By Ruchi Naresh
April 18, 2013
Michigan companies are leading the way in innovation focused on digital, scientific and technological pursuits. To recognize those companies and individuals pushing the boundaries of science, technology and the digital world - Corp! magazine inaugurated the Business of Science and Technology Awards in 2010 and added a separate Digital Award category the following year. For the fourth annual DiSciTech awards, 40 companies were honored April 18, 2013, during a breakfast and networking event at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills. The honorees have enhanced their enterprises through innovation, research, applied science and digital technology. Keynote speaker Hajj Flemings, president and founder of Brand Camp University, addressed the issue: Why your brand matters in a digital world today, as the digital economy forces us to disrupt and re-think everything that has worked historically. He also spoke about strategies on how to effectively manage organizational and personal brands while remaining relevant in a rapidly changing workplace. Emcee for the award presentation was Matt Roush from WWJ Newsradio 950.
A special feature of this year’s event was the announcement of overall winners in both award categories. The winner in the Digital category was Ann Arbor-based Logic Solutions. In Science and Technology, the winner was Livonia-based Attendance on Demand.
Corp! asked the winning companies about innovation and the formula for inspiring innovation among employees. With the rapidly changing world of science and technology we also tried to determine the next big leap and how the businesses handle the velocity at which the change is happening. On this note, the motto of Digital winner Logic Solutions put it all in perspective: “If you are not running at full speed and innovating every day, then you will not survive in the technology industry.”
One of the first questions the ADVISO team asks its customers is, “If you could start your business all over again, how would you leverage technology?” They often ask this question internally as well, which gives them inspiration to enhance product offerings and increase efficiencies. Since 1997, ADVISO has been a provider of professional website design and custom software tools. ADVISO has proved its value and expertise through Projex5, its proprietary software that was created in 1997 for Ford Motor Co. as a custom software project that combined a scalable brand and project management database, addressing a need that was not otherwise available on the market at the time. Today, Projex5 is a cloud-based system that wraps an organization’s customers, contacts, projects and company website into one business development portal.
Coupon Wallet LLC
Coupon Wallet was founded by a group of entrepreneurs looking to change the coupon industry through innovation. “Our offices are lined with whiteboards and we let each others’ ideas flow into one another,” said CEO Phil Kanaby addressing the importance of innovation and free and open communication. As an end-to-end marketing solution for digital coupons, Coupon Wallet is designed to deliver in-store sales and create brand loyalty. It has managed to integrate into any marketing strategy, and allowed for digital coupons to be distributed, tracked and remarketed for loyalty. Coupons are saved in the cloud and can be accessed instantly across multiple platforms, including desktop, mobile and Facebook. Coupon Wallet shoppers can easily redeem coupons in their wallet while they are shopping by presenting their mobile phone at checkout. Kanaby strongly believes that without technology, Coupon Wallet would not exist. And to maintain longevity and success it has to “remain flexible, agile, and strive for maximum compatibility as users settle upon their routines.”
A global integrated brand agency, Digitas is not new at winning awards. In 2012, Digitas was named OMMA Magazine’s Agency of the Year and it has also been the winner of nine Cannes Lions in 2012 among others. “Our people seek us out because they are innovators themselves, interested in taking the ‘next’ route rather than the ‘safe’ route,” said Felicia Miller, Human Resources manager. Digitas’s philosophy is to keep asking, “What’s next? What is going to reshape the way consumers behave and businesses go to market?” Digitas also has its pulse on creating a unique position in the market. Miller knows there are many great ideas, but only few of them cause consumers to behave and think differently and she (and her team) wants those ideas to be their ideas. In this post-PC digital world, consumers are connected all the time and everywhere. Digitas’s role as a company is to have its clients in the right place at the right time with the right content.
Future Help Designs
A member of the Apple Consultants Network, Future Help makes apps and helps its clients make the right decision on their mobile technology investment. “We execute with design that pushes more than just buttons,” said President Glen Konopaskie. Future Help’s mobile app software design and development services focus on Apple and Android mobile smartphones and devices. The company’s development team has been innovating by “thinking in new paradigms.” Corporate America is becoming a world of mobile entities and Konopaskie says Future Help products and services will help enable fast responses and more conversation. Future Help is positioning itself to support the integration and function of mobile devices into the everyday workplace.
