Tag Archives: technology

Conquering Concussions

ASU, TGen Team Up for Concussion Research

Riddell, the leader in football helmet technology and innovation, and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a leader in cutting-edge genomic research, today announced that the Pac-12’s Arizona State University and its Sun Devil football program will again participate in a genetic research study designed to advance athlete concussion detection and treatment.

Now in its second year, the joint research project will combine molecular information and head impact data from Sun Devil football student-athletes to identify whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable. The researchers will monitor the players’ changing molecular information throughout a season of typical head impact exposure associated with football practice and games. Representatives from the Sun Devil medical team and TGen will collect the molecular samples from the participating athletes, all of whom volunteered to partake in the study.

“This partnership represents another dynamic and innovative step toward ensuring that the health and well-being of our student-athletes remains our most important goal,” Vice President for Arizona State University Athletics Ray Anderson said. “Sun Devil Athletics continues to serve as a pioneering force in this important issue and is proud to participate in this world-class research study for the second consecutive year with two outstanding industry trendsetters in Riddell and TGen.”

Arizona State’s preferred helmet and protective equipment provider, Riddell, has again deployed its Sideline Response System (SRS) to obtain real-time head impact data from Arizona State football student-athletes. Riddell SRS provides researchers with a wide range of valuable information on the frequency and severity of head impacts a player receives during games and practices. Data gathered from the system will be combined with genetic information from players that experience concussion, with the objective of helping physicians diagnose concussion and better identify when a player might be expected to recover and return to the field.

“Player protection has become an essential part of football, and this cutting-edge partnership sets ASU apart from not only the rest of the conference, but every collegiate football program in the nation,” ASU Head Coach Todd Graham said. “We are not only looking out for our student-athletes while they are enrolled at ASU, but for the rest of their lives. You become a part of the brotherhood once you put on the maroon and gold, and that doesn’t end at graduation.”

Riddell will also utilize the player head impact data collected from the ASU and TGen research partnership to inform the development of new football helmets and further refine updates to smart helmet technologies like Riddell SRS and its recently launched Riddell InSite Impact Response System.

“We’re impressed by the enthusiasm exhibited by our partners, Arizona State University and TGen, as we enter the second season of our important research collaboration,” President of Riddell Dan Arment said. “They have matched our level of passion for football, and we are all committed to better protecting those that play the sport we love. We are left encouraged following the first year of our project and look forward to continuing on the path towards advancing concussion detection and treatment of athletes.”

The researchers at TGen are exploring whether the effects of sub-concussive hits are identifiable through blood-based molecular information. Their findings could prove pivotal to the game of football and other sports. Similar to last season, during this phase of the study the TGen faculty and staff are on the sidelines collecting samples and data. A baseline sample was collected from all participating players prior to their pre-season workouts. Since then, the researchers have followed the team through their daily workouts and will continue throughout the season.

Through the collection of samples over various points in time and the data generated by Riddell SRS, the goal is to identify the genomic changes in athletes exposed to routine head impacts during practice and games, athletes with diagnosed concussions that recover on both a routine time scale, and athletes with persistent symptoms following concussion that require additional treatment.

“As the mother of a young son who has played football, I’m keenly aware of the need to improve the current standards in place today for dealing with this issue,” said TGen Associate Professor Dr. Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, whose technique for studying the collected samples drives this unique partnership. “As a researcher whose daily work looks for ways to determine the early warning signs of head injury, I get to see first hand how committed Arizona State University and Riddell are to student-athlete safety, and their determination to improve the game at all levels.”

Following the season long campaign, the researchers will gather post-season data and begin the analysis process with their colleagues at Barrow Neurological Institute and A.T. Still University. During this process, TGen will work closely with Barrow, whose B.R.A.I.N.S. (Barrow Resource for Acquired Injury to the Nervous System) program treats patients who have sustained a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury. The Barrow data will provide the researchers with additional concussion data and allow for comparison between data sets.

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Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator Helps Tech Innovators

Wells Fargo began accepting applications through October 1 from young companies interested in joining the new Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, a semiannual boot camp for innovators whose technology ideas in payments, deposits, fraud, operations and other fields could shape future customer experiences in financial services.

Wells Fargo will make a direct equity investment of $50,000 to $500,000 in each selected start-up. The Startup Accelerator also will provide business planning expertise to firms in the six-month program, which is designed to continuously attract innovative ideas and stoke innovation across the Wells Fargo enterprise. Company subject matter experts and purchasing managers will offer workshops and individual coaching to the firms. Successful companies may become vendors to the bank.

“For Wells Fargo to work on big ideas and spark innovators inside our organization, we need to expand our access to new ideas at the edges of our industry,” said Steve Ellis, executive vice president and head of Wholesale Services at Wells Fargo, who noted that in 1995, Wells Fargo was the first major financial services company in the U.S. to give customers free Internet access to account balances. Wells Fargo also was first to offer a mobile service for businesses in 2007, he added.

“The Startup Accelerator adds a new cylinder to our corporate innovation engine,” said Ellis. “We’re taking a proven business model from the venture capital community and repurposing it as a strategy for connecting with start-ups whose ideas and growth prospects could add value to our business and our customers.”

Three innovative companies already have been selected and funded to pilot the Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator. They are:

• Zumigo, San Jose, California: A developer of mobile services using a unique combination of location and mobile identity technologies to secure commerce and enable mobile marketing.
• EyeVerify, Kansas City, Kansas: The creator of EyePrint ID™ that transforms a picture of your eye into a key that protects your digital life.
• Kasisto, New York: The builder of state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology that improves the consumer experience on mobile devices through intelligent conversation.

In addition to these three firms, the Startup Accelerator will give 10 to 20 young companies each year the opportunity to develop and refine products in a collaborative environment. Applications will be accepted twice per year, with a deadline of October 1 for this fall’s program. A Wells Fargo investment committee comprised of senior technology, venture banking, and innovation leaders will evaluate candidates and select participants. Prospects can learn more and apply online at https://accelerator.wellsfargo.com.

“We’re interested in any technology that could be used by an institution like Wells Fargo to better serve our customers or operate our business,” Ellis said. “Analytics, big data, mobile, security, and infrastructure are all important to us. We’re looking to engage with innovators beyond the edge of our own creative enterprise.”

46-inch Fulton technology

Fulton Homes Utilizes Interactive Touch Screen Display

Fulton Homes has always had the touch when it comes to quality homebuilding. Now the Tempe-based residential builder is integrating a modern “touch” with innovative technology.

Fulton Homes will unveil a massive interactive 46-inch touch screen at its newest community “Legacy” in Gilbert when sales commence in August. Located in the main sales office, the touch screen will allow homebuyers to effortlessly search the more than 6,000 floor plan options available, all color-coded by lot size and square footages of rooms. Buyers will also be able in real time to easily connect with Google Maps to zoom in on all Fulton Homes communities and click on specific lots to determine size and elevation. Customers will also be able to automatically register for a Fulton Homes account.

