WICT Global and the WICT Greater Philadelphia Chapter partnered to host the Tech It Out Initiative, a one-day conference at Villanova University’s Connelly Center in Philadelphia, this summer. This year’s event focused on a technology that is rapidly changing the telecommunications industry voice interface. Entitled “The Age of Voice Control,” the event was the largest in the nine-year history of the program. Michelle Ray, executive director of the Walter Kaitz Foundation closed out the program.
Each year the Tech It Out Initiative focuses on a single topic currently driving change in the telecommunications industry, technology and society. The advent of the voice-user interface (VUI), which makes human interaction with computers possible through a voice/speech platform, have revolutionized the way we interact with everything from our televisions, to our phones to our home digital assistants.
Jeanine Heck, VP, Artificial Intelligence with Comcast, the founding product lead for the X1 Voice Remote, discussed her efforts to bring AI into the Xfinity product line, as well as her entrepreneurial approach to enhance the user experience.
Nomi Bergman, president of Advance/Newhouse, and a Women in Technology Award honoree in 2004, spoke about the importance of women finding their voice and succeeding in a sector of the industry that is dominated by men.
Also speaking was Jennifer Cloer, creator and executive producer, The Chasing Grace Project, who gave a sneak peek into her six-episode documentary series about women in tech, the challenges they face and how companies can create pathways to success both for the company and their women employees.
The Tech It Out Initiative was launched in 2009 and is partially funded through a grant from the Walter Kaitz Foundation. The goal of the initiative is to nurture women leaders in technology, while raising awareness about the vast opportunities for women in the tech fields in the telecommunications industry.
“We know empirically that when companies focus on diversity and inclusion, there is a correlation with financial success,” said Maria E. Brennan, president of WICT. “Programs like Tech It Out give our stakeholders tools they need to keep pace with the latest advances in technology while connecting them with industry leaders and pioneers.”