Emerging Technologies Initiative (ETI)

Emerging technologies are innovations that are perceived as having the potential to significantly change the status quo. These technologies are often still in the early stages of development and commercialization, but they are expected to have a major impact on the way we live, work, and interact with one another in the near future.

In line with the Lam Family College of Business's vision “to be a leader in advancing transformative change globally and locally,” the Lam-Larsen Emerging Technologies Initiative (ETI), formerly Technology in Business Education, has a mission to explore and promote the responsible development and implementation of new technologies that have the potential to transform our world. We aim to bring together experts from academia, industry, and government to share knowledge, spur innovation, and drive positive change. From artificial intelligence to blockchain and smart devices, biotechnology to robotics, we strive to promote the transformative potential of these technologies for business education and work to ensure their benefits are widely shared by our students. The initiative runs and supports a variety of programs to educate and support our college in multiple domains, including curricular innovation, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Student and Community Engagement, and research and development surrounding emerging technologies. Join us in shaping the future of emerging technologies for the good of humanity.

Major Programs

1. Student Innovativeness and Engagement

The Lam Larsen Emerging Technologies Initiative strives to play a crucial role in nurturing and promoting student innovation led by technology. We support projects that demonstrate our students' creativity, resourcefulness, and ability to tackle real-world challenges enabled by technology. One of our most notable successes in this domain was the 2022 SUGAR Network Expo, where SF State students collaborated with Ripple and Warsaw University of Technology to create A'RENT, an NFT subscription platform for digital art. By participating in such projects, our students gain valuable experience and develop their skills in cutting-edge fields. Additionally, we have sponsored events like the SF Hacks Hackathon, where students put their talents to the test and earned recognition for their innovative solutions. Other activities in this domain include:

a) Tech Thought Leaders Series and Round tables: Inviting leading experts and industry professionals to share insights, experiences, and visions about the technologies of the future. These events promote dialogue and facilitate networking among students, faculty, and industry professionals.

b) Student Tech Clubs: Support student-led technology clubs focusing on emerging technologies including AI, robotics, or quantum computing, where students can collaborate on projects, attend workshops, and participate in hackathons or prepare for professional certifications.

c) Student Hackathons and Tech Challenges: Support and organize hackathons and events and bring together students, industry professionals, and other stakeholders to tackle real-world problems using emerging technologies.

d) Emerging Tech Workshops: Support and organize hands-on workshops to help students and industry professionals explore new technologies and develop practical skills.

e) Student Research Projects: Support students with opportunities to participate in research projects related to emerging technologies, working alongside faculty members and industry professionals in fields like AI, robotics, NFTs, AR/VR, and biotechnology.

2. Technology Integration in Business Curriculum

Integrating novel technologies into our curriculum is essential for preparing the students for the modern workforce. In line with that, ETI initiates and supports projects and initiatives that involve curriculum development/upgrade with technology. The Initiative has provided funding for the SAP Recognition Award certificate program, which incorporates SAP software into undergraduate and graduate courses. This partnership has equipped over 300 students annually with in-demand IT skills and contributed to their successful employment at top companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook. We also supply hardware kits to teach students about the Internet of Things (IoT) and support the Xcode coding club by covering fees for the Apple App Development with Swift Certifications. These efforts ensure our students are well-prepared for careers in the rapidly evolving tech landscape. Other activties in this domain include:

a) Curriculum Development and Technology Integration: supporting curricular design and development activities and working closely with faculty to redesign or develop new courses and curricular innovations that meet the changing demands of the business world. This includes technology integration, simulation design, industry partnerships, student projects, and certifications.

b) The Emerging Technologies Fellow Program: This program helps top students with high GPAs obtain relevant professional certifications in emerging technologies, such as Microsoft Azure Certification, AWS Certified Solution Architects, Blockchain Developers, and Apple Xcode.

c) Industry Partnership and Student Internship Programs: We strive to collaborate with local tech companies and startups to provide paid internships for students, giving them valuable real-world experience in emerging technologies.

3. Research Projects

The Lam Larsen Emerging Technologies Initiative is committed to advancing research in fields like blockchain, fintech, and digital currency technologies. Our support for applied research projects has led to the development of innovative educational tools, such as an augmented reality (AR) app that revives ancient musical instruments from diverse cultures. The code base from this project is integrated into our iOS app development curriculum, ensuring our students stay at the forefront of technological advancements. As we continue to invest in cutting-edge research, we aim to create opportunities for both faculty and students to explore new frontiers in technology and education. Some activities in this domain include:

a) Faculty Research & Development in Emerging Technologies: We encourage interdisciplinary student research and development projects, fostering innovation and collaboration across various fields.

b) Emerging Tech Expo (Innovation Lab): In partnership with the Library Maker's Space, we strive to establish dedicated spaces for students to work on projects and prototypes, providing access to the latest technologies, tools, and mentorship from industry experts.

c) Emerging Tech Symposium: We strive to host an annual symposium that brings together experts from diverse fields to discuss the impact of emerging technologies on society and develop strategies for addressing the challenges and opportunities they present.

Current Initiatives and Projects

1- SUGAR Network Project - in collaboration with Ripple and Warsaw University of Technology (WUT)

San Francisco State University has been an active participant in the SUGAR Network community since 2017. The SUGAR Network is a global innovation platform that brings together corporate partners with students from over 25 universities representing 4 continents. It enables students to form inter-culture, multidisciplinary teams to prototype and test innovative solutions on real design challenges posed by international corporate sponsors.