“This will be are most technology-advanced sales office to date,” said Doug Fulton, CEO for Fulton Homes. “We decided to unveil the latest technology at Legacy, our newest community. The new touch screen adds a new element to the existing presentation screens we now have in our sales offices. In the future we expect to incorporate the same touch screen technology at our other sales offices as well.”

Located on S. Greenfield Road in Gilbert, Legacy is a 105-homesite community that features floor plans up to 6,600 square feet, with 11-bedroom, six-bath options and basements available. The list of Legacy’s interested buyers has swelled to nearly 400, easily outpacing that of past Fulton Homes’ communities.

technical education career training looking at petri dish

Maricopa Community Colleges strengthen STEM educaton

As part of the State’s FY 2015 budget, the Maricopa Community Colleges received $1.4 million to bolster educational efforts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
(STEM) and Workforce areas. This additional funding is the first State appropriation for Maricopa in areas of the STEM and Workforce since 2009.

The criteria used to determine the allocation of the dollars within the Maricopa Colleges was predicated on established programs with strong existing partnerships with business and industry and long-term sustainable employment demand. The $1.4 million will be distributed as
follows:

1. $400,000 to Chandler-Gilbert College for the updating of labs and equipment for its Aviation and Composite Manufacturing Programs.

2. $400,000 to Estrella Mountain College for the expansion of the Energy Program and a new Pathway program (IT Systems).

3. $400,000 to Mesa Community College for the Additive Manufacturing Program and interdisciplinary 3-D Printing Program housed in MCC’s Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

4. $150,000 for recruitment and student support in STEM programs such as STEM Student Scholar Program and the Hermanas Program.

5. $50,000 for development of a STEM master plan for Maricopa Community Colleges and membership to the STEMconnector Association.

“We are grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for making these funds available to Maricopa and for supporting community colleges statewide,” said Chancellor Rufus Glasper. “This additional funding will help our students receive the best possible STEM education and workforce training experience to help prepare them for transfer to baccalaureate granting institutions and/or movement into the workforce. We will continue to work with State officials to ensure that – along with the K-12 and university systems – we can keep Arizona students educated, trained and ready for whatever tasks lie ahead of them.”

digital data flow through optical wire

IO Receives Patent for Software-Defined Modular Data Center

IO, a worldwide leader in software-defined data centers technology, services, and solutions, today announced it has been granted a new patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the company’s software-defined modular data center.

U.S. Patent 8,733,812 defines the technology necessary for a modular data center with intelligent management, monitoring and control mechanisms. The powerful combination enables enterprises to improve operational efficiency with insightful analytics. This patent adds to the collection of intellectual property rights IO has accumulated through its advanced research and development work.

IO’s purpose-built modular data centers now serve as the industry’s benchmark for software-defined data centers. Equipped with the IO.OS® data center operating system, IO’s modules enable enterprises to measure utilization and manage energy consumption of all IT-related equipment and facility infrastructure components.

“At IO, we believe the status quo must be challenged and IT must be reinvented to build a sustainable and secure future for our customers,” said George Slessman, chief executive officer and product architect at IO. “This modular data center patent represents an important achievement for IO’s purpose-driven people and customers.”

The full breadth of IO’s work is being substantiated in a broad, global patent portfolio that puts the company in a strong position to serve the market.

digital data flow through optical wire

IO Announces New Customer Wins

IO, a worldwide leader in software-defined data center technology, services and solutions, today announced new customer wins. By selecting IO, these organizations gain access to high-performance data center capacity without incurring the cost of building and maintaining their own data center.

The new customers include:

* Bryan Vincent Associates, Inc. (BVA) – Since 1993, BVA has specialized in serving the IT consulting needs of small- and medium-sized companies in Arizona and greater Phoenix area, helping them realize the value of their information technology investments. BVA understands the impact that technology and computer-networking services has on its clients’ business, and is committed to their success.

* CBWE Hosting, LLC – Providing an extensive suite of fully managed hosted services, CBWE Hosting LLC prides itself on partnering with world-class vendors to provide enterprise quality services to the worldwide SMB market. The latest addition to its datacenter space with IO Phoenix strengthens the company’s position and highlights its dedication to service levels with global customers. While operating lower cost services out of other datacenters under the brand Three9′s (www.three9s.com), CBWE Hosting specifically chose IO for its enterprise level services under the NXTGEN Hosting brand (www.nxtgenhosting.com) for their datacenter design, function and 100 percent uptime SLAs.

* Trinium Technologies, LLC – Trinium provides software solutions for intermodal trucking and multimodal trucking operations in the United States and Canada. Trinium’s product suite offers a mid-level enterprise system designed to optimize intermodal drayage, cartage and transport operations. Trinium Fuel Systems is recognized as the industry leader in petroleum marketing systems, providing solutions for companies ranging from single site, three to five user deployments to multi-site operations encompassing over 100 users.

“IO makes it easy and cost-effective for our customers to deploy data center capacity,” said Peter McNamara, Executive Leader, Global Sales and Customer Operations, IO. “They can start from a single cabinet in one of our data centers, and scale globally based on the needs of their applications.”

Founded in 2007, IO is a worldwide leader in software defined data center technology, services and solutions that enable businesses and governments to intelligently control their information.

IO, the IO logo, Intelligent Control and all other IO trademarks are owned by IO Data Centers, LLC and its affiliates. © 2014.

bioscience

Bioscience Roadmap gets an extension through 2025

The strategic plan that has guided Arizona’s fast-growing bioscience sector for nearly 12 years is gearing up for a new decade.

“Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: 2014-2025” will be unveiled starting April 8 at events in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff, the state’s three metropolitan areas that feature growing bioscience hubs. The plan includes updated strategies that can strengthen and diversify Arizona’s economy while providing Arizonans access to the latest health care innovations.

“The updated Bioscience Roadmap builds on the successes of its first decade and adds contemporary strategies to take Arizona’s bioscience base to the next level,” said Jack Jewett, President & CEO of the Flinn Foundation, which commissioned the update and the original Bioscience Roadmap in 2002. “Arizona is now known as a top emerging bioscience state, but we have far to go to reach our full potential.”

The updated Roadmap will continue to focus on developing Arizona’s biomedical research infrastructure but will emphasize turning this research into new therapies, products, diagnostics, jobs, firms, and other benefits to Arizona. Commercialization, entrepreneurship, creating a critical mass of bioscience firms, and the development of talent are prime themes.

The Roadmap’s overarching vision is for Arizona—a young but rapidly growing state in the biosciences—to become a global competitor and national leader in select areas of the biosciences by 2025.

