USC Upstate Faulty Focus

Dr. Ron Fulbright Featured Speaker at American Society of Training, Development in Greenville

March 3, 2014 at 9:53 am

Dr. Ron Fulbright was the featured speaker at the February meeting of the Upstate South Carolina American Society of Training & Development (ASTD) held at the University Center of Greenville.

Fulbright spoke about informatics, the value of information, and how information is transformed into knowledge. He explained as the US economy has shifted from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy, the most important unit value is information. It is no longer what we make, but what we know that is the most valuable. In fact, over one-third of the US gross domestic product, over $5.5 trillion, is contributed by industries heavily vested in intellectual property. Over 80% of the value of the S&P 500 is due to intellectual property, exactly opposite from what it was just 40 years ago.

Fulbright gave examples of how data scientists are using data mining and “big data” analysis techniques to search for patterns in enormous collections of information. Finding patterns in data gives companies marketing advantage translating into millions or even billions of dollars. For example, Wal-Mart, customizes each one of its stores to its local demographic which is why it seems to us that Wal-Mart has everything. The truth is, by studying the buying habits of its customers, Wal-Mart knows what you want and need even before you do and makes sure those items are there and easy to find when you walk into the store.

Fulbright also explained how one of the most important shifts coming in the near future is in the area of personalized medicine. Using big data analysis techniques to find patterns hidden in genomic data stores, the medical industry is moving toward prescribing drugs and treatment regimens custom designed for each patient and each ailment. The personalized medicine market is forecast to be worth several billion dollars within a few years.

Fulbright closed the talk by telling the audience about the informatics program at the University of South Carolina Upstate featuring a B.A. in information management & systems, a M.S. in informatics, and a continuing education offering resulting in a certificate in innovation. The IM&S program at USC Upstate prepares graduates for several dozen job roles in information technology, knowledge management, content management, and other fields related to informatics. According to a recent survey, by IT-Ology, companies in NC, SC, and GA are hiring for these positions now.