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Part-Time and Interim CIO and CTO Services

Has your business grown to a level where you truly need a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and/or a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – but can’t afford the expense yet?

If that’s the case, we can help!

We offer world class part-time and interim CIOs and CTOs who can support your organizations board members and executives in the areas of technology management and architecture. Our CIOs and CTOs provide strategic and tactical advice to small and mid-size organizations.

Concepts Rise’s Part-time and Interim CIO and CTO Services include:

CTO Advisory Services:

  • Establish the company’s technical vision and lead all aspects of the company’s technological development
  • Direct the company’s strategic direction, development and future growth
  • Develop the architecture plan for the company
  • Work in a consultative fashion with other department heads, such as marketing, production and operations as an advisor of technologies that may improve their efficiency and effectiveness
  • Conduct research and case studies on leading edge technologies and makes determinations on the probability of implementation

CIO Advisory Services:

  • IT Strategic planning and future state development
  • Development of budget for the IT department
  • Provide advice and recommendations to board members and executive teams in using technology to increase revenues and reduce costs
  • IT Audit and Restructuring
  • Vendor Management
  • IT Performance Improvement
  • IT Governance, Compliance, and Risk Management
  • IT and Business Alignment
  • IT Team Building & Effectiveness

For more information – and a free consultation – please contact us via email at or call us at 424-320-0524.

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How IoT Data is Changing the Healthcare Industry

IoT, or the internet of things, is making a big impact on the healthcare industry. A report by Allied Market Research predicts the IoT healthcare market will reach $136.8 billion worldwide by 2021. The internet of things is changing the way patients and healthcare personnel interact with many ways. Below are three ways IoT is revolutionizing the healthcare industry.

Internet of Things Can Integrate Different Medical Devices

Only a few decades ago doctors used to record their notes by hand and enter patient data into antiquated devices. Now, with modern technology and the internet of things, it’s easier than ever before for people to seamlessly connect medical devices to one another. This means physicians can easily get access to patient data using a range of devices. For example, tools like blood pressure cuffs can automatically transmit vital signs and other important data into the hospital’s electronic medical record. Patients can also use in-home medical devices to submit data to their healthcare provider. When medical devices are integrated, it can make life simpler for both patients and physicians.

Internet of Things Can Help Streamline The Workflow 

The internet of things can also help healthcare organizations streamline their processes and optimize their workflow. The powerful technology gives physicians and healthcare personnel the power to collect, view and analyze patient data faster than before. Instead of creating a paper trail for every patient, hospitals can identify patients using wrist bands with sophisticated tagging technology. Integrated medical devices and streamlined work processes can help medical staff identify and diagnose health issues more quickly than before.

Internet of Things Can Help Healthcare Organizations Manage Inventory

Hospitals and other healthcare organizations have to track a wide range of expensive medical equipment. They can learn a lot from the retail industry, which was one of the first industries to use the internet of things to track physical inventory. The technology can make it easier for hospitals to monitor their devices and integrate data into their inventory management systems or ERP systems on the back-end.

Internet of Things Can Improve Member Engagement with Payers and Hospitals

Healthcare IoT can also improve member engagement between payers, hospitals and patients. Members can use the technology to monitor their personal health information and access their health records. Internet of things can also help patients submit real-time information about their health directly to their provider. When patients play a more active role in their healthcare, it can help doctors understand what they need.

The IoT phenomenon will likely grow due to technology like smart sensors and wearable devices becoming more affordable for hospitals and patients. More hospitals also have access to high-speed internet.

Unfortunately there are some disadvantages associated with using internet of things in a healthcare environment. It is expensive to develop a complete infrastructure for connected devices connected. Payers, hospitals and other players also have to make sure to have security provisions that will protect patient data from hackers.

Overall, IoT can make healthcare more personalized and increase patient engagement. Although the technology currently focuses on inventory management, workflow optimization and device integration, it has unlimited potential and can impact other parts of the healthcare industry. The internet of things healthcare market is also expanding due to companies rushing to develop devices and fitness applications that can help physicians collect data and monitor patients.

Please contact us today to learn more about how you could use high-tech innovations in artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, Internet of Things, etc. to help your company increase revenues and streamline operations.


Majid Abai – September 2017 – Los Angeles.


About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (, a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at


A Few Applications of Augmented Reality in Healthcare

Augmented reality is a way to obtain additional information about a situation using special apps, headsets, or goggles. Unlike virtual reality, these devices do not project a different world to you but instead, add an extra data layer about the situation you are currently in. Augmented reality has applications in gaming, with the most popular example being Pokémon Go – as well as other industries.

