DRS Tech Belt Summit Draws IT Experts to YSU

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Representatives from companies across northeastern Ohio gathered at the Youngstown State Thursday to get a sample of the latest trends in high technology and how it can boost or kill their businesses.

The Tech Belt Technology Summit, held the third year in a row at the YSU College of Business Administration, is an annual event that brings vendors and IT professionals together to exchange ideas about what’s developing in the technology sector, says Mike Meloy, president and CEO of DRS LLC, the chief sponsor of the event.

“We had a great turnout today,” Meloy said. “We’ve had extremely positive feedback, or we wouldn’t continue doing it.” Some 150 showed up for the conference.

The daylong summit featured keynote speakers from local and national companies as well as panel discussions and workshops on topics that range from mobile technology, disaster recovery, managed services, big data and portability, technology in education to creating business revenues through digital marketing.

“This is a great slice of technology that you see on a daily basis in the community,” Meloy said. Companies that specialize in 3-D printing, communications companies, fiber providers and information technology companies were all represented this year at the conference.

A major component of a company’s data strategy is devising ways to protect its information, said Chris Massey, director of product development at DRS.

Critical to business continuity in the time of a digital disaster, for example, is ARaaS, or Application Resiliency as a Service. “It’s about looking at specific application and how to keep business continuity,” Massey said.

For example, a company purchases a standard backup data plan but doesn’t consider the interruption to its business during the time it takes to fix the problem. While the data might be saved, the time it took to correct its costs the company money.

ARaaS replicates data recovery, allowing applications to preserve business continuity in an emergency, Massey said.

Vala Afshar, chief marketing officer at San Jose-based Extreme Networks, one of the keynote speakers, said that mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops are creating huge quantities of data today that are changing the education community. “The average student checks their mobile device more than 200 times a day,” he said.

But data are insufficient for IT companies to be successful. “What we need to do as technology professionals is take that data and create insights that can lead to rapid decisions and actions that create value to the ecosystem,” Afshar said.

How you interpret and use the data is important to both students and faculty, Afshar said. Student retention, adaptive mobile learning and classroom interaction can be leveraged through new technology today, he said.

There is also a growing importance within the corporate world of a company’s chief information officer, or CIO, Afshar said. Developments such as cloud computing, social networking, mobility, big data, application economy, and a combination of Internet strategies affect how business is done today.

“There’s no better time for the chief information officer to really earn a seat at the table with other executives to shape business,” Afshar said. “Today, technology can either help you grow or it’ll kill you.”

Pictured: Mike Meloy, president and CEO of DRS LLC, the chief sponsor of the event.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.