Thursday, April 30, 2009

Executives Turn Out To Learn ROI of Social Media?

Over 150 executives turned out for MassTLC's Social Media Summit at Microsoft's New England Research & Development (NERD) center in Cambridge.

Danah Boyd, Researcher, Microsoft Research New England, and Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School, explored the next stage of evolution as more mainstream companies adopt social media tools and tactics in an introductory keynote address.

A panel and breakout sessions with Leslie Forde, Vice President Of Strategy & Partnerships, Communispace; Chuck Hollis, VP, Global Marketing CTO, EMC; Fred Cremo, Strategic Development, Humana; Katrina Lowes, VP of Marketing Services, Market Bridge; and David Vellante, Co-Founder, Wikibon Project covered actual case studies and the metrics that early adopters have found most useful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Robo Cluster Leaders Present at NEU EntreTech Forum

Last night I moderated a panel at Northeastern's EntreTech Forum. The session, organized by Val Livada of Weybridge Partners, was billed as follows: "Robotics: Entrepreneurs and academics discuss the future breakpoints between artificial intelligence and human intelligence."

The panel included Bob Quinn, VP, QinetiQ/Foster Miller, Charles Remsberg, CEO, Hocoma, Barry Trimmer, Professor, Tufts University & Director, Tufts Biomimetic Devices Laboratory, and Dan Weinreb, Investor, Common Angels.

I gave an overview of the MassTLC Robotics Cluster's recent research report on the local robotics ecosystem and the panel discussed issues relating to academic research, technology commercialization, barriers, and other good stuff.

For those who asked, here is a copy of my slides - coming soon. I used a similar deck at the NEVCA and NIST meetings.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Personal Data Security Regulations Discussed at Member-Only Roundtable in MassTLC's SAAS Cluster

Gene Landy, partner at Ruberto, Israel & Weiner, lead a member-only roundtable discussion for about two dozen executives on the new MA regulations on Personal Data Security.  He reviewed the scope of the new regulations (201 CMR 17.00) including program requirements and the affects of the law on SaaS companies.  

Following the roundtable discussion, the group continued planning for the upcoming SaaS forum, Competing in a SaaS World – Overcoming the Challenges to Deliver Successful Sales and Marketing Results,  scheduled for May 21st.  

Program abstract: SaaS solutions can lower total cost of ownership and reduce business risks that result in dramatic shortening of the time to ROI for the companies who adopt them. In order to compete in this new business model, SaaS providers and traditional software companies must re-think conventional sales and marketing strategies.  Learn from a panel of experts who have handled some of these specific challenges.

The event is sponsored by IBM; Ruberto, Israel & Weiner; Silverpop: Engage B2B; and See current program details and registered attendees.  

Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama's "Secure Blackberry" to demo at Tech Tuesday

Close to 200 people are expected to turn out for next week's Tech Tuesday at Microsoft's New England Research & Development (NERD) center in Cambridge.

General Dynamics C4 Systems will be on hand at the event to demo the NSA approved Sectera Edge smartphone, better known at "Obama's Blackberry." The Sectera Edge converges secure wireless voice and data by combining the functionality of a wireless phone and PDA - all in one easy-to-use handheld device. Developed for the National Security Agency's Secure Mobile Environment Portable Electronic Device (SME PED) program, the Sectera Edge is certified to protect wireless voice communications classified Top Secret and below as well as access e-mail and websites classified Secret and below. The Sectera Edge is the only SME PED that switches between an integrated classified and unclassified PDA with a single key press.

This event is free. View event registration and attendee list.

Friday, April 17, 2009

MTC's Pat Larkin Briefs Council Leaders on new IT Collaborative

After a January meeting with academic, business and community leaders to discuss positioning the Commonwealth’s vibrant information technology (IT) industry, Governor Deval Patrick announced a study to examine the IT industry and called for an industry collaborative to support IT sector growth.

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's John Adams Innovation Institute was tapped to support and advise in the formation of the IT Collaborative. Patrick Larkin, Director of the MTC's John Adams Innovation Institute, briefed local leaders on the initiative, which is focused on spurring technology-based economic development across the Commonwealth.

According to Larkin, the strategic purpose of the IT Collaborative is to “organize the voice of the IT industry through the creation of a sustainable, cross-cluster dialogue of stakeholders in business, government, and academia.”

At least initially, priority areas of focus for the collaborative will be:
- Communications;
- Entrepreneurship, Commercialization and Capital;
- Talent and Workforce Development;
- Industry Analysis and Definition;
- Business Infrastructure and Ecosystem;
- Research Partnerships;
- ARRA/Stimulus;
- Special Initiatives –e.g. June Convocation

View the PPT presentation: Tightening Connections in the Commonwealth' IT Sector: The Massachusetts IT Collaborative

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Healthcare-IT Leaders Explore Technologies behind the Patient-Centered Revolution at MassTLC Summit