Additional applications include marketing, with apps that allow you to visualize 3D projections of potential purchases or learn more about an item by scanning it with a camera. One field where augmented reality is proving useful is healthcare. Several projects already exist that are using augmented reality, and many more applications are currently in the research stage. Here are some examples of uses of augmented reality in healthcare.

Overlaid Diagnostics

According to an article from The Smithsonian, a lab called the Augmentarium at the University of Maryland is developing a unique tool for doctors and surgeons. This tool uses custom software with the Microsoft HoloLens to project diagnostic images for a surgeon to see while they are interacting with patients or performing surgery. Surgeons can focus on the patient and not look away for additional information, which saves critical time.

 Holographic Navigation Platform

A company called Scopis has a similar tool called the Holographic Navigation Platform, described at the Medical Augmented Reality blog. The tool also uses the Microsoft HoloLens. Healthcare professionals can work with a 3D holographic representation of a part of a patient’s body, such as the spine. Prior to surgery, they can make detailed plans with this representation, like deciding how to position screws. During the surgery, the holographic representation projects an image on the spine, and sensors help the surgeon pick the exact angle and location for actual insertion of the screw.

Proximie App

The Proximie App lets medical professionals stream video of their procedures and share information with other professionals. It is ideal for when an expert cannot attend a procedure, but their input is still essential. Watching the stream remotely, this expert can make annotations in the video, including text, images, and links to other videos, to suggest how to continue with the procedure. The app is also helpful for training medical students. Instead of just watching a procedure in person, by watching through the Proximie App, they will have access to extra learning material associated with it provided by their teachers.

Prosthesis Training

A post on the MDDI website describes a system for helping amputees learn how to use an arm or hand prosthesis using augmented reality. The system is from the Interactive Media Systems Group at the Vienna Institute of Technology. It uses the Oculus Rift in addition to special sensors to detect motion and muscle movement in the patient’s arm. With the headset on, a patient sees a field of balls as well as an arm and hand representing their prosthetic. They learn to control how it moves as well as how to grasp and release using the muscles in the arm that it connects to. A patient can learn how to coordinate their movements and use different levels of force when grasping an object.

These are just four examples of ways augmented reality is useful for the healthcare field. There are many more applications, including systems to help nurses accurately see veins, tools to help autistic children learn to interact with people, and apps to help people regulate their emotional and physical health.

The Medical Augmented Reality blog provides more examples of healthcare applications. Another source of information on the topic is this blog post from MDDI online. In the near future, other creative applications of augmented reality will help the healthcare field progress in new, unexpected ways. For more information on uses of augmented reality in healthcare and other fields, please contact us.


Majid Abai – September 2017 – Los Angeles.



About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (, a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at

4 IoT Devices that Help Reduce Costs for Any Office

In the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has seen an explosion of popularity, invention, and production. This new philosophy of manufacturing is putting wireless internet access and mobile app control into anything we can think of and the number of ‘smart’ devices grows with each coming month. While it may have originally seemed like a passing fad, the IoT trend has successfully produced an increasing number of truly useful devices. Adventurous businesses have already begun reaping the rewards by integrating smart devices into every layer of business. From the office plants to the inventory floor, the efficiency and innovation of the Internet of Things can now be used to reduce your overhead and delight your employees. While the options are vast, here are four starter IoT devices that could get your office introduced to the cost saving convenience of the Internet of Things.

  1. Smart Thermostats

Managing office temperature is notoriously challenging. Many companies have tried automating their thermostat settings to be cool in the day and warm in the evening, but this almost always backfires. IoT thermostats, on the other hand, can be programmed to maintain a temperature, follow a schedule and be hand-tuned from anywhere in the building. This will help you keep your employees comfortable and reduce the unnecessary costs of over cooling or heating. The remote access also allows you to flip off the AC over nights and weekends even if you forgot to do so before locking up.

  1. Self-Monitoring Office Plants

It sounds silly, but do you know how much an office that uses real plants will spend replacing plants if any die? Potted plants have been found to increase employee happiness and improve indoor air quality, but traditionally they require someone with a green thumb to keep in good condition. Without an at least moderately talented gardener, the plants will wilt and can even die if left insufficiently tended for too long. Now there is an IoT pot that can water itself and send a text when the plant needs a new mix of fertilizer.

