What are we thinking? DelCorians weigh in on association technology trends

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We’re starting a new feature here on the blog that we’re calling “what are we thinking?” The concept is inspired by late-night bits likeJaywalking and the name is a twist on this classic game. “What are we thinking?” will appear as an occasional series, featuring an assortment of DelCorian input and opinions. Read on, let us know what you think, and learn how you can win a prize!

For this post, we asked some of our DelCorians about technology developments that are catching their eye, both inside and outside the association community. Here’s what they said!

Dave Coriale, President

We’ve been hearing hype about future technology since we were kids. And much of it comes true. Just think about your phone and its resemblance to Star Trek communicators.

Right now, I’m super fascinated by the way nanotechnology is being used in energy and medicine by the members of the Materials Research Society. Someday we’ll think procedures like radiation and chemotherapy are as barbarous as bloodletting and leeches.

We’ll also arrive one year at the ASAE Technology Conference to find out that Reggie Henry has given us virtual reality overlays. Imagine if, like the Terminator, you can pull up an attendee’s profile and display it in the air in front of you, for your eyes only—no more worrying about forgotten names or networking jitters.

Chris Ecker, Chief Technology Officer

Because there are so many bad drivers out there, I’m looking forward to self-driving cars. And, the use of chip implants to help pet owners find their lost puppy loves. [Editor’s note: Aw.]

In associations, I’m pleased about the increased attention to security. It’s long overdue.

Loretta Deluca, FASAE, Founder & CEO

What’s exciting to me is probably boring to others. For many years I’ve been unhappy about associations not using their data to make business decisions. This has been partially due to the lack of good tools for extracting and manipulating data, and the difficulty in planning how to use that data. Associations need to ask themselves difficult questions about what they’re looking to answer with their data—that sounds easier to do than it is.

The good news: vendors are building better querying and reporting tools to help users extrapolate information to better inform decision-making. In addition, because of the growing understanding that there’s a wealth of information in an organization’s various data sources, a new type of business providing data intelligence and analytics services has entered our market. At last, associations can take advantage of the thousands of valuable records and data fields they own to make more strategic business decisions. Now, as far as associations asking themselves some difficult, business process-related questions that are necessary to make use of these new tools and services…that’s another story!

Gretchen Steenstra, PMP, Strategic Technology Consultant

It’s not exactly exciting, but I’m seeing a trend of institutions de-institutionalizing themselves. For example, vendors who used to try to build all-in-one systems are turning their focus to a few key areas, and developing strong partnerships (or purchasing other technology companies) to provide the best options for their association clients. Of course, this requires associations and vendors to do due diligence (and plenty of ongoing testing) to make sure their systems play well together.

Leigh Andreasen, Director, IT Products & Services

Advances in telework should be of particular interest to the association community. Remote working is getting better and more easily accessible to all kinds of organizations, large and small. Apps for managing remote connectivity are being regularly developed and upgraded.

Personally, I’m excited about the development of renewable energy sources—kinetic energy capture, in particular (think power cell sidewalks and human-powered blenders). We strive for efficiency in our work and businesses; to strive for efficiency in all aspects of our environment is thinking big. I have a dream to one day have a standing treadmill workstation that doesn’t need electricity to operate, but instead captures the energy from my walking to run my office lights and equipment. Does this directly or immediately impact associations? No, except for the Kinetic Energy Capture Association that will be established!

Tobin Conley, CAE, Strategic Technology Consultant

BIG DATA. Yeah, it may be a bit over-hyped, but there is in fact great promise in it. However, I think associations need to do a better job mastering the data they have now.

Another area that might change our worlds is nanotechnology. This quantum change in materials science could revolutionize fields from pharmaceuticals to energy production/storage and beyond.

Small is beautiful.

Your chance to win

We hope you enjoyed our first installment of “what are we thinking?” Is there something you’d like to ask DelCorians about—and getseveral informed opinions? Drop us a line with your question. If it appears here on the blog, you’ll win a prize from the DelCor store!

Flickr photo by Fred Seibert