Over the first decade, Arizona built major research facilities at its universities, formed new private research institutes, attracted top talent, created high-tech business incubators, and greatly expanded statewide STEM (science, technology, education, math) education programs. The number of Arizona bioscience industry jobs grew by 45 percent, nearly four times greater than the nation.

“Arizona has many bioscience strengths and opportunities, but a substantial increase in private and public investment will be needed over the next decade to realize the Roadmap’s goals,” said Walter Plosila, senior advisor to the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, the Columbus, Ohio-based nonprofit research and development organization that authored the original Roadmap and its update.

Plosila noted that Arizona’s greatest needs are access to risk capital by startup and emerging bioscience firms, building a stronger bioscience entrepreneurship culture, and an expansion of the research infrastructure combined with commercialization at the state’s universities.

The new Roadmap plan features five goals, 17 strategies, and 77 proposed actions. The actions are meant to evolve as needs change over the course of the decade. The plan was developed by Battelle following research, interviews, and focus groups with more than 150 local and national bioscience leaders, including extensive input from Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, a body of more than 100 statewide leaders in science, business, academia, and government.

“An emphasis on the full spectrum of the biosciences—from research to hospitals to bio-agriculture—and a renewed focus on resources, collaboration, and long-term patience is needed for Arizona to continue its ascent in the biosciences,” said Martin Shultz, Senior Policy Director for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, who chairs the Roadmap Steering Committee. “The impact can be profound—the biosciences are a multibillion-dollar industry for Arizona.”

There are six industry segments that comprise the biosciences in Arizona: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics; medical devices and equipment; research, testing, and medical labs; bioscience-related distribution; and hospitals. A new economic-impact analysis by Battelle estimates the total revenue generated annually by Arizona’s bioscience industry—not counting hospitals—to be $14 billion. With hospitals included, the figure exceeds $36 billion.

Based on the latest industry data (2012), Arizona currently has 106,846 bioscience jobs spread across 1,382 establishments and an annual average wage of $62,775—39 percent higher than the private-sector average. These numbers do not include academic research jobs at the state universities or private research institutes.

Hospitals account for the majority of the state’s bioscience jobs. With hospitals removed from the equation, the other segments combine for 23,545 jobs, 1,266 establishments, and average annual wages of $85,571. Growth in the non-hospital segments accelerated dramatically over the last few years.

The bioscience-related distribution subsector is a new addition to Arizona’s bioscience definition, following the lead of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the nation’s bioscience trade association. Companies in this subsector coordinate the delivery of bioscience-related products through processes such as cold storage and product monitoring, and new technologies such as automated pharmaceutical distribution systems. This change also called for several smaller industries to be dropped from Arizona’s definition.

The Roadmap also presents updated data on Arizona’s performance in generating grants from the National Institutes of Health, academic research expenditures, venture capital, and tech-transfer measures involving the state universities. These metrics plus industry measures will be tracked throughout the decade by Battelle and reported by the Flinn Foundation.

The Roadmap also includes analyses of Arizona’s bioscience sector that were critical in developing the strategies and actions, such as an assessment of Arizona’s bioscience strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. It identified Arizona’s core competencies as cancer research, neurosciences, bioengineering, agricultural biotechnology, imaging sciences, precision medicine, diagnostics, health information technologies, and health economics.

The Flinn Foundation is a privately endowed, philanthropic grantmaking organization established in 1965 by Dr. Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn to improve the quality of life in Arizona to benefit future generations. The Phoenix-based foundation supports the advancement of the biosciences in Arizona, as well as a merit-based college scholarship program, arts and culture, and the Arizona Center for Civic Leadership. “Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap: 2014-2025” is available for download at www.flinn.org.

bioscience

ASU joins STEM mentoring initiative

Today, the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI) at Arizona State University announced its partnership with the “Million Women Mentors” (MWM) initiative. MWM will launch Jan. 8, 2014 during National Mentoring Month, in Washington, D.C at the National Press Club. The initiative will support the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mentors – male and female – to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

As a partner in the movement to increase the representation of women in STEM degree programs and careers, CTI has joined with MWM to help proliferate the opportunities for young girls to engage with STEM mentors. The partnership with MWM aligns with CTI’s recently developed Women’s Council for Science and Engineering that brings together partners from the community, college and industry to support academic initiatives and scholarships for women students pursuing STEM degrees at CTI.

“The underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM is of national concern,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of CTI. “It isn’t enough any more to just raise awareness, we need to start implementing change that will move the needle. As a partner in the Million Women Mentors program we are part of a national movement that can inspire more young girls to pursue STEM degrees and careers, as well as mentor and sponsor them along the way.”

In the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs has been three times greater than that of non-STEM jobs. Today 80% of the fastest growing occupations in the United States depend on mastery of mathematics and knowledge and skills in hard sciences. While women comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce, just 24% are in STEM fields, a statistic that has held constant for nearly the last decade. While 75% of all college students are women and students of color, they represent only 45% of STEM degrees earned each year. Too many of these young women begin in STEM degree but leave those degree paths despite their good academic standing, often citing uncomfortable classroom experiences and disconcerting climate. Even when women earn a STEM degree, they are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM field even though STEM jobs pay more and have a lower wage gap: 92 cents on a dollar versus 75 cents in other fields.

Even more concerning is the underrepresentation of women in engineering, specifically. In 2013, women made up only 19% of the national engineering class, a mere one percentage point increase from 2009. This, along with the need to increase representation in other science, technology and math fields is what drives special academic initiatives like the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) club at CTI.

Million Women Mentors is a collective effort of more than 40 non-profit, media, education and government industry partners and nine corporate sponsors. Through efforts planned during National Mentoring Month, CTI will actively engage girls, mentoring and STEM. CTI will host a Badge Blast & Imagine Engineering Day for the Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus—Pine Council, Inc., from 9am-3pm on January 25. The fun-filled day of hands-on badge activities and engineering-focused projects will engage girls in grades two through 12 with the opportunities found in STEM degrees and careers.

To become involved with CTI or Million Women Mentors you can find more information by visiting: innovation.asu.edu and MillionWomenMentors.org.

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Inilex Ranks on Deloitte Technology Fast 500

Inilex, a leading provider of aftermarket telemetry solutions for vehicles, today was named to the prestigious Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ list, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Inilex’s placed No. 441 on the list.

This honor marks yet another major recognition for the company, which continues to experience tremendous growth and market success. Earlier this year, Inilex was named to the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies, and it placed for the second consecutive year on the Inc. 500|5000 list of the country’s high-growth companies. In addition, Inilex was an honoree of the Arizona Corporate Excellence (ACE) awards held by the Phoenix Business Journal.

