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Results for "February, 2012"

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  • Thought about Frontiers in Technology: Innovation Challenge competition

    Hi there, last Friday we had the Apps competitions. The advancement and graduate track engaged and enthusiastically faced a challenge to build apps for the MSTM program. Students put their energy and creative impulse into designing the best and most innovative application.

    The goal of this competition was to allow students to have the opportunity to connect and to apply the knowledge from previous courses in order to develop an iPad app for the MSTM program.  It was our job to convince the judges that they should adopt our app idea. Although, my team did not win I still enjoyed the whole process of developing an idea from scratch. I am glad that we worked together and applied knowledge on really creative ideas to build “online fraternities”. Also I am glad that another team from the advancement track took third place. Good job guys!

    Oh and one more thing, I want to say thank you to the MSTM program for giving us the opportunity to meet with Apple executives, who spent  time to judge and give valuable feedback to us.  I hope each idea will have future outside of the University.

     And one more suggestion for the next year when the new students arrive, MSTM program should invite students from the computer science and design faculty of UIUC. In order to build apps in more complete version (prototype) rather than just concept. 

  • Introducing the 2012 MSTM Innovation Challenge, Sponsored by Apple

    This past Friday, we had one of the most interesting Frontiers in Technology lectures to date. As most of you know, each MSTM student was given an iPad 2 when we began the program. We have all spent months tinkering, tweeting, emailing, paper writing, brainstorming, and angry birding on our devices. Dilip, our Program Director, made a great call on getting us introduced to the new world of tablet computing. As he mentioned on Friday, he “wants us to be ahead of the curve, not even with it.”

                    That said, we were met with a bit of surprise when it came time to be introduced to this semester’s case competition.  This was going to be more than just a case competition, it was to be an Innovation Challenge!

                    From the brief:

    “The goal of this project is to offer you an opportunity to apply the knowledge you have gained from your MSTM coursework to developing an iPad app for the MSTM program. Each student team represents the management group of an app development company, and it is your job to convince the MSTM program that they should adopt your app idea.”

                    All of us in the program have been divided into 15 teams, and we will be presenting our ideas this coming Friday. We will have had just over a week to develop an application that can be implemented. And this Innovation Challenge, given that it is all about the iPad that we’ve been using within the program, is sponsored by Apple. Several executives will be coming in to serve as judges for the competition, and it will be a fantastic experience.

                    To kick off the Challenge, Dilip invited Jason Beckham, an executive at Apple, to come speak to us about the company. What followed was a presentation on a story that many of us know. But, when the numbers all come together in one place, they are staggering. Apple has shipped 55 million iPads, 337 million iPods, and 183 million iPhones. In 2000, Apple made 8 billion in revenue. In 2011, they made 108 billion, a 27% compound annual growth rate. The Apple apps market has created roughly 500,000 jobs.

                    The question is, how did they do this? The answer is innovation, which is what distinguishes leaders from followers, as Steve Jobs would say. Jason continued on, telling us that Mr. Jobs felt that focus was the key to innovation. He would always say that he was just as proud of the things he said no to, as he was proud of the things that they had accomplished, because it takes real discipline to say no to the things you can’t do great. Apple invests in its core, produces a laser-like focus on what it can do great, and then goes about building incredible products from within that space.

                    Apple has always tried to make products that allow technology to “get out of the way.” For Apple, it is all about the user experience, and making sure that the product does exactly what it’s supposed to do, efficiently and effectively.

                    That sounds like pretty solid advice, and one I am sure we will all take to heart when building our apps this week. Good luck to all my classmates (and now competitors), and to all the readers, hopefully one day you’ll be here making apps, too!

  • First Week of School

    It will be an interesting experience for students who spend their
    vacation in their home country to come back to Champaign. Some
    students might not have seen snow in their entire life and it will be
    their first experience of having snow. I am originally from Indonesia
    and we have never had snow there. Indonesia has a tropical climate
    with two distinct monsoonal wet and dry seasons lying along the
    equator. Even though this winter is not my first time seeing snow, it
    is still a challenging experience for me. I need to wear a couple
    layers of clothes, gloves, a thick jacket, and boots all of which I
    have never worn in my country. This winter is kind of different from
    my past winter experience. There is not much snow this year as
    previous years for the time that I have been around here. I can say it
    is a warm winter.

    I really enjoyed my first week of school. After a winter break, it is
    good to meet with my classmates. I get to catch up with them and hear
    about their winter break vacation. I feel this semester will be an
    interesting semester. I am taking Finance, Technology Strategy,
    Project Management, Managing Intellectual Property, Technology
    Practicum, and Frontiers classes. I have never taken business or
    technology related classes before so I get excited about the class
    materials. I would like to get exposed with the new knowledge I get
    from class and real problem solving experience through Practicum
    class. Let's get ready to work and study hard this spring semester!

  • A ride with Sanjay Patel through his late career as part time Entrepreneur

    Friday, February 3, we had opportunity to listen to interesting speaker, Mr.  Sanjay Patel. He is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Sony Scholar at our University. The topic for the day was ‘From Concept to Company:  Some Experiences with Taking High Technology Research to the Consumer Market’. He has a background in high-performance computer architecture, with multiple papers published. Mr. Patel is also co-author of an introductory textbook for computer science and engineering students, titled ‘Introduction to Computing Systems: From Bits and Gates to C and Beyond’, which is now available in its second edition from McGraw-Hill.

    Mr. Patel took us through his exciting journey from Ageia to Nuvixa, which he went through along with delivering lectures in ECE department. In 2004 he served as Chief Architect and Chief Technology Officer at Ageia. He was part of projects where they developed ‘physical hardware accelerator’ with eight CUDA cores, while the gaming industry was busy with graphic accelerators and processors with 2 cores. PhysX gave the gaming world with real effects which enables ‘water splash in a bottle’ and ‘a piece of waving cloth’ appear real. This appeared a big threat to Nvidia, which then acquired Ageia in February 2008. Professor then co-founded Nuvixa, where currently he is CEO. Here they are working on technology that Microsoft sees couple of years down the line. Using the device like Kinect, that captures 3D images of people, Nuvixa is trying to integrate it in applications like presentations and video conferencing. This application uses computing on user’s machine and is also connected to cloud of Nuvixa. He exhibited the work so far by displaying himself in presentation slides on screen with change of slide with a hand gesture.

    We were experiencing live facts that we learned in Entrepreneurship and Technology Commercialization. And yes, to add to this Friday Fun, we had cake for birthday boys and girls of January through March.

  • Crisis Communication

    Frontier's Spring Opening - Crisis Communication

    Happy New Year, Everyone! I hope everyone had a great holiday. The MSTM spring semester began this past week at the U of I. I am excited to be back to discuss some of the interesting and unique events and classes that are awaiting the MSTM students.

    On Friday, January 20, the MSTM students had an opportunity to listen to Robin Kaler on Crisis Communication. Robin Kaler is an alumna at the University of Illinois receiving a degree in Journalism. Now, she is Associate Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. It was a pleasure to have Robin Kaler come by to speak to us on topics that will help us in future jobs as well as provided us with insight on experiences she had encountered during her career.

    In her talk on "Managing an Organization's Communication during a Crisis.", she covered five key things that we needed to know:

    1. Help organization avoid most crises
    2. spot potential crises before it happens
    3. ways to prepare for media interviews
    4. the number one rule for crisis management
    5. resources to help you respond quickly and effectively to a crisis

    I never realized that crisis communication could get so be so complex and enjoyed the many examples of real crises used. I look forward to learning from interesting topics such as the crisis communication, field trips, and workshops. 

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