  1. App-Controlled Lights

Especially in larger offices with several floors worth of brilliantly glowing halogens, the ability to turn off lights without having to visit each light switch is a major relief for energy-conscious property managers. If your office electricity bill is high, you can simply use IoT-enabled lights and exercise complete control over your office illumination and turn off those lights when nobody is working.

  1. Cold Storage Sensors

Does your company work with products that need to be chilled and kept dry? From restaurants to florists, maintaining the right cooler environment is vitally important to keeping products high-quality and salable. When your business risks losing money to warm freezers or damp air, having a constant monitor for environmental factors saves hours of employee time constantly checking and noting temperature and humidity. An IoT-enabled sensor can do the checking for you and give you an early warning if something goes wrong before your products are damaged.

These devices are only the tip of the iceberg. As development continues in IoT devices, businesses will see more and more industry specialized internet-enabled devices.  From robots that scan shelves to sensors custom built to monitor factory machinery, IoT is bringing remote access and optimization opportunities to every aspect of a modern business. Today it’s thermostats that conveniently save electricity, but in a few years it could be security camera drones flying circuits.

If you’re interested in learning more about the growing world of the Internet of Things – and how it could help your company increase revenues and/or reduce costs, please contact us today!

Majid Abai – August 2017 – Los Angeles.


About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (, a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at


Will Humans Lose Jobs to AI Agents?

There is a great deal of concern associated with artificial intelligence taking over jobs that are currently performed by humans. It’s a valid concern and one should take a deeper look at the type of a job that could eventually be performed by a robot or some sort of AI agent.

We should also look at this issue from a different perspective: humans. Which will then beg the question of “Whose job will be transferred to an AI agent?”

What I mean to find out is, who is at risk of losing their job to an AI Agent? Whose job will be eliminated and what can be done about it? In this context, we discuss AI Agent in a broad sense: robots, computers, algorithms, and any other AI product.

I think the following is the first group of “at risk” folks, and the first wave of jobs that will be transferred: Everyone who has stopped thinking at work and are fully relying on computers to tell them what to do.

For example, An Uber driver who only pays attention to the route that is provided by their route guidance app and doesn’t survey the surroundings for potentially better route; A retail cashier who will only do what the computer tells her to do and wouldn’t make better recommendations because the computer didn’t say so; A customer service attendant who’s bound by what’s available in the computer and has forgotten the human touch necessary in the customer service industry. In each case, the human only operates within the bounds established by the computer – and performs his or her job without any initiative or innovation.

Let me simplify my point: The first waves of transfers would happen to folks who have fully given to computers and don’t use any imagination, initiative, or innovation to solve daily work problems.

The one thing that AI agents haven’t mastered yet is imagination, initiative, innovation, and service with a smile.

So, if the above premise is correct, we’ve now identified a way for people who are either in the workforce today or will be in the workforce in the near future: make sure to use your brains on the job to solve problems. As of now, we can teach computers a lot of things, but we still can’t teach them initiative, innovation, and the human touch.

If you are still going to school and thinking of what you should study and what work function you should perform, then choose a career that forces you to use your brain, to imagine, and to innovate! That’s the competitive advantage that will keep you on a job in the future.


Majid Abai – July 2017 – Los Angeles


 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (, a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at


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Big Data + Big AI = Big Results

Based on a 2017 marketing report from IBM[1], 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone, at a rate of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day! And, the report adds, with new devices, sensors, and technologies emerging, the data growth rate will likely accelerate even more.

With so much data to analyze, a great number of organizations, large and small, have invested in building Big Data repositories that contain both internal and external data; and developing new processes and models to take advantage of this informative data.

Big Data has been an excellent topic of conversation in IT departments, executive meetings, and even boardrooms for some time now, and due to excellent results associated with Big Data, we expect the trend to continue for many years to come.

In addition, we are seeing a new approach that can and will raise Big Data to a new level – and that is the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes to analyze specific areas. You have heard a lot about AI in self-driving vehicles, drones, home cleaning robots, and other areas.

With Big AI being utilized ­in financial, law, healthcare, insurance, and other industries which would allow organizations to focus and customize their products and services to a specific client.

For example, in financial industry, we’re seeing a trend of organizations replacing their stock analysts with AI agents in order to maximize the effectiveness of stocks for each of their clients. Black Rock, for example, has been a pioneer in such movement[2]. In addition to stock selection, financial sector will soon find a variety of AI agents and apps that would customize and manage wealth, savings, credit card selection, purchase analysis – and a lot of other functions for the consumer.

In law, an AI program called Robot Lawyer has successfully overturned more than 160,000 parking tickets in New York and London alone[3] – and is expanding to other areas in the US!

