Representatives from Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and other
industry-leading companies have gathered at the Business School
through tonight to discuss “Pervasive technology and the
advantages of the informed” — the theme of the sixth
annual FuturTech Conference 2004.
Organized by students, the conference hopes to show how far
technology has come and where it will lead business in the
“Regardless of what industry you go into, whether it is
financial services, high-tech — and regardless of what
function, whether it is finance or operations — technology
will help your company succeed,” said Susan Tahir, co-chair
of FuturTech Conference 2004.
“We wanted students to realize what these companies could
do for them and what they can do once they leave school,”
added Tahir, who is a graduate student at the Business School.
The conference, a collaboration between the School of
Engineering, the School of Information and the Business School,
featured keynote speaker Michael Eskew, chairman and chief
executive officer of United Parcel Service.
Eskew discussed the history of his company’s technological
development at last night’s opening.
“We were founded in 1907 by a 19-year-old kid who was
trying to help his mother,” Eskew said. UPS currently invests
$1 billion annually in improving technological efficiency, he
“The beauty of the Internet and the beauty of technology
is that it makes the small look big and the big act small,”
he said. “Business strategy drives technology.”
Whereas tracking a package used to cost two dollars per inquiry,
modern development and the use of the Internet has streamlined this
process and removed the middle men so that today tracking a package
costs only pennies per query, Eskew said.
He added that technology promotes efficiency, which cuts
operational costs. “Every company needs to understand the
financial side of their business — it’s a strategic
imperative,” he said.
Another technological advancement is UPS Worldport, located in
Louisville, Ky. The complex, which is the center of UPS package
routing, is larger than the Pentagon.
Automated conveyor belts move at 400 feet per second, and a
package in the building can be located within an inch of its
location at any second, added Eskew.
Conference events will continue today with one panel discussion
from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. and another from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. in
William Davidson Hall.
Larry Lesley, senior vice president of Hewlett-Packard
corporation, will give a keynote address at 1:30 p.m. in Hale
— Daily Staff Reporter Andrew McCormack contributed to