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Block Magazine

Creativity has its place
Issue 24

The Tech Transition

We spoke to Jeff LaFrenz, founder of VizworX Inc., about innovation, the tech ecosystem and translating big data into forms and information that’s usable.

AS TOLD TO: NAVNEET ALANG
ILLUSTRATION BY: GRACIA LAM

“Leadership is not a title but an attitude. Lead by example. Anyone can be a leader, big or small, if they choose to be.”

THE BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED

A look at how we used technology in the past showed that we had to adapt our behaviour to what technology was capable of. Now we’re in a transition period, moving toward a future where digital and physical information overlap.

But we are often overwhelmed. The data we see sometimes just isn’t digestible, or there is too much of it to pull patterns from the noise, or the way it’s presented just isn’t human—it’s not natural.

I see a lot of technology that’s used for purposes that, to me, don’t have high value. It’s not being used to solve real-world, meaningful problems. At VizworX, we’re doing things like trying to reduce illegal fishing in the world, which is a multibillion-dollar issue that affects a huge number of people. We’re trying to tackle things that have a real importance to people in the world.

What we do is twofold. One side is in the data visualization space, where we turn data into insights, knowledge and ultimately decisions. The other side of what we do involves an area that has blown up lately, and that’s the whole idea of building a metaverse. Not in the sense of a consumer metaverse, which seems to be so popular these days, but the practical, valuable use of this metaverse concept to solve real-world problems.

For example, if you look at the construction industry, five to 30 percent of the typical cost of a project is “rework”—redoing things that aren’t noticeable until you’re in construction. If you look at that on a global scale, there is somewhere around $3 trillion wasted on rework. So, what we’ve built is a way for people to do a walk-through of what we call a digital twin—a digital replica of a real-world thing—before a spade is put in the ground. 

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