“Inilex’s superior technology is the driving force behind our growth. Auto dealers, fleet managers and customers recognize that no other intelligent vehicle services provide real-time, nationwide technology coupled with excellent customer service,” said Inilex CEO Michael Maledon. “We’ve had notable success to date, and we anticipate even more growth as we expand our national network of dealerships, as well as our product lines, and continue to be a force in the telematics market.”

“The 2013 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 companies are exemplary cases of those spurring growth in a tough market through innovation,” said Eric Openshaw, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader.  “This year’s list is a who’s who of companies behind the most exciting and innovative products and services in the technology space. We congratulate the Fast 500 companies and look forward to what they do next.”

Inilex manufactures and sells SkyLINK – the nation’s leading aftermarket theft recovery solution system, which uses state-of-the-art technology to locate stolen vehicles in real time. Inilex also delivers InilexGPS and InilexGPS Fleet, which are customizable platforms for large enterprise accounts to manage vehicle fleets, mitigate risk and track inventories in real time, enabling companies to connect to their mobile assets and workforces.

online

Closing the digital divide for Arizona students

Arizona students are back in class and in addition to notebooks and lunch boxes, some parents are packing smartphones or tablets in their kid’s backpacks. Some school districts are even requesting that kids bring their own technology to school to enhance their learning.

A recent Pew Internet & American Life study found that more than 80 percent of teachers agree that today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts. When 76 percent of teachers assign online homework, teachers increasingly find themselves in the difficult position of either leaving behind students without Internet at home or holding back the other “connected students.”

What is truly troubling is that many kids throughout Arizona, even those with Internet-enabled smartphones and tablets, have no access to Internet in their homes. While the majority of Arizona homes have access to a broadband connection in their neighborhood, due to cost, some economically challenged families choose not to connect in their homes. Internet access and digital literacy are essential for today’s students to succeed and ensure that they have the tools to compete in our 21st century workforce.

Connect2Compete (C2C) was created by community leaders, the private sector and foundations to bridge the digital divide to ensure affordable access to the Internet for low-income families. As the largest Internet provider in Arizona, and a company that has a strong history of supporting broadband adoption through programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs technology centers, it was a natural for Cox Communications to be part of this effort to ensure that affordable Internet access is available to those students most at risk of falling through the digital divide.

While the main goal of C2C is to improve student engagement and increase graduation rates, it also benefits other members of the household. Just consider this – in the U.S. today, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies post their job openings online only and require online applications – the same is true at Cox Communications.

So how does it work? Families who have at least one child enrolled in the national free school lunch program are eligible for low-cost access to high-speed Internet through Connect2Compete. A consortium of hardware and software partners provide low-cost computers and digital literacy training, and Cox Communications provides a two-year commitment of Internet service for $9.95 a month, free installation and a free modem rental.

Cox Communications believes that all kids in Arizona deserve to have the same tools for learning and Connect2Compete is one important way we can do our part. For more information, visit connect2compete.org/cox/.

 

Susan Anable is the vice president of public affairs for Cox Communications Arizona and is the mother of two school-aged children.

online

Closing the digital divide for Arizona students

Arizona students are back in class and in addition to notebooks and lunch boxes, some parents are packing smartphones or tablets in their kid’s backpacks. Some school districts are even requesting that kids bring their own technology to school to enhance their learning.

A recent Pew Internet & American Life study found that more than 80 percent of teachers agree that today’s digital technologies are leading to greater disparities between affluent and disadvantaged schools and school districts. When 76 percent of teachers assign online homework, teachers increasingly find themselves in the difficult position of either leaving behind students without Internet at home or holding back the other “connected students.”

What is truly troubling is that many kids throughout Arizona, even those with Internet-enabled smartphones and tablets, have no access to Internet in their homes. While the majority of Arizona homes have access to a broadband connection in their neighborhood, due to cost, some economically challenged families choose not to connect in their homes. Internet access and digital literacy are essential for today’s students to succeed and ensure that they have the tools to compete in our 21st century workforce.

Connect2Compete (C2C) was created by community leaders, the private sector and foundations to bridge the digital divide to ensure affordable access to the Internet for low-income families. As the largest Internet provider in Arizona, and a company that has a strong history of supporting broadband adoption through programs such as the Boys and Girls Clubs technology centers, it was a natural for Cox Communications to be part of this effort to ensure that affordable Internet access is available to those students most at risk of falling through the digital divide.

While the main goal of C2C is to improve student engagement and increase graduation rates, it also benefits other members of the household. Just consider this – in the U.S. today, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies post their job openings online only and require online applications – the same is true at Cox Communications.

So how does it work? Families who have at least one child enrolled in the national free school lunch program are eligible for low-cost access to high-speed Internet through Connect2Compete. A consortium of hardware and software partners provide low-cost computers and digital literacy training, and Cox Communications provides a two-year commitment of Internet service for $9.95 a month, free installation and a free modem rental.

Cox Communications believes that all kids in Arizona deserve to have the same tools for learning and Connect2Compete is one important way we can do our part. For more information, visit connect2compete.org/cox/.

 

Susan Anable is the vice president of public affairs for Cox Communications Arizona and is the mother of two school-aged children.

AZRE Digital Issue

AZRE Magazine September/October 2013

AZRE Magazine September/October 2013

‘When one door closes, another opens …’

AmandaVentura_web

There are many famous quotes and accomplishments that can be attributed to Alexander Graham Bell. One of his more famous lines reads: “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” In the commercial real estate industry, there were a lot of doors that were closed during the Great Recession. But thanks to the dogged determination, resiliency and leadership of Arizona’s commercial real estate companies — both big and small — the doors are once again opening and the industry is poised to capitalize on those opportunities. In this issue of AZRE, we look into:

  • Office and industrial: A panel of five experts size up two sectors that are gaining momentum once again. Also, a new and improved “Big Deals.”
  • Multi-family: This sector continues to sizzle. Check out our annual special section with the Arizona Multihousing Association.
  • Urban Land Institute: Arizona’s statewide convener for dialogue among industry leaders — true visionaries.
  • Coreslab Structures: Celebrating 25 years of excellence in Arizona.
  • Law: Social media becoming a new and necessary tool.

Finally, I’m sad to say that this is the last issue of AZRE to which former editor Peter Madrid will contribute. Peter helped build AZRE into the definitive publication for Arizona’s commercial real estate industry. So while we appreciate Peter’s contributions, we are happy that Amanda Ventura (pictured above) is taking the baton and bringing her award-winning journalism skills to AZRE. Amanda’s expertise, energy and commitment to excellence will make AZRE an even more authoritative voice for the industry.

When one door closes, another opens.

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Amanda Ventura, Editor

Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.

KEYSER-Final1

Chris Camacho Joins Keyser

Keyser — a commercial real estate advisory firm providing global real estate services to tenants and users of office, industrial, healthcare and educational space — announced today that Chris Camacho will be joining Keyser in a strategic leadership capacity to help grow and scale the organization.

