Innovators ‘talk tech’ at GROW Clark County event

Several local panelists discuss ‘Reimagining the Future of Tech’ during a dynamic November forum

GROW Clark County
Ronda Closner, left, lead the panel of local innovators during a Nov. 15 GROW Clark County: Reimaging the Future of Tech event. The panel consisted of Nate Fuller (DeepCanopy), Barrie Buckner (GTMA), Erik Jones (DiscoverOrg) and Jef Holove (Streem, Inc.). Joanna Yorke for the VBJ

Community members who attended the latest GROW Clark County event, put on by the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) and Washington State University Vancouver’s Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program, were able to hear from a panel of experts on “Reimagining the Future of Tech” on Nov. 15.

Presented by Zenith Properties NW and sponsored by iQ Credit Union and CoLab Coworking, the evening consisted of a dynamic panel of local innovators who discussed the growth and impact of machine learning, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

The panel was lead in their discussion by Ronda Closner, managing director of Experis IT. The panel consisted of Barrie Buckner, director of partnerships, GTMA; Nate Fuller, president and CEO, DeepCanopy; Jef Holove, COO, Streem, Inc.; and Erik Jones, director of business intelligence and analytics, DiscoverOrg.

The panelists first took a few minutes to explain in better detail to the crowd what exactly some of the different forms of Artificial Intelligence are, discussing the differences in Augmented Reality (AR) versus Virtual Reality (VR), Business Intelligence (BI), digital agency/marketing and more. They also took a stab at discussing the potential bias that exists with Artificial Intelligence.

Holove talked about the way that Streem, Inc., uses VR and AR within the home services help that the company offers, allowing customers to get a quote remotely from a professional when they need work done at their home, like if they need a plumber, etc.

Jones discussed DiscoverOrg’s work with Artificial Intelligence that uses algorithms for emails and other contact information that has allowed them to cover now a total of 200,000 companies, with almost 5 million contacts profiled. DiscoverOrg provides a platform where a customer can login to a company and get contact information for a certain person at that company.

As for GTMA, Buckner talked about the company’s use of VR and AR that enables them to create a building in virtual space, allowing a customer to have a full 360-degree view in their hands of what their home might look like.

Fuller discussed DeepCanopy’s use of these different technologies to provide Artificial Intelligence-enabled cameras for industry. The company is able to monitor different job sites, explore the productivity of different types of equipment at job sites and more.

The panelists also talked about why they would encourage other tech companies to make their home here in Clark County.

“Events like this, the community here, it’s really an investment community, a start-up community,” Fuller said. “It’s also cheaper to operate in Washington than it is in Oregon, and Vancouver is great.”

“We’ve been here all of eight months, we moved the company here from California, and just seeing the stark difference between the quality of life and seeing the talent here has been amazing,” Buckner said.

Since its inception in 2015, GROW Clark County has showcased the broad range of businesses in the region, spotlighted the people behind them who are driving innovation and empowering connections with entrepreneurs pushing the local economy forward. GROW Clark County aims to help build connections and open opportunities for the business community from groundbreaking startups to thriving businesses looking to interact with other businesses and find resources that can help them achieve short- and long-term business goals.

WSU Vancouver’s Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program helps local small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed while providing educational opportunities for Carson College Business students. Business Growth MAP is cultivating the next generation of business leaders-placing experienced graduates into the local economy.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.