Friday, September 25, 2009

Environmental Sensors Workshop


Executives interested in sensing, sensor networks, and robotics traveled to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) for a full-day workshop on sensing our environment and responding to change that was produced by the Mass Tech Transfer Center with the support of MassTLC, WHOI, and others. Attendees (pictured above) enjoyed network breaks on the balcony with views of the ocean and a threatening sky.

MassTLC's Robotics Cluster was represented in a session on Sensor Deployment (pictured above) that included the following speakers from academia and industry: Christopher Wallsmith, CTO of Bluefin Robotics; Clayton Jones, Senior Director at Teledyne Marine; John Farrington, Interim Dean, SMAST UMass Dartmouth; Francesco Peri, Managing Director of the Center for Coastal Environmental Sensing Networks at UMass Boston; Kevin McClurg, Business Development Manager for YSI Inc. The session discussed novel ways for deploying sensors and sensor networks and of moving sensors from place to place.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All Fun and Games or Dominant Form of New Media?


Close to 100 game industry executives and enthusiasts convened at UK Trade & Investment's One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, location for MassTLC's Digital Gaming Cluster program entitled, "All Fun and Games or Dominant Form of New Media?"

Participants included an all-star cast of industry leaders including: Jeff Anderson, CEO of QuickHit; Peter Blacklow, CEO of WorldWinner; Mike Dornbrook, COO of Harmonix; Jen MacLean, CEO of 38 Studios; Raphael Poplock, VP of Games for ESPN Games; and Jon Radoff, CEO of GamerDNA.

The discussion centered on how games have transformed from a fanciful hobby to a legitimate tool for media companies to target consumers. The group agreed that games are shifting from a teenage male niche to become a dominant broadcast media tool companies can leverage to target consumer across generation and gender demographics.

MassTLC Digital Games Cluster is chaired by Peter Blacklow and Jon Radoff and sponsored by WorldWinner. For more information on the Cluster contact Christine Nolan, Director of Communities for MassTLC at christine@masstlc.org.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Secretary Bialecki: It Really Is All Here


Secretary Bialecki and his Communications Chief, Kofi Jones, today relaunched the "Massachusetts, It's All Here" brand for the Commonwealth during a press conference at the headquarters of Akamai Technologies in Cambridge. Initially launched in 2003, the revitalized campaign seeks to establish the identity of Massachusetts by supporting common goals and maximizing awareness of the state's global strengths.

The goals of the It's All Here campaign include: Maximizing job growth and regional economic prosperity in Massachusetts; Strengthening Massachusetts businesses; Increasing capital investment in the Commonwealth; Supporting all regions and communities in Massachusetts; Recruiting and retaining young talent in the Commonwealth; Retaining our highly valued workforce; Support technology and innovation; Supporting small business and entrepreneurship; and Supporting a diversity of innovative industries.

The Secretary noted that, unlike other regions that need to market beyond their borders, this campaign is targeted to those who are already here in Mass. And, rather than creating new content, It's All Here draws on a network of organizations that are already committed to establishing Massachusetts as the destination of choice for every business, young mind and new idea contemplating a home in Massachusetts. MassTLC is a proud supporter of the campaign.

Visit http://www.massitsallhere.com/, or read more about it on the Secretary's Blog or on xconomy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Building a Brand for the Mass Tech Sector

The Communications Working Group of the Massachusetts Information Technology Collaborative has been working with EchoDitto and FORGE Worldwide to clarify and unify the Massachusetts tech sector and to establish a working brand vocabulary for the sector and the region.

The objectives of this branding exercise include:
- Establishing Massachusetts as the leading region for the tech sector, nationally and globally;
- Fostering and promoting a culture of innovation and collaboration;
- Clarifying and articulating the region's unique strengths and resources;
- Communicating the business advantages of creating, relocating, and/or maintaining a tech enterprise in the region;
- Providing coherence and unification for the sector; and
- Creating a dynamic brand that lives and breathes with its community

A key stage in shaping the brand (how the sector looks, feels, sounds, is perceived) is the seemingly simple exercise of defining the most significant and compelling traits of the sector and the region -- also known as the Brand Pillars.

Through interviews, focus group sessions, and primary and secondary research, the Communications Working Group has identified six brand pillars that can be used to further shape and articulate a brand for the Mass tech sector, all of which communicate the advantages of developing and growing a technology business in Massachusetts.

