Friday, February 27, 2009

An Information and Data Integrity Cluster?

I was given the chance to present to the City of Tacoma's Economic Development Committee this week and I was happy to do so. Others presenting included Janine Terrano of Topia Technologies and Gary Penley of Sagem Morpho. The topic was the Information Technology and Software sectors in the South Puget Sound and the discussion was centered on our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in those sectors. Also included were comments on short and long term opportunities and a request for suggestions on ways that the city could support the economic climate and growth opportunities for companies here and wanting to move or establish themselves here.

Both Janine and Gary made great comments and suggestions, and all agreed that one of the strengths of our South Sound region is that it truly has become a place where people would want to come to live and work.

I would like to mention two things that came up in the conversation here, and perhaps address others later.

At lot of folks in the South Sound and the state have not heard of many of the companies that do business here. There are plenty, but no one has accused us of having a critical mass that points to a thriving technology community. One of the reasons is that many if not most of these companies do not produce consumer products or solutions, and many do not engage in any business to business sales. What that means is that there is very little advertising or media generated that the general population would run across.

Take the two fine individuals who were with me during that meeting. Sagem Morpho is the an industry leader in multi biometric identification systems not just here in the US but worldwide. Topia Technologies has provided solutions not just to the FAA but to the Department of Homeland Security and to Army Intelligence and security.

Prepared Response provides first responder software and solutions.

NewTech does validation and testing on software and systems for the Armed forces.

Vadium Technology provides secure encryption solutions.

Are you seeing a pattern?

Internet Identity provides anti-phishing solutions to the enterprise.

Avue Technology works on enterprise human resource management solutions for the federal government.

OK, I'll stop.

The Grey Hat group at the Institute of Technology is one of the most active student groups with several years of competition in national cyber security and national defense exercises.

There are two campuses here that are designated Centers of Excellence in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity.

OK, OK, that is it I promise.

So what does that mean? We have an identifiable cluster here. But if no one knows about it, then how do we draw others from the industry here? The companies mentioned do their business and sales with the federal government, state and municipal organizations and departments.

They could probably benefit from pooled resources, marketing to the cluster from a regional standpoint and attracting the kind of workforce they need. We are certainly graduating students applicable to the field, but they need seasoned folks as well.

They also could use some more networking opportunities.

Soon I will be posting about four networking events that will be promoted and provided throughout the next twelve months. One is likely familiar to many in Tacoma, but perhaps not familiar enough. It is the South Sound Technology Conference and it will be held either mid November or the first week of December.

The second will likely be an attempt to pull off a Startup Weekend here in South Puget Sound. The third will center around technology and energy systems/solutions.

The fourth, and not necessarily in that order, will be a South Puget Sound Tech Summit that will call these companies and others together to try and find ways in which we can leverage the commonalities that drive development, sales and workforce availability for what could be identified as an Information and Data Integrity Cluster.

comments and questions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Andrew: Nice job on accurately capturing the thoughts shared with the E.D. Council members of Tacoma. Listening to the "Voice of the Customer" always helps improve ones understanding of potentially undiscovered opportunity and may identify some "pain" that if acted upon improves productivity (root cause of all income)and enables sustainability. We in Tacoma appreciate your continued leadership and that of the Institute at UWT as we seek to improve our community together

Hopefully you have seen the press release from the EDB about Infoblox renewing its lease in Tacoma for another six years. Growing from sixty...