“I am extremely pleased to be able to officially welcome Chris to the team,” stated founder Jonathan Keyser. “Chris is one of the most talented, knowledgeable, and service oriented individuals that I know, and his experience over the last 10 years working with CEOs, municipal leaders, and site selectors provide him with a skillset and perspective that is hard to find in our industry. In addition, his deep expertise in designing complex real estate and incentive solutions for both domestic and international corporations will be a huge value-add to Keyser’s clients going forward.”

Chris has more than 10 years of executive management experience in economic development, site selection, and cost optimization, tax analysis and state and local incentive strategies. He has served as an advisor in the real estate due diligence process for many Fortune 500 companies as well as emerging start-ups across the country. Prior to joining Keyser, Chris served as the Executive Vice President for Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and oversaw the domestic and international business development strategies. He brings extensive experience in auditing and advising a wide diversity of industries including renewable energy, hardware and software, aerospace, industrial manufacturing, logistics and corporate back office. Chris has directly assisted more than 130 companies in their expansions or relocations to Greater Phoenix. Prior to GPEC, Chris served as the President/CEO of GYEDC, which focused on attracting new investment to a bi-national region in southwestern Arizona and Northern Mexico.

ConcertforaCauseLogoCropped

Cushman & Wakefield Future Leaders ‘Concert for a Cause’ to benefit Ryan House

Logo_2013Cushman & Wakefield Future Leaders “Concert for a Cause” benefiting Ryan House is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 at The Western, 6830 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale.

The four-hour event will feature performances by Javier Garcia and Desert Dixie. During the show concertgoers will be able to enjoy the entertainment and also contribute much-needed funding that will help provide care, comfort and community to Arizona children and families at Ryan House. There will also be a raffle with items ranging from restaurant gift cards to hotel stays. Last year’s inaugural event raised almost $30,000.

All the proceeds from the concertwill benefit the mission of the Ryan House, which is to provide respite and palliative care to children with life-threatening conditions and, as-needed, end-of-life care. From diagnosis through end-of-life and beyond, Ryan House provides Arizona families a comprehensive program of family-centered care including medical, emotional, social and spiritual support services and therapies to enhance quality of life.

Ryan House is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible. Ryan House is supported 100 percent by charitable contributions.

For more information or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Bonnie Machen at bonnie.machen@cushwake.com or Matt Coxhead at matt.coxhead@cushwake.com.

Construction Employment - Welder

74% of construction firms have trouble finding qualified workers

Nearly three-fourths of construction firms across the country report they are having trouble finding qualified craft workers to fill key spots amid concerns that labor shortages will only get worse, according to the results of an industry-wide survey released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials called for immigration and education reform measures to help avoid worker shortages.

“Many construction firms are already having a hard time finding qualified workers and expect construction labor shortages will only get worse,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “We need to take short- and long-term steps to make sure there are enough workers to meet future demand and avoid the costly construction delays that would come with labor shortages.”

Of the 74 percent of responding firms that are having a hard time finding qualified craft workers, the most frequently reported difficulties are in filling such onsite construction jobs as carpenters, equipment operators and laborers, Sandherr said. Fifty-three percent are having a hard time filling professional positions – especially project supervisors, estimators and engineers.

The association official added that most firms expect labor shortages will continue and get worse for the next year. Eighty-six percent of respondents said they expect it will remain difficult or get harder to find qualified craft workers while 72 percent say the market for professional positions will remain hard or get worse. Seventy-four percent of respondents report there are not enough qualified craft workers available to meet future demand while 49 percent said there weren’t enough construction professionals available, he added.

Sandherr said that many firms report they are taking steps to prepare future construction workers. He noted that 48 percent of responding firms are mentoring future craft workers, 38 percent are participating in career fairs and 33 percent are supporting high school-level construction skills academies. In addition, 47 percent of responding firms are offering internships for construction professionals.

Sandherr cautioned that more needs to be done to address labor shortages. He said Congress needs to jettison arbitrary caps on construction workers that were included in immigration reform the Senate passed earlier this year. “Lifting those restrictions will go a long way to ensuring construction jobs left vacant by domestic labor shortages go to workers who are in the country legally.”

He urged elected and appointed officials to do more to ensure public school students have an opportunity to participate in programs that teach skills like construction. He added that skills-based programs offer students a more hands-on way to learn vital 21st century skills such as math and science. Such programs also have been proven to reduce dropout rates and give students an opportunity to earn the higher pay and benefits that come with construction jobs.

beer

Phoenix firm helps bars tap into profits

A Phoenix business’s device keeps the spirits from overflowing in bar profits.

Aaron Post and his team at Bar Vision produce innovative bar technology. Devices track pouring measurements to prevent bartenders from over pouring. Bar Vision designs products that improve “pour profits” rather than detect “pour loss.”
“Every industry in the world tracks its most important asset, yet the bar industry is one of the last industries to track its most important asset,” explaining the company’s overall concept is to teach bars how to understand numbers to keep bars profitable.

All company products are made in the Phoenix area. One of their most successful products is the pouring spout, which is custom made for each bar depending on the brands of alcohol is served. Every spout is custom designed to fit the bottle.

The company also designed a time tilt device to measure beer. Post said beer is the biggest seller but it’s also more subjected to theft. However, the device doesn’t measure how much is being poured, but it measures what is being poured. According to Post, measuring the amount of alcohol used will help bar owners save money.

The system is used to notify owners of certain trends occurring in the bar scene. They can determine employee work ethic and gender ratio at certain times of the night. For instance, Post said the system records what time certain alcoholic beverages are in demand based on guy-to-girl ratio. This information helps owners keep track of their employees and profits.

The system keeps track of the time of pours. Since there is a lot of theft in the bar industry, the company constructed a system for owners to monitor when theft has occurred.

Todd Manger, bar manager at Tilted Kit in Peoria, said the system is very beneficial for managers to keep track of numbers, noting, “The system is an efficient way to continuously watch counts and provides us physical evidence.”

Bartender Jackie Kopp also commented on the product’s efficiency, saying, “It gives bartenders a sense of how much alcohol is being used, making it easier to count and prevent over pouring. “Overall you get a better visual of numbers,” says Kopp.

Since 2007, Bar Vision has grown from a local business to an international manufacture. Products are sold in Greece, the Middle East and China.

In 2012, Bar Vision was featured in Spike T.V.’s Bar Rescue. The reality show featured bars in the U.S. seeking guidance in order to save their business. Post said he hopes to see more interest in Phoenix area and to grow more as a company.

p

Trade Shows Expert Shares 3 Cutting-Edge New Technologies

Most of us think about technology on a mostly two-dimensional plane as we flick our way from screen to screen on touch glass. But today’s tech includes applications that are far from flat, says major-events expert Ann Windham.

