This editorial article is a part of Technology of the Future Month 2022 in Technical.ly's editorial calendar. This month’s theme is underwritten by Verizon 5G. This story was independently reported and not reviewed by Verizon 5G before publication.
In and around Baltimore, which in the last year has maintained its reputation as a major biotech and life sciences hub while also attracting the attention of influential players in larger tech markets, the technology of the future isn’t just limited to the cutting edge (though that’s part of the equation, too).
As some of the four people — a scientist, two founders and an economic development leader — we interviewed for this article told us, some of the most impactful technology simply involves taking what’s already been made and finding new, better ways to apply it to ongoing problems.
The aforementioned four leaders shared their thoughts in response to a broad callout to founders, engineers, scholars and other regional tech stakeholders throughout the Baltimore region to answer a single question: What technological advancements or developments in your respective field are you most looking forward to seeing in 2023?
Here are selections from their responses — emailed and spoken, looking outward and inward — that have been edited for clarity and length:
Clean energy innovation
“The development of new clean energy tech has never been more exciting or fast-moving! In 2023, expect transformative advances in materials and chemical engineering that will help reduce emissions, decarbonize fuels and transform captured carbon into engineering materials — really making a difference at climate-relevant scales.”
- Jonah Erlebacher, core faculty of the Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute and professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
New space for new life sciences tech
“I am very much looking forward to 4MLK taking shape and transforming the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and West Baltimore Street — creating a signature gateway for the University of Maryland (UM) BioPark. The iconic building will open in 2024. Throughout 2023, we will be busy conceptualizing and developing the spaces and programming that will strengthen Baltimore’s technology and innovation industry.
“We are particularly excited to bring flexible wet lab space to downtown Baltimore. We have so many wonderful, high-growth ventures here that are desperate for space. 4MLK will give them the space they need to advance while also allowing industry-leading firms to continue growing their presence in the city.”
- Jane Shaab, executive director of UM BioPark and associate VP for economic development at the University of Maryland, Baltimore
Enabling ease through consolidation
“We’re seeing some form of [cybersecurity] industry consolidation right now. I think that consolidation will continue to get stronger. You’ll see big companies buy additional companies. The market’s driving, probably, a target-rich environment for mergers and acquisitions that allows folks to do more with a singular platform. Ultimately, managing multiple technologies — the average for an enterprise today is 70 to 140, different cybersecurity technologies — becomes untenable, right? So, how do you drive consolidation and get to fewer platforms that can allow you to do your job well? I think those platforms will have to not only be feature-rich but also integrate very well.”
- Greg Baker, cofounder and CEO of Balance Theory
Tech that’s useful, not just impressive
“Everything’s going online, and there’s been this massive push: ‘Let’s get all of our applications in the cloud.’ All the cloud adoptions, cloud migration, followed by this data grab. Now, everyone’s dumping everything everywhere — folks recording every snippet, grabbing content about everything you can imagine. And all that stuff’s sitting in the cloud. So, this next phase that we’re entering is: making sense of all that data. How do you, now, turn that into knowledge, answers that we need to solve our problems?
“Folks that are really strong in distilling, normalizing, cleaning, organizing that data — and helping people make decisions — I think that’s where we’re at right now, and that power of information is only going to continue to grow. Data is the play of the future. There’s a lot of talk about AI, quantum and the metaverse, and all of that stuff will help with some of these things. But at the end of the day, it’s about outcomes, not hot, sexy tech. If your outcome is, ‘People don’t have healthcare, let’s get them healthcare, cool,’ then I’m not married to what tech is. I’m married to solving that problem.
“My mom, when she logs into her online banking — which she’s finally starting to use! — she’s not thinking, ‘This is so cool, this must be run through Kubernetes’ backend on AWS.’ We care about that stuff, but she doesn’t. She cares that it works, and when she wants to go in there and pay a bill, she can, and that’s it. It’s all a black box from that point, and I think that if we start to pay more attention to outcomes than to tech, I think we navigate a little bit differently.”
- Delali Dzirasa, founder and CEO of Fearless
Matthew Liptak contributed to this report.
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