The Mass Tech Sector brand pillars include:

- INGENUITY: A culture of innovation enriched by 10,342 technology companies and evident in the number of patents issued to Massachusetts enterprises each year. In fact, Massachusetts boasts more patents per capita than anywhere else in the world.

- EDUCATION AND RESEARCH: Over 100 academic and research institutions, including Harvard, MIT, unrivaled medical centers, and thought leaders respected worldwide.

- FUNDING: Extensive capital and equity investment opportunities, making Massachusetts the #1 state in venture capital available per capita.

- TALENT: A skilled workforce at all levels, highlighted by the continual stream of approximately 84,000 Massachusetts graduates who enter the workforce each year.

- SUPPORT: Strong government and peer support, with technology collaboratives for regional and cluster growth; support of superior public education; investment in university research centers; investment and R&D tax credits; academic and business partnerships; and more.

- LIFESTYLE: A unique, four-season lifestyle that is modern yet traditional; cultural, yet athletic; urban, yet natural -- in short, quintessentially New England.

The IT Collaborative invites you to share your thoughts around these Brand Pillars. Do you agree? Disagree? How have you seen the Pillars' role in shaping the Mass tech sector? Please share your comments and ideas at http://innovate.masstech.org/pillars/pillar/.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hundreds turn out for The Beatles: Rock Band at Tech Tuesday

Over 300 technology entrepreneurs, executives, enthusiasts, and students turned out for this month's sold-out Tech Tuesday: Gadgets and Gatherings at the Microsoft NERD facility in Cambridge. The theme for this Tech Tuesday, which was held just days after Mass-based Harmonix released The Beatles: Rock Band worldwide, was spotlighting the digital games sector in Massachusetts.

At the event, the Governor's Creative Economy Director Jason Schupbach (pictured here) read a proclamation from the Governor declaring video game day in Massachusetts. Council president & CEO Tom Hopcroft announced the findings of a survey on the digital game sector that MassTLC had released earlier in the day.

The event featured "shout-outs" by digital game executives and others in attendance telling people about games they were demoing at the event. In addition to pure video games, some brought components (like an accelerometer) while others brought interactive robotic games.

Companies at the event included: Blue Fang, DoubleTap Games, Fire Hose Games, Harmonix, The Hip Gamer, Turbine, WorldWinner, and more. Students and researchers were in attendance from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Bridgewater State College, Harvard Graduate School of Education, MIT SLOAN School of Management, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Special thanks to the sponsors of the event: Comerica, McCarter English, and Microsoft

Massachusetts Established as $2 Billion Digital Gaming Hub

More than 1200 Gaming Jobs Fuel High-Profile Titles and Industry Growth

MassTLC released the results of a survey on the digital gaming industry which revealed that the gaming sector brings revenues exceeding $2 billion to the state. Massachusetts is home to many world-renowned game designers and has spawned some of today's most popular gaming titles including BioShock, Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, Rock Band, Scrabble Cubes, Second Life and Zoo Tycoon.

With more than 1200 tech professionals currently employed across the state, the MassTLC expects gaming industry jobs to increase by 20% in 2009.

"The digital gaming industry is on fire in Massachusetts -- one of the fastest growing sectors in technology and entertainment in the country," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I am committed to supporting this and other creative economy industries, for the job opportunities they create and for what they do to elevate Massachusetts' strengths as a center of technology innovation."

Key findings from the MassTLC survey include:
- Nearly 50 percent of companies surveyed have been in business for more than five years, exhibiting depth and longevity.
- The gaming industry employs approximately 1200 people across the state in the areas of engineering, art, game design and quality assurance.
- Massachusetts colleges and universities are home to 15 programs supporting the digital gaming industry, including WPI's Interactive Media and Game Development program and Northeastern University's graduate program in game design.
- 79 percent of Massachusetts-based gaming companies are private or angel-funded, while 13 percent are venture-funded and 8 percent are public.
- 46 percent of companies surveyed focus on the PC as a gaming platform, followed by 13 percent each primarily serving Xbox 360 and P33 gamers.
- Casual games are the most prominent area of focus for Massachusetts gaming companies, followed by core or console games and MMOs.