Genisys Credit Union
A financial institution based in Auburn Hills, Genisys has 135,000 members, 24 branch locations, 5,000 shared branches and nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Genisys, like other banking institutions, has benefited from technology and its clients are able to conduct simple transaction at their convenience. CEO Jackie Buchanan said, “This has changed our branch environment from being transactional to more consultative.” Its goal is not just providing the same solutions and experience everyone else does, but to offer its membership “something more.” In the next five years, Buchanan senses mobile payments will be big, allowing more and more members/consumers to use mobile devices to pay for purchases. Along with that, mobile security will continue to develop with better ways to authenticate users to their devices, such as using fingerprint or voice recognition. Since people are already purchasing smartphone cases to hold their debit/credit cards, the next likely step will be to just have a virtual card within the mobile device.
www.ideomed.com and www.abriiz.com
Ideomed, the makers of the health stewardship platform Abriiz, sells tool group licenses to organizational payers such as insurance companies, Medicaid insurers and self-insured employers, and provides member engagement expertise and kits along with the Web and mobile tools. Ideomed’s CEO Keith Brophy uses the phrase ‘brain to action’ to describe brainstorming sessions. A creative and hospitable atmosphere is always the end goal; Ideomed does not want to be too ridged and formal. The company has a team of 25 people spread across Michigan and the U.S. Idoemed in the next few years is likely to bring striking advances in mobile technology and the manner in which it is deployed. Ideomed’s Abriiz mobile solution will likely expand to such new platforms as they appear on the scene, since they provide a perfect point of engagement with an individual. The psychology of motivation, incentive, reward, education and self-empowerment are all key elements of Abriiz.
Innovative Learning Group
Founded in 2004, Innovative Learning Group (ILG) helps employees of Fortune 1000 companies perform better by creating powerful, practical training and performance support solutions. “While our team does most of its work using technology, we also try to make a point of not hiding behind it,” said CEO Lisa Toenniges on the subject of employee culture in their office. Toenniges puts emphasis on having regular “people time” for celebrating events such as birthdays, or just taking a moment to gather at someone’s desk to learn something new, or simply having group lunch. She also shares financial performance data monthly and the team can explain how ILG makes money and how what they do impacts the business measures. ILG is creating a continuous learning environment for itself. This could be anything from a new digital tool to the latest color being used in the fashion industry to a popular children’s game. ILG’s strategy to apply innovation in a client’s work is by looking at macro and micro level solutions. At the macro level, the team first looks at what’s the best overall solution to the performance problem. And at the micro level, they look at elements such as individual graphics, animation and learner interactions. To inspire innovation, Toenniges explained, “Not sharing feedback isn’t an option: If an idea presented isn’t a good one or the best one, everyone is free to speak up.”
“We all need to be on the same path, but we don’t necessarily have to all do things exactly the same way,” said Brinton E. Baker, chief marketing officer, discussing the importance of creative freedom in workforce. Founded in 1997, Lakeside won the VMware VMworld and Citrix Synergy honors in 2012. Lakeside’s software SysTrack builds a very large data mine that describes how people use the hardware, software and computing infrastructure to do their jobs, how well that technology serves their needs, and how it can be better. The company’s market focus is governmental, educational and commercial organizations with substantial IT investment. As for its future in this rapidly changing industry, Baker says, “For us, our ability to conquer the challenges of an increasingly mobile workforce, increasing diversity of application delivery and extraordinarily fast growth of data will define our future.”
Logic Solutions’ innovation motto is, “If you are not running at full speed and innovating every day, then you will not survive in the technology industry.” And it has been living by that belief since 1995, being a Web and mobile development firm specializing in website design and programming. For Logic Solutions employees there is no time to sit back; therefore they are continually researching and learning, promoting intradepartmental and cross-departmental knowledge sharing (during reoccurring meetings and with lunch-and-learn sessions), and giving employees a forum to become educators within the company. Logic recognizes mobile technology as the next big thing and it expects that its customers will want to optimize or convert Web applications to mobile technology.
A recent tweet from MediaG quoted, “There’s no such thing as digital/online marketing. It’s just marketing now.” Media Genesis’ staff of around 40 have been advising clients correctly by serving more than 300 businesses and nonprofit organizations worldwide. Founded in 1996, Media Genesis is a privately owned Web development and marketing company. Through weekly staff-run, management-less meetings, MediaG inspires innovation where the employees have autonomy to direct certain aspects of the organization. President Antoine Dubeauclard has been observing users interacting with their devices, and in the next fives years he thinks gesture-control and eye-control navigation will be hot topics in the digital world. Connected devices have gained mobility in the last few years. Dubeauclard said, “The browser will be less likely to be the vehicle of choice to access these digital tools and we expect a shift toward more apps within very specific environments and purposes.”
