledge, have fun and bring diverse, yet important topics in the manufacturing space to the forefront.
Three BROADS (Lori Highby, Kris Harrington, and Erin Courtenay) bringing you stories and strategies exploring manufacturing topics that challenge the status quo while laying the foundations for future success.

Together with special guests they’ll celebrate what’s working and unpack what is not so YOU can learn, grow, and succeed.

The hosts are a BROADcast for Manufacturers are:
Kris Harrington | President and COO of GenAlpha Technologies | linkedin.com/in/kristinaharrington
Kris Harrington is the President and COO for GenAlpha Technologies. During her time with OEMs in the mining industry, Kris and the other founders of GenAlpha saw a need to find a better way for B2B manufacturers to do business. This led to the development of Equip360, an eCommerce, eCatalog and Analytics solution for manufacturers and distributors who want to grow their business online.

Erin Courtenay | VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive | linkedin.com/in/erincourtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.

Lori Highby | Founder & CEO @ Keystone Click | linkedin.com/in/lorihighby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

About your hosts

Lori Highby

Profile picture for Lori Highby
Lori Highby is a podcast host, speaker, educator, and founder of Keystone Click, a strategic digital marketing agency. Using her vast multi-industry knowledge – gained from experience and education, She has the ability to see the potential of greatness within the already established good of a business. Through strategic actionable moves, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies to micro-business owners, to achieve their marketing goals.

Kristina Harrington

Profile picture for Kristina Harrington
Kris Harrington is the President and Chief Operations Officer for GenAlpha Technologies. Kris joined GenAlpha in March of 2013 with the purpose to help B2B manufacturer’s grow revenue by implementing technologies that make it easier to do business.

Combined with the strength of her team, Kris is accountable for establishing customer relationships and engaging manufacturers in B2B commerce solutions that bring value to their organization and the customers they serve. Her discussions with manufacturing leaders tend to move into three different categories:

– Assessing the business for digital commerce readiness
– Finding ways to re-energize the sales channel by focusing on the customer experience
– Increasing options for managing the dealer vs direct sales strategy

Prior to joining GenAlpha, Kris worked for more than ten years in leadership positions with two large multinational manufacturing companies, Bucyrus International and Caterpillar, supporting the mining industry. In her various positions she had a responsibility to work with internal stakeholders, dealers, and customers to deliver business results both in aftermarket and equipment sales.

Erin Courtenay

Profile picture for Erin Courtenay
Erin Courtenay is VP of Digital Services at Earthling Interactive. Erin loves watching programmers work their magic, opening up the possibilities of the internet to small and medium businesses with powerful websites and custom software. Calling herself a “digital empathy practitioner”, Erin is determined to help clients move thoughtfully and compassionately into their digital future.