"It's an exciting time to be president of a digital games company in the state of Massachusetts. With the talent that we have collectively recruited and developed along with the games industry's commitment to innovation, we're confident that Massachusetts will continue to be a leader of the game," said Peter Blacklow, president of WorldWinner and EVP of GSN Digital.

"I am pleased to be working with the leaders in the industry on this important endeavor to will help attract top talent and foster entrepreneurship in the industry locally," said Radoff.

"The MassTLC is excited to work with the state, Boston Post Mortem and the MIT Enterprise Forum's SIG to support the local digital game community," said Tom Hopcroft, president and CEO of MassTLC. "Given the growth and potential we've identified, we know our gaming industry cluster will be a win for all -- the state, colleges and universities and businesses."

For the MassTLC digital gaming survey, the organization surveyed more than 30 leading Massachusetts gaming companies in the first half of 2009. The survey was conducted on behalf of MassTLC’s digital gaming cluster, an initiative co-chaired by Peter Blacklow, president of WorldWinner and EVP of GSN Digital and Jon Radoff, CEO of GamerDNA. The cluster hosts more than 30 companies, including 2K Boston, 38 Studios, GamerDNA, Harmonix Music Systems, QuickHit, Rockstar New England, Turbine and WorldWinner.

In the year to come, MassTLC will be working with UMASS Boston on further research in the Massachusetts gaming industry through a grant awarded to UMass Boston by the UMASS President's Creative Economy Initiatives fund. The research will take a deeper dive into the impact of the industry on the Massachusetts economy.

Read More:
- Hardly Kids' Stuff: Assessing the $2B Videogame Industry in Massachusetts, by Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe
- Report: Video Games a $2B industry in Massachusetts, by Associated Press, Boston Herald
- MassTLC Gaming Survey Touts $2B Industry, by Rodney Brown, Mass High Tech
- Video Games Add $2B to Massachusetts Economy, Tech Group Says, by Wade Roush, xconomy
- Couch Potatoes and the State Economy, by Matthew Brown, Worcester Business Journal

Monday, September 14, 2009

Terrafugia "Roadable Aircraft" to Provide Inspiration at MassTLC Innovation 2009 unConference

Terrafugia's "Transition" roadable aircraft (aka flying car) will be on-site serving as inspiration to hundreds of entrepreneurs at MassTLC's Innovation 2009 unConference on October 1, 2009.

Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by MIT-trained aeronautical engineers and MBA's - who also happen to be passionate private pilots. Taking advantage of new FAA regulations in the Light Sport Aircraft category, Terrafugia developed the Transition to provide pilots the convenience of a dual-purpose vehicle. Its unique design allows the Transition to fold its wings and drive on any surface road with a modern personal airplane platform. Once at the airport, the wings extend and the aircraft is ready for take-off. See photo gallery.

Stationed right outside the grand hallway, the Terrafugia roadable aircraft will be a focal point for several unConference sessions and will be an inspiration to creativity for all who attend. Some have likened the unfolding of the aircraft's wings to that of our local entrepreneurs who hope be flight ready in short order.

Last year's event sold out five days in advance and people on the waiting list had to be turned away. So if you're an entrepreneur, an investor, or a technology executive interested in joining your peers for a day of helping, be sure to sign up early. Register Today.

Sponsors of this event will be playing an active role. Each sponsored entrepreneur will be hosted by an expert from the sponsoring company. Special thanks to all of our sponsors: Google Ventures, Microsoft New England Research & Development Center, Phase Forward, Sun Microsystems, Wilmer Hale.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MassTLC Supports THE QUEST for Innovation


MassTLC is proud to join a “who’s who” of partner organizations on the local innovation economy scene supporting THE QUEST, a high-tech scavenger hunt designed to bring together leaders of the New England innovation economy to celebrate a heritage of entrepreneurship and innovation in Boston on October 9th.

Proceeds generated from THE QUEST will be used to help assist not-for-profit organizations and local university programs focused on advancing entrepreneurship in the region. Participation is 100% free -- though selected teams are encouraged to consider making a pledge for the entrepreneurial programs being supported. Preference will be given to companies that involve a founder or C-level exec on their participating team.