The Lam-Larsen Emerging Technologies Initiative proudly supported the 2022 SFSU SUGAR project in partnership with Ripple and the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT). San Francisco State University also co-hosted the SUGAR Expo Event in 2022. Our team included: Abby Hadidian (Finance), Gelvin Escueta (Information Systems), Alex Chau (Computer Science), and Sarai Aguayo (Marketing/Design).

2- Hosting 2022 SF Hacks Hackathon and SUGAR 2022

The Lam-Larsen Emerging Technologies Initiative is proud to sponsor and host the 2022 SF Hacks event, which took place during March 11-13, 2022. SF Hacks is a student-run organization that organizes San Francisco’s largest Collegiate Hackathon. This year, it attracted over 500 RSVPed hackers from 26 different countries. About 50 final projects were submitted for judging. And over 1,000 members joined their Discord group. Over the three-day Hackathon event, two LFCoB students collaborated with their international teammates closely and implemented a solution that unites cybersecurity and sustainability, which are two important themes of the SF Hacks this year. Their team Resolve Practices won the “Major League Hacking: Most Creative Use of Twilio” Category at SF Hacks. The Resolve Practices consists of team members of Alexandra Power (LFCoB), Bethany Dickson (LFCoB), Sagnik Chatterjee (India), Rhea Shastri (India), and Hong Tran (Texas). They all received Twilio Swag Box and GameGo Console as prizes.

3- Smart Communities - in Collaboration with the University of the West Indies

This project was in collaboration with the Center of Excellence at the University of the West Indies that aimed to develop a system architecture for IoT implementation in Smart Cities models. A research paper was co-authored by the project manager describing the architectural design of a pilot project that was implemented in Haiti. This research paper is in a revised and resubmit cycle with the Communications of the AIS. The team is working on a second research paper, that is based on the findings from this project. Data gathered during the pilot from participants will help us in validating the system's architectural design. The team is planning to implement a second pilot and invite the team from West Indies to organize a workshop with SFSU and the City of San Francisco.

4- External Collaboration with SAP University Alliance

The Lam-Larsen Emerging Technologies is proud to support the SAP Recognition Award Certificate since 2022. The Information Systems department of SFSU has started partnering with SAP North America University Alliance Program (SAP UAP) to issue the SAP Recognition Award certificate since 2012. This includes upgrading the curriculum by integrating cutting-edge technologies into several ISYS graduate and undergraduate courses. As a result of this program, students at both undergraduate and graduate levels can earn a jointly issued certificate by SFSU and SAP after completing at least three technology-integrated courses. Between the Fall of 2012 and the Spring of 2022, about 330 students received the SAP Recognition Award certificate, including 50 MBA/MSBA students. A preliminary scan of the LinkedIn profiles of SAP Recognition Award certificate recipients showed about 200 students who have been employed in IT-related positions and industries. Most of them highlight SAP ERP skills and SAP Recognition Award certificates in their profiles. Some of them have received internship opportunities as well as full-time employment at high-tech companies such as SAP, Google, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, PayPal, Symantec, and Cisco.

5- Applied Research to explore Blockchain, Fintech, and Digital Currency Technologies potentially generating benefits for under-served communities

The Initiative is proud to sponsor two research projects in the blockchain and education domain. These projects aimed to look profoundly into and synthesize the extant literature and contribute to a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of blockchain research in Education. As a result, two independent research were designed and conducted investigating 1) “Blockchain in Education: A Scoping Review and A Research Agenda” and 2) “Blockchain in Business Curriculum.” As of Spring 2022, the first stage of these projects is completed and the manuscripts are being prepared for journal submission.

6- Xcode Student Coding Club

The initiative is proud to support five students who were part of the Apple Xcode student club to take the Apple App Development with Swift Certification Exam.

7- CSU Innovation Grant Project in Collaboration with the School of Cinema

Augmented Reality technology enables components of the digital world to be blended into a person’s perception of the real world. Packed with high-resolution cameras and high-precision sensors, the mobile devices are ready for the prime time of Augmented Reality apps, which help to create seamless immersive experiences that could be dynamically interwoven into the physical world. The Initiative is proud to sponsor the CSU Innovation Grant project in the Augmented Reality App project. The goal of this project is to create an Augmented Reality app to showcase ancient instruments from different cultures and the music they create. Examples of such instruments include Guqin (China), Sitar (India), and Ocarina (Mexico). The project team includes Dr. Weimin Zhang (School of Cinema), Dr. Leigh Jin (Information Systems), and Anh Tran (Information Systems). With the funding of this grant, we visited the Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona in February to capture the 3D models of various musical instruments using photogrammetry technology. After experimenting with different techniques and many trials and errors, we succeeded in acquiring the AR assets for our app development purposes. This project was presented at the 2022 Cal State Tech Connect Conference on July 25-28, 2022. The code base developed in this project will be incorporated into the iOS app development curriculum to benefit students who are interested in learning Augmented Reality app development. In addition, this experience was an effort to facilitate additional collaborations between the School of Cinema and the Information Systems department on other Augmented Reality related projects.

Call for Proposals






Nasser Shahrasbi, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Information Systems

Email:  shahrasbi@sfsu.edu