“What if you could control all primary aspects of major events like trade shows, big weddings and awards ceremonies through your iPad or smartphone; imagine shutting everything down at the end of a long and exhausting night by pushing one button on your phone – that’s just some of what’s possible with today’s software,” says Ann Windham, president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc. (imaginexhibits.com/events).

Lights, climate control, projectors and monitors, curtains, fountains and much more can be controlled with an app, and the data that you take away from trade shows can be used to quickly follow up on sales leads, says Windham, who will be showcasing this cutting-edge technology July 9 at Trade Show Technology Summit 2013, to be held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

The summit will show attendees how to manage technology such as QR codes, mobile apps, virtual trade shows, social media, on-line asset management, interactive media and live stream video on electronic devices as simple as a mobile phone, she says.

“We’ll show planners the newest event management tools for efficiency and streamlining tasks before, during and after their event. We’ll also have hands-on, educational workshops to show them how to use management,” she says.

Windham shares three of her favorite new technologies:

• Pre-show – Event Management Software: This one-stop source for managing every detail about your event – from Fed Ex tracking numbers to vendor contact information to photos from the show – even allows you to manage multiple events from any location. “In the past, we carried all the details for each show in one huge binder. If you were at a show in Texas and someone called with a question about the show in Oregon, you wouldn’t have that information handy,” Windham says. Event management software relies on cloud storage, so members of your team can access it from their smart phone or iPad no matter where they are. Another benefit: You’ve got just one place to input all that data.

• During the show – Remote Sensors: Sensors built into the walls of an exhibit allow you to control all of the electronics from your smart phone or iPad. Not only does it save time, it’s an easy way to add valuable theatrics during a demonstration. “Say you’re standing at the back of the room and you realize the speaker can’t be heard, you just turn up the volume on his mic, right from your your iPad,” Windham says. “Or, if you want to create special effects using lighting and room temperature, you can dim the lighting and drop the temperature.” Her favorite feature? At the end of a long day, rather than walking from one device to the next, shutting off each, you press just one button and turn everything off while walking out the door.

• Post-show – Sales Leads Follow-up: Seventy percent of percent of exhibitors who capture sales leads at trade shows don’t collect qualifying information, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).Scanners collect only the most basic data from visitors to each booth – there’s no way of knowing whether they were a “hot” lead ready to buy, or someone who stopped by for the free T-shirt, Windham says. Now, however, event management software allows exhibitors to include qualifying information every time a visitor’s badge is scanned. “At the end of the event, you can quickly see who your hottest leads were and send them an email or postcard before you’ve even left the event,” Windham says.

For planners who’ve been hamstrung by personnel cutbacks in recent years, these new tools are lifesavers, she says.

“The days of ‘The Jetsons’ has arrived.”

87665813

Study: Most Agree 'Glass Ceiling' Exists

According to a survey conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans believe women in the workforce today face a barrier to career advancement with one in five (22 percent) citing the financial industry as the hardest glass ceiling for women to break through.  The firm has been working to increase the percentage of female financial advisors in its branch offices and erase that perception.

“The lack of women in leadership positions, particularly on Wall Street, has been well documented in the news media, but at Edward Jones, a female financial advisor enjoys the same opportunity as her male counterparts,” said Elizabeth Schehl, Director of Financial Advisor Diversity and Female Performance at Edward Jones. “There is no glass ceiling and the benefits of running your own branch office makes the Edward Jones model particularly attractive to women.”

The survey of 1,010 Americans underscored that women represent an attractive applicant pool with 67 percent of respondents – men and women alike – citing that women are the more ambitious of the two sexes when it comes to acquiring leadership positions in the workplace.  When asked the top factor impeding these ambitious women from advancing, a male-dominated environment was cited by 83 percent of respondents. Other factors contributing to the glass ceiling include:

* The juggle of family and corporate responsibilities (73 percent)
* Inadequate policies for women in the workplace, such as stringent maternity leave policies (62 percent)
* Lack of adequate mentoring or a defined career path in reaching the executive board level (56 percent)

When asked which part of a career is most important to them beyond compensation, nearly half (49 percent) of women cited an entrepreneurial work environment. “One of the main things that attracted me to Edward Jones when I first began as a financial advisor was the entrepreneurial environment where I was given the freedom to thrive as if I was my own boss.  I quickly learned that the only barriers I had were those that I put in place for myself,” Schehl added.

Edward Jones’ unique branch office system provides financial advisors with the autonomy to run their own business with the infrastructure and support of a resource-rich organization.  Currently, Edward Jones has more than 12,500 entrepreneurs operating branches across the country.

Among its programs promoting diversity, Edward Jones’ Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies (WINGS), is a network of female advisors that volunteers their time to recruit, mentor and support other female advisors. Since WINGS was introduced five years ago, the firm has seen a steady uptick in women joining the company, who now make up one-quarter of all financial advisor recruits.

Along with financial services (67 percent), additional industries that are perceived as being more challenging for women to succeed in include professional services (69 percent) and technology (64 percent).  Media and publishing was less restrictive to women at 41 percent, and healthcare (23 percent) and education (14 percent) were perceived as the least challenging.  Survey results also showed that older respondents were more likely to agree that a glass ceiling exists than younger respondents indicating a positive change in perception among younger generations. Of respondents between the ages of 55-64, 71 percent cited that a glass ceiling exists as well as 70 percent of respondents over 65, compared to 60 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34.

87665813

Study: Most Agree ‘Glass Ceiling’ Exists

According to a survey conducted by financial services firm Edward Jones, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans believe women in the workforce today face a barrier to career advancement with one in five (22 percent) citing the financial industry as the hardest glass ceiling for women to break through.  The firm has been working to increase the percentage of female financial advisors in its branch offices and erase that perception.

“The lack of women in leadership positions, particularly on Wall Street, has been well documented in the news media, but at Edward Jones, a female financial advisor enjoys the same opportunity as her male counterparts,” said Elizabeth Schehl, Director of Financial Advisor Diversity and Female Performance at Edward Jones. “There is no glass ceiling and the benefits of running your own branch office makes the Edward Jones model particularly attractive to women.”

The survey of 1,010 Americans underscored that women represent an attractive applicant pool with 67 percent of respondents – men and women alike – citing that women are the more ambitious of the two sexes when it comes to acquiring leadership positions in the workplace.  When asked the top factor impeding these ambitious women from advancing, a male-dominated environment was cited by 83 percent of respondents. Other factors contributing to the glass ceiling include:

* The juggle of family and corporate responsibilities (73 percent)
* Inadequate policies for women in the workplace, such as stringent maternity leave policies (62 percent)
* Lack of adequate mentoring or a defined career path in reaching the executive board level (56 percent)

When asked which part of a career is most important to them beyond compensation, nearly half (49 percent) of women cited an entrepreneurial work environment. “One of the main things that attracted me to Edward Jones when I first began as a financial advisor was the entrepreneurial environment where I was given the freedom to thrive as if I was my own boss.  I quickly learned that the only barriers I had were those that I put in place for myself,” Schehl added.

