The Frontier Conference: Pioneering Industrial Innovation

In April 2017, The Frontier held its inaugural conference in New Orleans, attracting hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the United States. The Frontier brought together individuals from diverse industry backgrounds to engage in discussions of new ideas, technology, innovation, long-term vision, and interdisciplinary collaborative opportunities to shatter current barriers and revolutionize the world’s largest industries. The theme of the Frontier was Re-thinking Industrial Innovations Together.

Fluence Analytics played a major role in the production of the conference by hosting, organizing and leading three panel discussions.

“People often solve difficulties which are directly applicable to new problems in other industries, and the cross-pollination of ideas and technologies among seemingly opposite industries can drive transformative innovation and change,” — Alex Reed, CEO of Fluence Analytics.

From talks of smart manufacturing and advanced materials to addressing the future of transportation, the Frontier Conference offered C-Level executives, private investors and ambitious entrepreneurs the chance to tackle the major opportunities for industrial transformation.

Fluence Analytics’ Chairman, Dr. Bill Bottoms, CEO, Alex Reed, Business Development Advisor, Dr. Sig Floyd, and Board Member, George Coyle, all participated in the conference.

Mr. Coyle participated as a panelist on the second panel of the conference, Financing: Venture Capital and Industrial Innovation, which covered a range of topics about trends, enterprise technology adoption and sales cycles, what venture capitalists look for in entrepreneurs, and the overall funding landscape for energy and industrial innovation.

Mr. Reed led a panel entitled Trends and Opportunities in Chemical Manufacturing. Panelists included:

  • Dr. Lloyd Colegrove, Data Services & Fundamental Problem Solving Director, The Dow Chemical Company

  • Dr. Floyd of Fluence Analytics

  • Prof. Krishnaswamy “Kumar” Nandakumar, Gordon A and Mary Cain Chair Professor in Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University

  • Tom Seagraves, Director of Site Development, BASF Corporation.

This dynamic panel included discussions surrounding the convergence of economic and technological forces creating dynamic opportunities and change in chemical manufacturing environments. Examples that were cited during the panel included the U.S. shale revolution, the Industrial Internet of Things, Smart Manufacturing, optimizing processes with “Big Data,” protecting intellectual property, and sustaining profitability with increased competition.

On the second day of the conference, Mr. Reed led another panel called Advanced Manufacturing: Key Trends and Market Drivers. Panelists included:

  • Dr. Bottoms of Fluence Analytics

  • John Landrum, VP for Innovation at Intralox

  • Rustom Mody, VP and Chief Engineer of Enterprise Technology at Baker Hughes

The experienced speakers provided perspectives from three different backgrounds and the context of Advanced Manufacturing across them all. Panel discussions ranged from semiconductors and realtime analytics tools in chemical manufacturing to the production of oil & gas and the delivery of smart, interconnected plastic conveying systems. The questions addressed during the panel focused on technological and market drivers for adoption of advanced manufacturing, dynamic optimization of processes, the value of interconnected sensors and devices in production, obstacles in adopting advanced manufacturing practices, interdisciplinary approaches to solving problems, and the role of workers in increasingly automated industries.

Dr. Floyd closed out Fluence Analytics’ participation in the Frontier Conference by moderating the Innovation in Chemicals and Materials panel which included the following panelists:

  • Alexander Girau, President and CTO of Advano

  • Dr. Michael Giardello, Partner at Mount Wilson Ventures

  • Lauren Zarama, CEO of InKemia Green Chemicals

  • Dr. Scott Grayson, Joseph H. Boyer Professor of Chemistry at Tulane University

This panel included conversations about the next big innovations in polymers, ways to bolster R&D investments, how globalization impacts innovation, what venture capitalists seek in this space, and the role partnerships (industry, investors and academic) play in innovation for advanced chemicals and materials.

Fluence Analytics was honored to play such an active role in the production of the inaugural Frontier Conference and is excited to participate in a bigger conference from April 11-13, 2018 in New Orleans! Sign up for The Frontier Conference updates here.

Photos by David Tong/GettaGo Photos and courtesy of Culture Pilot.