IS Associates 2016 Year-in-Review

2016 Year in Review
The UCLA IS Associates had a packed calendar in 2016, hosting and participating in nearly a dozen events. Under the leadership of Chair Bill Miller and Executive Director Don Olender, the organization provided its members with valuable insight into emerging trends in technology, with a special emphasis on the role of big data in business.

Anderson Economic Forecast
At the first event of the year, Jerry Nickelsburg, a Senior Economist and Adjunct Professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, discussed the future of the national and California economies. According to Nickelsburg, the California economy is performing well, with the employment rate exceeding the national average and forward-thinking companies like Tesla, Uber and Google driving innovation and economic growth.

With just over 100 attendees, the seminar provided an intimate place for decision makers in technology, business, government and academia to discuss the economic outlook for 2016 and share thoughts and opinions.


Spring Meeting
Sponsored by TATA Consultancy Services, the Spring Meeting focused on 21st century enterprise. Speakers discussed how the newly-coined “4th Industrial Revolution” is generating widespread disruption in industries across the globe.

Speakers included Thomas Jankovich of Deloitte and Thomas Young of RUMJog Enterprises, a Technology, Media and Public Sector management consulting company launched in 2013.
The event concluded with a panel featuring TrueCar’s John Williams and Infosys’ Aditi Banerjee, who joined Jankovich and Young. The panelists discussed the impact of cognitive technologies, such as machine learning, natural language processing and robotics, on business.


UCLA Datafest Hackathon
In March, IS Associates sponsored the 2016 UCLA ASA DataFest, a data hackathon supported by the American Statistical Association. DataFest is hosted by several elite colleges and universities across the country and involves over 500 undergraduate students.

The UCLA event offered students from universities throughout southern California the opportunity to analyze a rich, complex set of data provided by Ticketmaster. Several IS Associates members served as roving consultants, sharing their advice and expertise with dozens of teams of students.


Evanta CIO Executive Summit
IS Associates hosted the 11th annual Evanta CIO Executive Summit, which took place in downtown Los Angeles on June 29, 2016. Built “by CIOs, for CIOs,” this event combined exclusive content and networking for the benefit of every CIO and senior IT executive in attendance.

Speakers included senior IT executives from several of our member companies, including Broadcom, City of Los Angeles, Creative Artists Agency and Korn Ferry.


Summer Breakfast Meeting
In early August, the organization held its first-ever breakfast meeting in the historic Pauley Pavilion, home to the UCLA Bruins basketball team. The Summer Forum tackled the topic of
Digital Business. Speakers, hand-selected by the Executive Board, discussed how combining big data with machine learning can prove to be a winning formula.

Kim Schneider, a Senior Director of Technology Solutions at Avery Dennison, shared how the packaging and labeling company has partnered with smart-products platform Evrything to introduce the “Internet of Clothing” to customers. Through the partnership, billions of pieces of apparel and footwear will acquire unique digital identities from the moment they are

Later, attendees participated in an ideation session, and each team brainstormed the best use of Internet of Clothing technology. Ideas included using blood alcohol level sensors on
clothing to deter drunk driving, geolocation to track the whereabouts of small children, and smart tagging to push out discounts based on expected product life cycle and usage.


Women in Tech Conference 
On August 12, IS Associates partnered with UCLA Women in Tech for the 2016 UCLA Conference to Advance Women in Technology, which convened over 300 leaders and stakeholders to discuss the gender and diversity gap in the tech sector. Speakers included Buzzfeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti, Google’s Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion Yolanda Mangolini, and the City
of Los Angeles’ Deputy CIO Jeanne Holm. Spearheaded by IS Associate’s Program Director Davida Johnson, the event explored ways to advance women and minorities in the tech sector, focusing on three areas: Leadership and Innovation, Diversity and Inclusion, and Economic Advancement.

The one-day conference offered two distinct tracks: one geared towards entrepreneurs and employees in startups, and the other focused on employees in medium to large tech
corporations. The event welcomed men and women focused on finding solutions to create equitable workplaces that give female employees and entrepreneurs the opportunity to advance.


CIO Exchange Dinner
On August 25, the Executive Board invited Professor Mario Gerla, Chair of the UCLA Computer Science Department, to discuss his research on autonomous vehicles. Gerla argued that the ability of the self-driving cars to understand environments, exchange information and make multiple navigational decisions without human intervention is one of the best examples of
state-of-the-art, real-time data analytics.


Fall Meeting
During the Fall Meeting, titled “Analytics in Action,” speakers discussed how organizations are using new tools and techniques to extract value from large data sets.

Petra Durnin, a Director of Research at CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate firm, demonstrated how her firm is collecting, analyzing and presenting data in meaningful ways to
help clients make important business decisions.

Neuroscientists Chess Stetson and Boris Revechkis also talked about their innovative company, Helynx, a visual language for understanding and interrogating data.  Helynx is designed to allow patterns and structure in the “data landscape” to reveal themselves without any coding or queries.

Other speakers included the CEO of Catalyst DevWorks Mike Rosenbaum and Sharad Kumar of Molina Healthcare.


Executive Leadership Award Dinner
At the year’s final event honoring Bryan Smith, President and COO of American Homes 4 Rent, IS Associates members, UCLA staff, faculty, and students mingled under the stars. Following
the reception, attendees were treated to a three course dinner in the Covel Grand Horizon ballroom before Smith took the stage.

During his keynote, Smith outlined his strategy for taking the real estate industry into the 21st century. He discussed how his company has leveraged mobile applications to expedite every stage of the home-buying process.  By streamlining the acquisition, renovation, and leasing pipeline, his team of 40 was able to underwrite 50,000 potential acquisitions. Looking towards
the future, Smith predicted that AH4R would not just be a real estate company, but rather it would expand to become a data and logistics company, with their platform as the growth engine.

After his presentation, Smith sat down with the “voice of business news in Los Angeles” Frank Mottek for a question and answer session that covered everything from SoCal’s real estate market to the technique of buying foreclosed homes on courthouse steps.

The Chair of the ELA Dinner Cindy Mckenzie concluded the event with a heartfelt speech and said goodbye to the Executive Board after more than 15 years of service.


What’s Next
2017 promises to be bigger and better than ever, with Jim Rinaldi, CIO of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, stepping into the Chair’s role.

With technology so deeply embedded into the fabric of business and everyday life, events will take an even closer look at some of the top technology trends that were touched on in 2016, including IoT, machine learning, VR & AR, automation, big data, and intelligent apps.

We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events!