Edward Jones’ unique branch office system provides financial advisors with the autonomy to run their own business with the infrastructure and support of a resource-rich organization.  Currently, Edward Jones has more than 12,500 entrepreneurs operating branches across the country.

Among its programs promoting diversity, Edward Jones’ Women’s Initiative for New Growth Strategies (WINGS), is a network of female advisors that volunteers their time to recruit, mentor and support other female advisors. Since WINGS was introduced five years ago, the firm has seen a steady uptick in women joining the company, who now make up one-quarter of all financial advisor recruits.

Along with financial services (67 percent), additional industries that are perceived as being more challenging for women to succeed in include professional services (69 percent) and technology (64 percent).  Media and publishing was less restrictive to women at 41 percent, and healthcare (23 percent) and education (14 percent) were perceived as the least challenging.  Survey results also showed that older respondents were more likely to agree that a glass ceiling exists than younger respondents indicating a positive change in perception among younger generations. Of respondents between the ages of 55-64, 71 percent cited that a glass ceiling exists as well as 70 percent of respondents over 65, compared to 60 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34.

Heliae Algae

Valley algae company develops beauty products

Heliae, a Gilbert-based algae technology company, and The Clarecastle Group announced today that they have entered into a strategic partnership to bring novel algae-based products to the health and beauty industry. The partnership pairs a leader in algae science and production technology with a seasoned consortium of personal care and beauty industry executives with a track record of bringing innovative products to market.

Heliae’s technology platform, Volaris™, offers the next generation of product innovation and customization to the health and beauty industry. Combined with a world-class algae science team and a robust library of species, Heliae is forging a path to a novel category of sustainable marine ingredients for cosmetics and personal care.

“There are over one hundred thousand strains of algae on the planet, each with a different product profile,” said Heliae President and CEO, Dan Simon. “Until now, the industry has barely scratched the surface with algae as a feedstock. Linking Heliae’s technology with the industry experience of Clarecastle is an opportunity to bring algae to the forefront of the cosmetics world.”

“We’ve watched algae with interest, but Heliae is offering a true differentiator,” said Robert Phillips, managing director of The Clarecastle Group. “The concept of a sustainable marine ingredient that is natural, customized, and grounded in sound science is one which will endure. We are eager to work with Heliae – there is no better technology partner to enable this novel ingredient category.”

A firm comprised of former cosmetic and personal care industry executives, The Clarecastle Group boasts a century of collective relevant expertise in designing, formulating, branding and launching novel cosmetic and personal care products.

“We are thrilled to have Clarecastle as a strategic partner,” said Paula Simpson, nutricosmetics expert and health & beauty advisor to Heliae. “Heliae has the science and product development ability, but Clarecastle brings a market understanding which will help connect passionate demand with the next generation of sustainable ingredients. This is a powerful partnership for the industry.”

118315706

Stanton pitches Phoenix to Silicon Valley businesses

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton wants businesses in Silicon Valley to relocate to Arizona.

Stanton traveled to California this week to sell Phoenix as a prime location for technology and manufacturing jobs.

Stanton says Phoenix needs to proactively attract employers.

Stanton’s office would not say what companies he is approaching in California because the meetings are confidential.

Stanton has traveled to Silicon Valley in the past to persuade companies there to relocate or open new branches in Phoenix.

He also has made several recent trips to Mexico to promote international trade.

Stanton was elected mayor in 2011.

technology

GPEC puts together a science and technology strategy

Even when the state was known for copper, cattle and citrus, Arizona has relied on being an innovator to drive its economy.

“Arizona’s economic position has historically been defined by science and technology,” says Steven M. Shope, president of Mesa-based Sandia Research Corporation, “especially if you look back to the 1940s and 1950s, when the state put a wealth of resources into attracting new technologies.”

Those efforts, Shope says, paid off and made Arizona a leader in the electronics, semiconductor, aerospace and defense industries.

“Now, we need more science and technology to transform Arizona into a knowledge economy and lift our productivity and export growth from below national average,” Shope says.

To help make that happen, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) has directed its Innovation Council — which is co chaired by Shope and Todd Hardy, associate vice president of economic affairs for Arizona State University — to study the community’s high-potential assets, look for commercialization opportunities and put together and science and technology strategy that will help drive a knowledge-based economy in Arizona. The backbone of that strategy will be building on the state’s existing strengths.

According to Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president at ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, those strengths include the state’s world-class research universities, research centers and institutes, a large highly trained workforce, a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem, a concerted effort on improving business climate in the cities and the state, plans for rapid growth by existing science and technology businesses, and an enhanced quality of life.

“Our best strengths come from the companies already here — established businesses like Intel, Avnet, Boeing and Honeywell,” Shope says. “Arizona also has lower workforce costs and good transportation connectivity to other markets, both of which are attractive for science- or technology-based businesses.”

So how does Arizona tranlate those assets into further expansion and enhancement of the science and technology sectors?

“We’re already world leaders in solar research and development and manufacturing and there is still strong potential for innovation within our aerospace and electronics industries, as well as in healthcare and personalized medicine,” Shope says. “However, we need to fill in the gaps with regards to access to capital, markets and talent in order to realize that potential. GPEC’s Innovation Council is working to develop a strategy that leverages these resources, harnesses new ones and further diversifies our economy into these areas.”

Panchanathan says the key to creating a successful strategy will be, “Convergence of purpose between the various economic development entities in Arizona, securing investments that can be deployed to attract new businesses to Arizona, and creating incentives for attracting local and global businesses to Arizona.”

Already driving Arizona’s electronics sector is Intel, with its recent $5 billion expansion, and companies like Boeing and Honeywell are fueling the aerospace sector. Those three companies are driving innovation within our communities and their local supply chains, Shope points out.

Top develop its science and technology strategy, Shope says says GPEC’s Innovation Council is conducting a deep market analysis to identify long-term opportunities in science and technology, and learning how to target growth from initiatives in other regions. GPEC is building the business case among private leaders to establish focus and build resources around a few select initiatives.

“A well thought-out strategy should include building up each community’s unique assets and driving growth into new markets by establishing centers of excellence around emerging products and technologies,” Shope says. “Increasing funding to the universities for R&D is also critical, as is developing funding and resources for entrepreneurs. Educating the entrepreneur is also an important goal. In particular, R&D funding from federal sources, such as (Small Business Innovation Research) SBIR and (Small Business Technology Transfer Program) STTR, is an ideal mechanism for launching new technologies. However, this funding is becoming increasingly competitive. We need to be sure that Arizona small businesses can be highly competitive in these funding programs.”