On April 16th, healthcare technology leaders came together for a summit discussing the role of technology in enabling the patient-centered revolution -- from electronic health records and remote patient monitoring, to new cutting edge technologies that are just coming into play. The program kicked off with a keynote address by Susan Edgman Levitan, Executive Director, The John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The program was then moderated by Douglas McClure, Corporate Manager for Technology and Operations, Center for Connected Health, Partners HealthCare. Representing technologies for Healthcare Delivery were: Dr. Susan Abookire, Chair of the Department of Quality and Patient Safety, Mount Auburn Hospital; Dr. Rick Mindess, President & CEO, Wellport; Dr. Hilary Worthen, Senior Director of Clinical Informatics, Cambridge Health Alliance; and Susan Edgman Levitan, Executive Director, the John D. Stoeckle Center. Representing technology for Health Plan Members and Providers was Cheryl Dipaolo, Senior Clinical Consultant for Network Medical Management, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Representing technology for Healthier Employees was Clay Newlin, Director of Human Resources, New England Research & Development, Microsoft. And, representing technology for Better Decisions - Providers, Payers, Patients was Russ Ricci, MD, Chairman, Advisory Board, MEDITECH; President Emeritus, eHealth Initiative.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

City of Boston, IBM/Gridwise Alliance, GE Energy, National Grid, NSTAR Tech Execs Discuss Smart Grid Opportunities

MassTLC's Energy/IT Cluster hosted a session on barriers and opportunities for technology companies building the Smart Grid -- including smart metering hardware and software and networking technologies. The Smart Grid market is expected to reach $65 billion in 2013, with the technology section expected to account for $4.7 billion.

Participants included Guido Bartels, General Manager of the Energy and Utilities Industry at IBM and Chairman of the Gridwise Alliance (as moderator); Larry Gelbien, VP, Engineering, NSTAR; Hamid Elahi, GM, Global Energy Applications & Systems Engineering, GE Energy; Bill Oates, CIO, City of Boston; Bruce Walker, VP, Asset Strategy & Policy, National Grid.

Several made their presentations available:
Larry Gelbien:
Bruce Walker:

View details/attendees and event photos.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Critical National Needs Served by Robotics

"Robotics is a tremendous tool for getting kids excited about math and science" said Tandy Trower, the Head of Microsoft's Robotics Studio Group. Tandy spoke at a private members-only meeting of the MassTLC Robotics Cluster on April 14th at Microsoft in Cambridge. Tandy provided a background briefing on key trends in robotics technology and adoption highlighting strategic areas of huge potential such as assistive care for aging populations. Tandy added, "There is significant investment around the world in robotics innovation. There is no major economy in the world that does not have robotics on its economic agenda." See Tandy Trower's presentation -

The meeting was a special briefing organized by the MassTLC Robotics Cluster for Marc Stanley, the Director of the National Institute of Standards Technology's (NIST) Technology Innovation Program (TIP). The TIP Program funds research projects that advance innovation in high risk-high reward in areas of critical national need. TIP currently has a call for white papers to define new areas of critical national need.

Members of the Cluster briefed Marc Stanley and Chuck Bartholomew from NIST on advances in robotics innovation and commercialization as well as key technical limiting factors such the need for light weight, long-lasting power supplies. Marc Stanley briefed the Cluster members on the TIP program's interests and the opportunity for the Mass robotics community to compete for NIST-TIP funding for competitions this year. See Marc Stanley's 4/14 presentation -

Currently several white papers are being developed for submission to NIST-TIP by leaders in the Mass TLC Robotics Cluster that will highlight the strategic role robotics technology can play in addressing areas of critical national need.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Call for Nominations - 2009 MassTLC Awards

We are excited to announce the opening of the Council's annual Awards program!  The Awards spotlight companies, people, and technologies that exemplify the best and the brightest in the Massachusetts innovative technology community.  Be sure to take this opportunity to nominate your company, client, partner, or individual you feel deserving of recognition before our May 1st deadline!
Note that we've simplified the nomination process so it only takes a minute or two to get started. All you need is the nominee's name and contact info. Our selection committee will make an initial selection and reach out to nominees and nominators to request additional information for those nominees that are still in the running. Finalists will then be announced at our summer receptions and winners at a formal Awards Gala in the fall.
Friday, May 1, 2009 - Nominations deadline
Thursday, June 25, 2009 - Summer Session I, first group of Finalists announced
Thursday, July 16, 2009 - Summer Session II, second group of Finalists announced
Thursday, November 5, 2009 - Winners will be announced at the formal Awards Gala

Thursday, April 9, 2009

RoboWall Readied for RoboBusiness

Members of MassTLC's Robotics Cluster are preparing for next week's briefing for NIST TIP director Marc Stanley and the RoboBusiness Conference and Expo.

In order to showcase the region's robotics sector, Cluster members are invited to contribute to the Council's RoboWall, which will be on display at both events. Member companies simply provide a logo, photo, and a few bullets for inclusion on the wall (contact Ian at for details).

The RoboWall has been on display at RoboBusiness in Boston and Pittsburgh for the past 3-4 years and has made appearances at local robotics events including those at: MIT Enterprise Forum, New England Venture Capital Association, and Holland & Knight. After RoboBusiness, the wall is already booked for Mass High Tech's Emerging Technology/Robotics program, Northeastern's Entratech program, and teh Corporate Venture Capital meeting over the next few months.

