New Tech Impact Awards Recognize the Important Role of Technology Across Many Industry Sectors

 
 

When I first started my career as correspondent at Business Week’s Tokyo bureau in 1982, writing an article still meant banging away on an old manual typewriters. I remember the day they installed our first Wang word processor and put the old manuals in the hallway for the cleaners to take away. (I grabbed a couple of them and still have them in my garage!) I never missed the old typewriters, although I silently cursed when stories would mysteriously disappear from my word processor. And as great as it was to be able to move paragraphs around on a computer screen, we still had to print out the finished stories and hand them to an assistant who would retype the entire story into a teletype machine to send it to New York, where yet another assistant would retype it into Business Week’s publishing system. If somebody liked a story in our magazine, they would take a pair of scissors, cut it out, put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and take it to the mailbox.

At the time, IBM was the king of computing, and I remember covering the frustrated efforts of Japanese companies to copy or steal IBM’s technology so they could continue manufacturing IBM-compatible mainframes. When I had breakfast with Bill Gates at the Okura Hotel one morning in 1983, I had no clue of how quickly his company would overshadow IBM as the dominant player in the computer business.

In the three decades since, of course, we have seen IT transform every area of our lives. Today most journalists file their stories straight from their laptops, and can reach a global audience in the blink of an eye. As incredible as the progress has been, the speed with which IT changes the way we do things continues to accelerate, fueled by ubiquitous new tools like sleek smartphones, wireless networks and web-based applications. One of the great joys of being editor of Seattle Business magazine has been the opportunity to follow Washington state’s tech-savvy community as it introduces products, services and business models that revolutionize one industry sectors after another from health care and education to retail and entertainment.

This year, Seattle Business magazine launched the Tech Impact Awards in cooperation with the Washington Technology Industry Association because we believe it’s important to honor the companies in our region that are having such a large impact on business and society. We received more than 100 nominations from companies across Washington and in a broad range of industries. The winners were selected by a judges’ panel that included Bharat Shyam, Washington state’s chief information officer; Sujal Patel, the president of EMC Isilon; Peter Wilson, engineering director at Facebook Seattle; Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group; Elon Gasper, Senior Director of Research at Corum Group; Benjamin Beberness, CIO at Snohomish County PUD; Patti Brooke, former asst. director, Washington State Department of Commerce; and Ed Lazowska, chair of the University of Washington Department of Computer Science & Engineering. You can see the finalists here.

The winners will be announced at a gala event on the Skybridge at Washington State Convention Center on September 25. You can contact michael.romoser@tigeroak.com for tickets, or look for the winners in our October issue. 

Sponsored

Smart Glasses Improving Workflow for HVAC Projects

Smart Glasses Improving Workflow for HVAC Projects

Wearable technology increases productivity for HVAC technicians
 
 

Sponsored by MacDonald-Miller

XOEye technologies created a smart glasses tool, built specifically for field technicians to capture real-time documentation. When MacDonald-Miller heard about the new wearable technology platform, they saw it as an opportunity to be the first mechanical contractor in the Pacific Northwest to implement these smart glasses into their services.

We interviewed MacDonald-Miller’s Chief Information Officer, Bradd Busick, to hear first-hand how this new technology will be integrated into services and how it will streamline HVAC projects.

What are the capabilities of the smart glasses? 

The smart glasses, MacLens, capture and stream high fidelity audio and visual content, enabling first-person point-of-view (POV). MacLens includes a camera, earpiece, and microphone — all built into a single headset, capturing real-time documentation of equipment, work performed, and recommendations being made. 

How does it work for technicians?

Once service techs arrive onsite, they put their MacLens glasses on to create an intro video communicating where they are, a brief diagnosis or repair identification, and a summary recap for the customer. After the site visit is complete, the tech then uploads the content to the call summary report on the customer portal, where customers can access it at their convenience.

What is the benefit for the end-user?

Building owners and property managers have to trust their maintenance provider is actually doing the work they claim. Most building owners will never see the work being done on their properties, but they will receive a list of recommendations for changes and a bill. It’s a relationship built on trust. MacLens adds a level of transparency and customer experience where we are able to show in real-time what is happening on roofs and in mechanical rooms. MacLens embeds audio and video content into each summary report, providing customers with the peace of mind that comes with unbridled transparency.

What is the vision behind this technology roll-out?

The goal is to enhance the customer connection to the services provided and also enable technicians to connect with each other. There are incredible operational efficiencies that enable mobility and collaboration through telepresence and increased accountability.

How will they affect the next wave of HVAC technicians?

Not only will MacLens increase workflow productivity, but it also offers training opportunities and safety benefits without adding any additional work to service technicians. This is a major educational advantage. Now expert journeyman can train apprentices simply by walking through their daily tasks, recording those sessions and sharing them in our learning management system — it’s the next evolution of training!

See MacLens in action here.

MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions is a full-service, design-build, mechanical contractor in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about MacDonald-Miller’s recent projects.