Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MassAdvantage: The economic ecosystem of Massachusetts

Amid threats of government shutdowns in Washington and ferocious tax and spending debates in state capitols across the country, we have lost sight of the real issue: Economic growth across the country remains mostly flat.

Fortunately, Massachusetts is an outlier, a beacon of hope. That's because our state has an enduring tradition of innovation, dating way back to John Adams and his fellow patriots, who dared to dream that a country of immigrants could be free to determine its destiny. This kind of disruptive thinking is the most important ingredient to our state's long tradition of innovation and invention. We have invented or developed a remarkable string of innovations, including anesthesia, radar, microwave technology, the computer, biotechnology, nanotechnology, email, and, perhaps most notably, the Internet itself.


This article, by Vin Bisceglia, MassTLC Trustee and Partner at Genovation Capital, appeared in Mass High Tech, and is part of a 12-part series about the "MassTLC 2020 Challenge" to grow the tech sector by 100,000 jobs over the coming decade.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Museum of Science Robot Block Party

Robots have invaded! This was no science fiction at the Boston Museum of Science, robots were literally everywhere in the Museum’s Blue Wing. The Mass Technology Leadership Council’s Robotics cluster was proud to work with iRobot and the Museum of Science on their 2011 Robot Bock Party held on April 16th from 10am to 4pm. Museum attendees could drive robots, talk to robots, see what it would be like to operate with surgical robot and even make a robot.

There were over 21 different exhibitors displaying their robots including MassTLC cluster members,
- Artaic Innovative Mosaic
- Boston Engineering
- iRobot
- MIT Lincoln Labs
- UMass Lowell
- vGo Communications
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

The day also included inspiring talks on how robots can help introduce science and math concepts to our children who will one day grow up to create whole new generations of robots. iRobot employees first talked about their different roles at the company. Dr. Ingolf Tuerk and Dr. Michael Zinaman talked about their experience with the da Vinci surgical robot. Robin Saitz of PTC talked about her experience starting a FIRST team in her local community. LEGO Education’s Andy Bell gave a talk on how robots enhance learning in children by being hands on and connecting to math and science concepts in a concrete way.

There was also a panel talk that included iRobot CEO, Colin Angle; Jon Dudas, President of FIRST; Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, MIT Media Lab, Robotics; and Catherine Pierce, 13 year old FIRST veteran.

If you are interested in seeing and experiencing robots up close join us at our next Tech Tuesday featuring robotics on May 10th, A panel discussion will precede Tech Tuesday from 3:30 to 5:30 talking about how Robotics is changing the way companies compete and do business,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Robots to the Rescue: Massachusetts Robots Respond to World Events

MassTLC members gathered at UK Trade and Investment in Cambridge, MA, to hear how three Massachusetts companies are responding to world events. Tim Trainer, VP of Operations, Government and Industrial Robots of iRobot talked about the company’s role in search and rescue operations after 9-11, evaluating oil plumes in the Gulf of Mexico and most recently sending robots to Japan to assist in moving rubble and surveillance after the earthquake and tsunami hit. iRobot sent four robots in all to Japan including two Packbots, one equipped with a hazmat kit, and two Warriors.

Bob Quinn, VP Talon Operations of Qinetiq-NA, had arrived back in Boston from Japan a day earlier than the talk. He stressed that the situation is far from over and the aftershocks we hear about are bigger than most earthquakes. Bob was part of a team training Japanese workers to use the Talon, Dragon Runner and Autonomous Bobcat robots to move contaminated debris, monitor weather and contamination, and to survey areas of the Fukishima plant that are too small or dangerous for workers to enter. These robots are now in operation at the plant being controlled by workers using Xbox game controllers.

Hydroid CEO, Christopher von Alt, talked about how the REMUS 6000, a deep underwater autonomous vehicle (AUV), aided in finding the wreckage of Air France flight 447 in early April. The REMUS 6000 can dive up to 6000 meters and stay underwater for up to 20 hours. Using sonar the AUV was able to create a detailed forensic map of the ocean floor for searchers to use. Hydroid AUV’s have also been used in clearing the Umm Qasr port during the Iraq war, searching for Amelia Earhart’s wreckage, re-detailing maps of the Titanic and completing autonomous surveys of underwater pipelines after storms.

After the presentations, attendees were invited to try controlling the iRobot Packbot and Warrior robots. Qinetiq also brought along their Talon and Dragon Runner robots. Qinetiq even had one of the Autonomous Bobcats in the UKTI parking lot. Even the UK Consul General, Phil Budden, got in on the fun and drove all the different robots.

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Council Chairman Mohamad Ali Named SVP and President of Avaya Global Services

MassTLC Chairman Mohamad Ali was appointed Senior Vice President and President of Avaya Global Services, reporting to Kevin J. Kennedy, President and CEO of Avaya, a global leader in business communications and collaboration.

Ali’s rise within Avaya mirror's his growing prominence in the tech community and strengthens his leadership mandate with MassTLC's 2020 Challenge to grow the tech sector by 100K jobs over the coming decade.

Ali, a member of Avaya's Executive Committee and formerly SVP of the Corporate Development and Strategy group, assumes leadership of Avaya's global services businesses. In this role, he will be responsible for all aspects of Avaya's customer support and maintenance, managed services and hosted services businesses.

Since joining Avaya nearly two years ago, Ali has been instrumental in guiding the company's acquisitions and divestitures, establishing and expanding key business partner relationships and introducing an enhanced level of innovation to the marketplace through management of Avaya's research labs and emerging products business unit. Ali brings significant prior experience to the role, having managed businesses in hardware, software and services, primarily at IBM.

Brett Shockley has been promoted into Ali's former role, where he will oversee Avaya's corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions, all major strategic relationships, research labs and emerging products. "Mohamad and Brett are both proven business leaders who will be instrumental in supporting the next phase of innovation and growth for Avaya," Kennedy said. "Their experience and expertise will help us capture the exciting growth potential in today's business collaboration market."

View full press release.