In healthcare, the impact would be even more drastic! With all IoT and mobile devices available for use and the ability to analyze personal data, parental history, and other data sources, we could see a big impact in use of AI in Healthcare anywhere from establishing appointments, increase throughput within hospitals, and even getting patients to and from clinics.

Insurance industry has started using AI for claims management and fraud detection – as well as underwriting and loss prevention[4].

In retail, AI will be amazing! Logistics (just-in-time ordering and shelf management), sales improvement (more customized coupons, and better shopping basket analysis), payment processing (evident from Amazon’s purchase of Wholefoods), and fraud detection and loss prevention (to catch a thief – on spot!), we will see a wholesale change in how retail will start to function.

It is important to reiterate that although I use the examples associated with larger organizations, smaller and mid-sized organizations can certainly take advantage of Big Data and Big AI without having to make multi-million dollar investments. Every company would be able to use the same set of data and processes and take advantage of its Big Results.


Majid Abai – June 2017 – Los Angeles


 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. (, a High-Technology and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. With over 30 years of experience in supporting US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategic and tactical approach to use of innovation and technology to increase revenues and reduce costs for organizations. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at


[1] IBM Marketing Cloud, “10 Key Marketing Trends for 2017” –

[2] Sara Krouse, Wall Street Journal, March 28th 2017:

[3] Arezou Rezvani, NPR, January 16, 2017:

[4] Financial Times:

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Innovation Consulting

We simply help companies innovate effectively, consistently, and continuously.

We find many companies innovate once, enjoy the fruits of their innovation, and then stop thinking! Concepts Rise consultants work with our clients’ executive teams to keep them thinking about new products, new services, new markets, new industries, and new set of clients.

How do we do it?

Our approach is simple: We focus on uncharted waters. Our consultants use data and predictive analytics tools to identify a client’s best customers, niche industries, and blue waters – and help client executives develop new products, services, partnerships to support such areas. Moreover, we help them do this consistently, effectively, and continuously, so that their growth is constant.

It’s never too late to innovate! Let us show you how.

For more information – and a free consultation – please contact us via email at or call us at424-320-0524.

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10 Steps of a Successful Business Continuity Plan

As part of our engagements with our client organizations, we always ask about the organization’s business continuity plan. We ask this question regardless of the size of the company, or our level of engagement. Answers often sound something like this: “We’re covered!” or this: “We have a very detailed disaster/recovery plan” or our favorite: “We backup our data every night”.

As we dig deeper, our Sherpas often realize that most companies either don’t have a business continuity plan or at best have a data backup plan.

This has prompted me to write this article about the areas that an organization needs to think about when it comes to business continuity.

Step 1: Business Continuity Plan is an Operational Risk, Not an IT one.

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is an operational risk. It effects much more than just simply the technology side of the house, and would include cross-training, rescheduling, and focusing on worst case scenarios

Step 2: Disaster Recovery Plan is a subset of a Business Continuity Plan

In our opinion, the Disaster Recovery (DR) plan is the technology subset of the business continuity plan. For example, a medium-size break and mortar print organization with several offices across the US, and running several systems including CRM and ERP platforms would not only need a DR plan, but also, need to figure out how to deliver customer online, telephonic, and manual orders should a disaster wipe out one of its print centers. In addition, should a call center be closed due to a natural disaster, would other centers have adequately trained specialists to answer the customer phone calls?

Step 3: Define Key Business Activities

We’d like to start by defining key business activities, processes, and systems within the organization. For example, production lines for manufacturing companies, systems, key resources, and important business processes. We also ask some stupid questions: What if the phones are down for more than one day? Could you continue to operate? Are the phone systems designed to relay phone calls to people who work from home?

Step 4: Define Potential Disasters

What does disaster look like in your business? The scenarios are quite different for each organization. Of course, the following categories are the most common set of business disasters:

  • Natural Disasters (earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, etc.)
  • Architectural Disasters (Fire and Water damage)
  • Technological Disasters (servers crashing)
  • Terrorist attacks (e.g. September 11)

In addition to the above set of disasters, each organization has its own set of issues that could be potentially disastrous for the company. For example, a number of major public companies – as well as the US Federal Government – prohibit traveling of 2 of their high ranking members on the same flight as a method of insuring business continuity.