If your organization is highlighting the local robotics community at one of your regular meetings and would like help, please contact us.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Entrepreneurial Leaders Tackle Structural Issues in Funding Environment

Members of MassTLC's Entrepreneurial Cluster Advisory Board gathered to plan the future direction of the group. Participants at the meeting included James Geshwiler, CommonAngels; Lee Hower, Point Judith Capital; Brad Johnson, YouCastr; Tom Hopcroft, MassTLC; Christine Nolan, MassTLC ; Simeon Simeonov, Fast Ignite; Jeff Stoler, McCarter & English; Reid Sturtevant, Microsoft. Special thanks to Comerica and McCarter & English for their support of this cluster.

Building on the mission of the Cluster -- to facilitate meaningful dialog and action among the region's entrepreneurial leaders to support successful new venture creation -- the group decided to create forum for "high potential" entrepreneurs to connect, share, learn, build relationships and get advice from each other and from seasoned entrepreneurs in the community. These groups will also work on systemic issues related to entrepreneur funding and innovation in the region and strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Autodesk's Commitment to Massachusetts

I caught up with Jay Bhatt, Senior Vice President, and Phillip Bernstein, Vice President for Industry Strategy and Relations, for Autodesk's Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) division, which is headquartered here in Waltham. Special thanks to Autodesk for their support of the Council as a Global Sponsor.

In the video, which is a little shaky outside due to the weather and my unsteady hand, Jay talks about Autodesk's commitment to Massachusetts and Phillip talks about the unique artwork out front and gives us an interesting software modeling demo.

For more about my visit to Autodesk, see my prior post.

Related Links:
MassTLC - Building the Smart Grid event on April 15th
Boston Globe - Autodesk Opens Green-Designed Building in Waltham
Mass High Tech - Autodesk Opens Green East Coast Headquarters in Waltham

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Innovation, Access to Capital, Workforce Top Agenda at Creative Economy Council

At our second meeting of the Governor's Creative Economy Council, Jason Schupbach, Creative Economy Industry Director, reviewed the legislated purpose of the group: to develop a statewide strategy for the enhancement, encouragement, and growth of the creative economy in MA, and to promote responsive public policies and private sector practices.

Issues discussed dovetailed with those on the minds of CEOs in our Digital Gaming Cluster (formerly video game cluster), which sits squarely within the Creative Economy. Relevant issues included access to capital, innovation, and workforce development. Governor Patrick has put Massachusetts in the lead by being the first to establish a state-wide Creative Economy Initiative.

Speaking about entrepreneurship, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, noted that there are two kinds of entrepreneurship -- "entrepreneurship by opportunity" where an entrepreneur chooses to leave a job or starts a venture on the side of his or her job; and "entrepreneurship by necessity" where someone loses a job and then decides to start a company. Given the current economic climate, he noted that this is a very good time for entrepreneurship and that now is the very time to connect entrepreneurs with capital.

The Secretary's remarks echo those of Bill Warner at our 2008 Innovation unConference and many others in the Council's entrepreneurial community. The number one concern on the minds of Digital Gaming CEOs, reflecting the early stage of companies in this sector, is access to capital, according to preliminary results of a MassTLC survey of companies in this sector.

There was discussion about both branding the Creative Economy and backing up the brand with specific policies that support the local ecosystem. The Secretary noted that, since we will not likely win as the region to give the most incentives, the Commonwealth should compete on innovation, quality of workforce, diversity of great industries, and other substantive measures.

Echoing the number two issue expressed by our Digital Gaming CEOs, the Secretary noted that an immediate task is to convince local students to stay in Massachusetts and work here, and to convince students to select careers that map to sectors in our local Innovation Economy -- ie, creative industries, information technology, and other key industries. Bucking conventional industries, the Digital Gaming Cluster companies expect employment to increase close to 19% in 2009, according to preliminary results of a MassTLC survey of companies in this sector.

The meeting ended with Q&A from the public. There was some concern that individual artists might not have a voice in policy recommendations made by the Creative Economy Council. It was noted that, in addition to participating at the public meetings, people in the creative economy are represented by the organizations serving on the Creative Economy Council, and that the public at large is invited to join the dialogue directly by posting comments on the Creative Economy blog once it is established.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Transparency, Participation, & Collaboration in a "Blackberry" Government

Our first "Blackberry President" was the impetus for this discussion on transparency, participation, and collaboration in government. We started with President Obama's memorandum on Transparency and Open Government: "My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."

Dan Bricklin moderated a panel of experts including Doc Searls, co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto, Harvard's Berkman Center Fellow, and senior editor for Linux Journal; Susie Adams, Microsoft Federal Civilian and IGO Chief Technology Officer; Tim Yeaton, the new CEO of Black Duck Software (formerly Red Hat and Macromedia); and Tom Kincaid, Executive Director of Sun's Application Platform organization (part of the original Java EE architecture and management teams).

View photos from the event
Listen to Podcast (courtesy of Dan Bricklin)
Dan's Blog post: MassTLC discussion of Designing IT in the Age of Obama