87690275

Technology expands meeting and conference industry

We don’t catch up over coffee anymore, we catch up on Facebook.

Technology has changed the way we date, invite people to parties, and even watch TV. It’s only natural that technology will change the face of business meetings and conferences.

“As a chapter and in addition to our website, we utilize social media outlets — Facebook and LinkedIn — to promote our meetings and events and to share information industry-wide,” says Donna Masiulewicz. president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International. “We also use these means to educate those outside the industry about the power of meetings.”

Mara Weber, global marketing and communications director for Honeywell Process Solutions in Phoenix, has taken the use of technology a step far beyond Facebook.

“We held a global sales and service kickoff meeting on a virtual platform, with live broadcasts of a general session in two time zones,” Weber says. “The objective was to align our global team on growth initiatives, portfolio offerings, key messages and how to sell the value to our customers.”

While Weber says virtual meetings — which experts expect to triple in the next five years — give companies the ability to create a global footprint and bring content to an audience when and where it’s convenient for them, there are logistical challenges that need to be overcome.

“To be honest, the time and energy required and cost is far more than people realize,” she says. “You need to start with a very specific plan of attack, keeping goals and results in mind and making sure you are creating the right content in the right format. Video format, platform format, firewalls, testing in varied browsers and software versions, ability to convert files and stay flexible at all times is just the start. You also need to think past the technical to the end-user experience and also branding to create a visual environment and help messages that guide attendees or they quickly get frustrated and jump off. It’s not like being lost at a trade show and being able to view a map and ask people for directions. The audience is largely on their own and you have to think about their experience every step of the way, how they behave, how you want them to behave, download, ask, engage.”

Weber believe the best use of virtual meetings are as a component of a live, face-to-face event, extending the value of the content through the web to attendees who cannot travel or have abbreviated schedules.

“We chose to do a fully virtual kickoff meeting because we have over 3,500 sales and service team members in more than 100 countries,” she says. “The cost and logistics of face to face meeting is not reasonable.”

Weber says Honeywell has piloted virtual meeting a couple of times with customers when they can focus on a specific, targeted topic. And even in the high-tech world that Honeywell does business in, change isn’t embraced easily.

“Our customer base does not seem to be accepting,” Weber says. “By nature, they are engineers and like live demonstrations, talking face to face with experts and networking.”

TECHNOLOGY IMPACTS THE MEETING INDUSTRY

Here are five way ways experts say the use virtual technology is changing the face of the convention, conference, meeting, event, and trades how industries: ways he says you can use virtual technology to enhance your meetings.

WEB CONFERENCING: Connects meeting attendees and speakers in different locations by using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol), which allows real-time streaming of audio and video. More hotels and business centers are also adding high-definition virtual conference rooms that can be used to host hybrid sessions.

ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS: Open source your meetings and events by allowing virtual participants to share documents, Web pages, whiteboards, slide decks, audio, and video … all in real-time. Some Web conferencing systems allow you to record your events, thereby creating a collective knowledge base. These tools can be used for small meetings or for larger groups of thousands.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Often called the “backchannel,” social media represent the virtual conversations taking place in the background before, during, and often long after your live meeting or event. Take the time to set up and promote social media activity through things like assigning a specific Twitter hashtag for your event, creating event-specific Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and setting up Foursquare check-in locations.

REMOTE PRESENTERS: Use a streaming video feed of a speaker who is in a different physical location. This can be done as a realistic 3-D hologram, or a live feed of your guest speaker. Remote presenter options can be a great way to attract high-profile speakers who may not have the time to travel to a physical event.

LIVE WEBCASTS: Broadcast your keynotes, general sessions and breakouts by streaming your live audio and visual presentations via the Internet in real-time.

boeing-phantom-ray

It takes fuel to win tech race

Many of us can relate to thinking of Arizona’s economy as an automobile race. To win, you need a smooth race course, a fast car, a winning driver and high-powered fuel.
Carrying that analogy into Arizona’s technology sector, it’s clear that a lot of resources have been invested and progress has been made in building a world-class race course.  We’ve made tremendous strides in creating a business climate and technology environment for facilitating both private and public sector support to address the needs of Arizona’s technology businesses.

The Arizona Technology Council has worked collaboratively with many different technology champions to build this course. Technology issues are supported by the Governor’s office, the state’s legislature, the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and more.

Technology incubators and shared space facilities such as Gangplank in Chandler, Avondale and Tucson; Hackspace and Venture Catalyst at ASU’s SkySong in Scottsdale; BioInspire in Peoria; Innovation Incubator in Chandler; AzCI in Tucson; and AZ Disruptors in Scottsdale are making sure that today’s innovators are being given the right support, tools and environment to create the next big thing.

Collectively, our wins have included the passage of a tax credit for qualified research and development that is the best in the nation, the creation of the first statewide Arizona SciTech Festival and the birth of the Arizona Innovation Institute, to name a few.
Arizona’s technology industry also has great race cars. These are the technologies and intellectual property that create wealth and jobs driven by both Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurs.  Companies such as Intel, Microchip Technologies, Freescale, ON Semiconductor and Avnet can all be found here.  Nearly all of the largest aerospace and defense prime contractors in the nation are located in Arizona, including Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.

The state’s entrepreneurial spirit is reflected in companies such as WebPT, Infusionsoft, Axosoft, iLinc and Go Daddy that were founded in Arizona along with the many innovators that are coming to the table every day with new ideas rich in technology.

These companies large and small are driven by some of the greatest race car drivers the nation has produced.

But when it comes to fuel, Arizona’s economy has always been running close to empty. We lack the vital capital needed to win the race. Having access to angel investors, venture capital and private equity as well as debt instruments is critical to Arizona’s success.
The situation has not been improving on the equity side of the fuel equation. To offer some relief, the Arizona Technology Council is proposing legislation that would create a system of contingent tax credits to incentivize both in-state and out-of-state investors to capitalize Arizona companies.  This program, called the Arizona Fund of Funds, would allow the state to offer $100 million in tax incentives to minimize the risk for those seeking to invest in high-growth companies.  The state government’s role would be to serve as a guarantor through these contingent tax credits in case the investments don’t yield the projected results.  Expect more information on this important piece of legislation as it advances.

On the debt side of the fuel equation, there are encouraging signs that the worst of the credit crunch may be over. Early-stage companies need access to debt instruments, or loans. Capital is needed for equipment and expansion. A line of credit can help early-stage companies through ongoing cash-flow issues. But loan activity is still modest in Arizona for small companies. It remains heavily weighted toward the strongest corporate and consumer borrowers.

Capital goes hand in hand with innovation, high-paying jobs and cutting-edge technology, products and services. Before Arizona’s economy can win the race, we will need to become more self-sufficient at providing the fuel necessary to be a winner.

Steven G. Zylstra is president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council.