Step 5: Define the Potential Cost of the Disaster

The way to answer this question correctly is to be able to realize that there are 3 types of cost associated with each disaster (a) The unproductive time/money loss due to lack of resources; (b) revenue loss due to lack of sales; and (c) long-term loss due to customer dissatisfaction. For example, an e-commerce company whose servers have crashed will have to pay its personnel while the site is being recovered; will lose sales for the duration; would pay for online ads during this period; and would potentially lose customers as they might find the rival site and never come back. One should calculate this cost as it would directly help with the next section.

Step 6: Define an Acceptable Recovery Time

Following the above example, if e-commerce company A could potentially lose $1,000 per hour, its business continuity strategy might be quite different than e-commerce company B that is losing $75,000 per hour. In case of Company A, the company might be happy for a recovery time of several hours or days, where Company B, would like the recovery to be a matter of minutes.

Step 7: Define an Acceptable Recovery Budget

So far, we have identified disaster types, cost of each disaster, and acceptable recovery times for that disaster. But how much are we willing to pay to be prepared? Nobody really wants to pay for something that could never happen (including the cost of cross-training, re-deployment, etc.), but it is a necessity of life.

Step 8: Consider External Vendors

What if you couldn’t fulfill your products and services for a certain period of time? Could there be external vendors who could perform these services for that period to keep the customers happy? If so, start building a relationship with them and establish the criteria of working together.

Step 9: Protect Your Data!

Data is the new gold. As part of any solid BCP and DR Plan, you’d need to make sure that your data is backed up, accessible, and recoverable. As long as we know data us accessible, recoverable, and easily discoverable, we would be able to restore it or use it in the interim to support our customers. Let’s use this example: Company A uses a sophisticated ERP format. IT department backs up this data every night to a secure offsite location. A few months down the line, the ERP servers crash and we have to wait for new servers for a week. During this period, this data is not accessible which could cause a lot of issues for the company.

Alternatively, a better business continuity plan, would have dumped key data (customer, product list/cost/price, etc.) to an unsophisticated system on nightly basis, allowing users at various offices to have access to this information during the disaster period.

Step 10: Train Your Employees

And finally…. Make sure your employees know what to do in case of a disaster, whether it is natural, technological, or architectural. It’s important for them to have all steps documented in a manual and practiced those scenarios so that they could react to those conditions naturally. Such manuals should be customized for each vital set of groups, so that they’re simply focused on their specific function in case of a disaster.

In Conclusion

As you can see, organizations should be actively developing business continuity plans and should remember that these are live documents that be modified continually as business requirements, systems, and personnel change. As such, it’s very important for executives to review, update, and test the plan, and schedule training and reminders for their employees and team members, on annual basis. One hopes that such plans are never put into action, but executives should always be ready.


 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director of Concepts Rise, LLC. ( and, a Technology, Revenue Growth, and Innovation Consultancy based in Los Angeles, CA, USA.

With over 30 years of experience in leading and managing US and global organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on strategy and tactical approached to innovation and rapid growth of organizations.

Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at

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FBI Warns of Security Issues of IoT Devices

After reviewing a November 8th article from Wall Street Journal, we can see one of the unintended consequences of our connected lives. The article, titled “FBI Warns internet Online Attacks on Private Business Will Continue” – should be used as a wake up call on potential dangers of such devices. You can see the full article here.

As IoT devices become more relevant to our day to day lives and are utilized more in our business world, their vulnerabilities become more apparent and potential dangers loom in.

This will become a very important time for manufacturers of such devices to think about the ability to analyze warning signs of such attacks and to notify other devices of such dangers.

As we can see, we have a long way to go.

Majid Abai

November 2016


 About The Author:

Majid Abai is Managing Director and Chief Sherpa at Concepts Rise (, a Hi-Tech selection, management, & implementation consultancy to US and international organizations. With over 30 years of experience in leading and managing technology organizations, Mr. Abai focuses on technology management and strategy. Majid could be reached at 424-320-0524 or via email at

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IoT Data Integration and Analytics

Internet of Things definition: The vast network of devices connected to the Internet, including smart phones and tablets and almost anything with a sensor on it – cars, machines in production plants, jet engines, oil drills, wearable devices, and more. These “things” collect and exchange data.

At Concepts Rise, we help move IoT data from silos into a stream of knowledge. Our tools catalogue and integrate data delivered from IoT devices and above all provide an analytics layer that provide actionable knowledge to our clients. We provide such data to various industries including medical, automotive, retail, and effectively all industries.

Our consultants can also help you determine how IoT would affect your business. Can it reduce costs? Can it increase revenues? Can it impact the future of your organization? We can help!

For more information – and a free consultation – please contact us via email at or call us at 424-320-0524.