Trying to figure out the tsunami of data that technology throws at your business can be daunting -- and many times overwhelming. Yet using that information to act fast on challenges and opportunities is vital to your business' success.
Lincolnshire-based Zebra Technologies -- which already has developed data intelligence systems that help retail business and logistics companies -- is taking its portfolio a step further with a new operating platform designed to gather, crunch and deliver information quickly, giving businesses the ability to act swiftly and efficiently to potential opportunities.
Levinson was among eight people and organizations honored by the ITA for making an outstanding contribution in innovation and promotion the local tech industry.
"This year's winners epitomize the kind of technology companies that are propelling Chicago forward -- practical yet innovative businesses that are focused on market results and customer satisfaction over self-promotion," said ITA CEO Julia Kanouse.
Prominent Woman in Tech award is presented to a woman in the local industry who has championed a leading role for women by supporting their growth and prominence in the industry. Levinson founded the software and web application firm in 2013.
• Congratulations also to Low Voltage Solutions in Crest Hill for marking its 20th anniversary.
Launched in a garage in 1997 by co-founders Gary St. Cin and the late John Fassett, the company's mission was to build a customer-focused, low voltage cabling company. Over the years, it has adapted to growth and technology trends, expanding from voice/data to installation of security (access control and CCTV), fire alarm, professional sound, audiovisual, and distributed antenna systems.
LVS provides services to various markets, including health care, commercial, multi-tenant residential, industrial, and higher education.
• Global tech giant Siemens will invest more than $20 million a year to establish a research and development hub in Chicago for it Building Technologies Division, which has its North American headquarters in Buffalo Grove.
The Siemens Building Technologies CPS Software House will operate as a global software development competence center for the company, and new applications for its Control Products and Systems technology will further expand efforts to transform the building technologies industry.
The facility will open this month and is will house more than 100 employees who will be focused on building out new capabilities and products for Siemens' Desigo CC and System One platforms.
Known as Savanna, Zebra's centralized data platform brings together internet of Things connectivity, configuration management, data transport and storage, analytics and machine learning components. Its ability to gather data through multiple channels and analyze that data allows companies to get information to the right people in real time, giving them the power to act immediately and efficiently.
Matthew Hayes, director of Enterprise Intelligent Software at Zebra Technologies, refers to Savanna as the "glue" that makes sense of the information "so when events happen, actions can be semi-automated or automated quickly." Hayes points out that Savanna pulls together data collected from the numerous sources -- from internet or cloud sources to cameras, sensors or RFID tags -- and uses that information to transmit data to employees in real time, allowing them to make the decisions that best serve the business and its customers.
"If you're not acting on the data that you've created, that you've sensed and analyzed, then you've likely spent money and not produced the value in capturing a new opportunities, or driving down costs, or getting that great efficiencies," said Hayes.
As an example, he said, a retail store that offers online ordering and in-store pick can process the information through Savanna to assure a clerk has a customer's order ready and waiting when he arrives at the store.
Savanna is designed to complement Zebra's SmartLens system for retail and SmartPack system for the logistics industry, and will be a part of other Enterprise Asset Intelligence systems the company designs for its other targeted industries, like health care and manufacturing. But Savanna can also be adapted for software and hardware from other companies, Hayes said, expanding the platform in more industries, In fact, five global companies have already signed on to Zebra's early adopter program to do just that.
While there's a lot to ingest in the world of connectivity and analytics, Hayes said Savanna and Zebra's EAI offerings all come down to giving owners and workers the ability to understand how to best manage their business' operations in the digital age.
"To use the adage, when a tree falls, you have to translate that vibration to a noise. You need an ear," he said.
"You can invest in the 'sense' and 'analyze,' but if you don't have the 'act' on the data, then you're not really hearing the sound and seeing the benefit of what digitization and IoT really promise."