Scottsdale IT growth & new laws around autonomous driving reported
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
As city officials, economic development professionals and private sector business leaders continue to shape the narrative of the Phoenix metropolitan area as a high-tech marketplace, two pieces of day-to-day life illustrate that storyline is more fact than fiction.
At Scottsdale-based BK Global Solutions is founder and proprietor Brian Kilcrease, who is seeing robust growth year-over-year as information technology becomes common nomenclature for all facets of business in the Valley of the Sun.
Mr. Kilcrease explains the speed at which technology — and the digital apparatus that controls it — improves is moving lightning fast today as even cars without drivers are more reality than a pie-in-the-sky idea.
Marc Lamber, a personal injury lawyer at the Phoenix-based Fennemore law firm, says as new tech comes on board on local streets and avenues the legal system is waiting to see what ramifications around autonomous vehicles, which according to a new state law are considered the same as a human being driving a motor vehicle, will ultimately become.
The digital age is upon Americans and both experts the Arizona Digital Free Press spoke to say no matter how anyone feels about the seismic digital shift it is here to stay.
Technology, boutique IT & Phoenix office migration
More companies — like IT project management company BK Global Solutions, are opting to contract with firms like theirs as opposed to hiring in-house IT teams.
“The success we have experienced over these past few years is the move to the cloud we have been supporting,” Mr. Kilcrease told the Scottsdale Daily Beat. “We already had the resources and have been doing that a long time, but most recently the push toward the cloud has appeared; it has just helped us grow.”
Anyone in business today, Mr. Kilcrease explains, experiences an IT professional at some point in his or her work week.
“What IT modernization allows (and has during the last few years) is a lot of companies are realizing their digital infrastructure is antiquated and it doesn’t support a move into the cloud in some cases. A lot of the time, we are helping them get that infrastructure in place because that is where the future is.”
Mr. Kilcrease offers his company is not unique, but the services provided offer exact solutions to antiquated operating systems as modern business continues its stumbled march into the digital age.
“We are a flex-and-surge model,” he explains, which allows for boutique services to roll on and off the bottom line. “For our clients, our flex-and-surge model works well because at the end of your IT project you either terminate them and or they sit. We roll off, there is no HR mess.”
As the modern workplace culture evolves, Mr. Kilcrease has been able to seize the moment through specialized IT services that he says supports legacy business transition to the 21st century.
“We have had an increase of opportunity by helping these businesses digitize their environments, and it’s not just telecommunications and cybersecurity,” he said. “Our businesses success and growth has really been around the whole movement from traditional office space to moving remote or allowing for employees to work a hybrid schedule.”
The private sector where Mr. Kilcrease is seeing significant growth? Supply chain management, he says.
“The primary focus has been supply chain, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail,” he explained but points out his firm sometimes consults for the consultants. “We do education and so on, and even more consulting firms hire us to consult them. Our model allows us to be a little more efficient and help to mitigate and circumvent risk.”
The law, motor vehicles & robots
Imagine a scenario where a motorist travels along a street — and then “whammy!” — an autonomous vehicle strikes the motorist’s vehicle because the driver-less car ran a red light.
Mr. Lamber explains to his knowledge this scenario has not occurred in the state of Arizona. But if it did, who is liable?
“Part of it this is going to be wait and see, watch how this unfolds,” he said. “The new law enacted in March of last year basically says it should be no different than any other accident. A driving system is a person in terms of abiding by the rules of the road.”
Mr. Lamber explains the Phoenix metropolitan area is one of only a few select markets where tech giants are testing autonomous driving and expanding operations.
Most recently Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey singed HB 2813 into law and earlier this year SB 1333 was approved, creating a new vehicle type of Neighborhood Occupantless Electric Vehicles. Of note: the new state law requires autonomous operators to carry a minimum of $25,000 liability insurance when operating.
Mr. Lamber says autonomous vehicles are part of the day-to-day commute in and around Phoenix.
“It established the regulatory framework for operating autonomous or robot cars,” he said of Arizona law. “There are all kinds of different angles to this. Just like Tesla — the electric cars — you don’t bring them back to the shop — you download a software upgrade in the car. But let’s say you don’t perform that update?”
Mr. Lamber jokes, “I tell people they are going to put me out of business.” Numbers show nearly all motor vehicle accidents are due to human error.
“Listen, the vast majority of car accidents are caused by human error,” he said of the staggering statistic that 93% of car accidents are caused by human error. “Compared to humans, they are not going to have the same issues. The majority of those errors computers just don’t make.”
Mr. Lamber says oftentimes the software and or algorithms developed to guide the autonomous vehicles may come from a third-party software company.
“There are algorithms that will be proprietary,” he explained of the nuanced tech sector. “You just start wondering about an animal running on the road. Will the car slam on its brakes?”
However, Mr. Lamber says he believes autonomous vehicles will make driving safer — statistically speaking.
“(It could) put personal injury lawyers out of work,” he said. “There are 1.2 million people killed in car accidents every year. Cut that number in half without human error and that is 600,000 lives saved.”