THE QUEST is lining up to be an interactive, enlightening, competitive and fun opportunity to join other innovative companies, business and entrepreneurial leaders from across the Bay State. THE QUEST has been written up in Mass High Tech and xconomy. Information and application details are online at http://www.questforinnovation.com/.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Using Social Media to Generate Highly Qualified Leads

MassTLC's Sales & Marketing Cluster kicked off our fall roundtable series with about 80 executives at a session on Using Social Media to Generate Highly Qualified Leads. We would like to extend a thank you to both our keynote speaker, Mark Roberge, VP of Sales at HubSpot and our live case study, Michelle Riggen-Ransom, Communications Director at BatchBlue Software.

Mark opened by sharing with us the thesis behind HubSpot: "All of the people we, as marketers, are trying to reach today are much harder to reach than they once were. That is because of a huge behavior shift that has been driven by the internet." Mark and Michelle followed this up with an extremely informative and highly interactive presentation that left the attendees wanting more! The Sales & Marketing cluster will be working jointly with the Social Media cluster on a follow-up event that will take place in November…stay tuned for further details.

View Mark's Presentation

Thank you to our Salesforce.com for sponsoring this event!

Post Contributed by Jillian Hegarty, MassTLC Relationships Manager

Friday, September 11, 2009

Opportunities in Low Cost Domestic IT Sourcing


A couple dozen executives gathered at Foley Hoag's Emerging Enterprise Center for a discussion on sourcing IT talent from low cost regions around New England -- including both Massachusetts and Maine. MassTLC hosted the event in partnership with the TechAmerica Foundation. The discussion ranged from innovation drivers to comparisons between the offshore and onshore outsourcing models.

Participants included: Jeff Lande, Executive Vice President of TechAmerica; John Richardson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) (see also Maine Office of Innovation); John McCarthy, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research; and Carlos Martinez-Vela, Director for Innovation Policy for the John Adams Innovation Institute.

Click here for more information on the event.

LogMeIn Celebrates IPO at Fenway Park

I stopped by the EMC Club at Fenway Park to celebrate the successful IPO of LogMeIn (LOGM.O) with the company employees and investors. The event, which was hosted by Polaris Venture Partners, attracted about 100 people, and included congratulatory remarks by both David Barrett, General Partner at Polaris Ventures (on left in photo), and Michael Simon, CEO of LogMeIn (on right in photo). The atmosphere was jovial and Simon made light of the influx of support calls resulting from the latest release and reminded his team that they could not rest as the IPO is just the first of many milestones for the company.

Both Barrett and Simon are finalists in the 2009 Mass Technology Leadership Awards program in the Investor and CEO of the Year categories respectively. See full list of finalists. The winners in the 2009 Awards program will be announced at a gala banquet at the Copley Marriott on November 5, 2009. See event details.

We congratulate and wish the entire LogMeIn team great success in the future!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Governor Declares Video Game Innovation Day in Massachusetts

On the occasion of Cambridge-based Harmonix Music Systems' worldwide debut of The Beatles: Rock Band, Governor Patrick declared Video Game Day in Massachusetts (see full proclamation).

MassTLC's Digital Games Cluster will celebrate the occasion with over 300 technology executives, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts at our September 15th Tech Tuesday at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge.

Highlights of the event include:
- Release of key findings from the Council's research on the Digital Gaming sector;
- The Beetles: Rock Band on the giant screen for attendees to get "hands-on" and play;
- State representatives will present the Governor's proclamation;
- Local gaming and digital technology company demos;
- Attendee shout-outs, free pizza, and more...

This event is free and students are welcome. Register online.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Environmental Sensors Workshop 2009 - Sensing our Environment and Responding to Change

When: Thursday, September 24th
Time: 10:00am to 4:30pm
Where: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Quisset Campus, Clark Building, Room 507

Monitoring the environment utilizes a large variety of new research techniques and technologies. The combination of new sensors, robotics, communication systems and massive information processing is enabling a new generation of research that can sense and monitor different environments and analyze change in those environments.

Massachusetts research institutions have been successful in securing major grant funding to develop and build such systems - on land, in the atmosphere, and in the oceans.

Two major projects in this field are the Ocean Sensing project at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Coastal and Global Ocean Observatories and UMass Amherst 's Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). MIT, Northeastern University, Boston University, UMass Boston and UMass Dartmouth also have significant research programs in this area.

The program will include presentations on new technologies and data analysis tools that are being developed, as well as discussions on their applications to the commercial sector and the product needs of both corporate and government users.

Please visit http://www.mattcenter.org/environmental-sensors/home.html for more information and to register.