In 2012, more smartphones were sold worldwide than all other computers, and mobile commerce sales are expected to quadruple in the next two years. Experts predict there will be 7.1 billion mobile devices in circulation by 2015. Mobile Comply specializes in mobility training and has been reaching out on an international level to support new users. “However many businesses are not yet up to speed on how this technology can be used in their existing environments to increase business. We solve that for them,” said CEO Elaina Farnsworth. Even developing countries now have access to technology and information like never before and mobile devices have changed the way world communicates and does business. With the mobile revolution exploding at a great speed, Mobile Comply offers consulting, strategic planning, education and training, public relations, and brand development exclusive to the mobile market.
Mobile Technology Association of Michigan
“Mobile/wireless technologies are the fastest growing industry in Michigan, but yet the best kept secret,” says Linda Daichendt, executive director and president of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan. MTAM hosts events and does public speaking statewide to educate individuals and businesses about mobile technologies. The association is focused on growing in-state, national and global demand for Michigan-based mobile tech products and services. That will help create more jobs and businesses in the state, as well as bringing more national and global firms to Michigan. MTAM is also focused on working with the Michigan education community on ensuring that students are educated about mobile and fully capable of utilizing it as part of their careers. DiSciTech winner Mobile Comply’s CEO Elaina Farnsworth has this testimonial on the MTAM website – “I can describe MTAM and Linda’s contribution to my company in one simple word, ‘unprecedented.’ MTAM has provided my team and my company with valuable resources and advice, which helped us grow in the Michigan market.”
Netvantage Marketing is focused on search marketing and social media through its paid search management, search engine optimization and social media consulting. With search management, Netvantage’s team manages and audits Google AdWords campaigns; for search engine optimization, the team provides keyword research, on site structure recommendations and smart link building. The company believes its strength in social media consulting is a combination of creativity and quantitative measurement. Netvantage has worked with companies ranging from small business clients like Stay Dry Waterproofing to large companies such as DTE Energy.
North American Bancard
Troy-based North American Bancard has grown from one employee in a shared office to more than 600 employees in its 100,000 square foot-plus corporate office. North American Bancard’s growth into an industry leader in credit card processing is the result of an unwavering dedication to helping the American entrepreneur succeed. North American Bancard helps clients succeed in all facets of merchant payment processing, including solutions for Credit, Debit, EBT, Check Conversion and Guarantee, Gift & Loyalty Cards, mobile payments and much more. “Smartphones and tablets, will continue to drive consumer behavior and will undoubtedly have a lasting effect on the payments industry,” said CEO Marc Gardner. Those other merchant payment processing companies with “old school” technologies are suffering and trying to market themselves as service providers but run the risk of becoming competitors to the very companies that made them who they are today. The key to success for Gardner is to be in front of this evolution in technology and be prepared for the paradigm shift, but still maintain balance and awareness to what your customers are requiring. In 2010 the NAB team recognized the growth of mobile technology would be a huge opportunity for merchants to bring point of sale to their customers, regardless of where those customers were. The mobile platform brought new opportunities for business intelligence and customer loyalty, essentially leveling the playing field for merchants as the smallest mom and pop shops now have access to the same advanced technologies previously reserved for billion dollar enterprises.
Platinum Innovation Group
For Hello Innovation CEO Joe Joachim, it all started when he was in fourth grade. He always had a knack for asking “Why?” and that same question has scaled into the businesses he runs today. The most important part of his business is his employees — they’re the greatest drivers of innovation. Joachim has four strategies for being successful, the first being, “Never underestimate the potential of water cooler conversations, you never know what kind of invention they’ll lead to.” Every latest invention is released early, tested often and incorporated along the way. Joachim bootstrapped Hello Innovation with no outside funding and this has given the company its freedom to shape its own vision and future without having to worry about obligations to investors. Lastly, Hello builds things from the ground-up, not from the top-down. Whether the chief operating officer or first-day intern comes up with the next big idea, Hello welcomes it with open arms. Hello Innovation, part of the Platinum Innovation Group, is a strong set of businesses powered by innovation and change.
SafetyGrid is a Personal Mobile Alert System and its alarm services provided by GEOS gives 24/7 emergency response. An additional app, GEOS Medivac, can be used during medical emergencies and the plan covers any country in the world. In events of crisis, a click on the SafetyGrid button on your Web enabled iPhone or iPad will send each of your listed contacts a SMS text message, an e-mail message, and a Facebook post. In a 2011 article in PRWeb, Jim Hankins, developer and founder of SafetyGrid said, “We’re confident that the addition of the GEOS Search and Rescue and Medi-Vac service features make SafetyGrid the application of choice for students, travelers and individuals in all walks of life who value personal safety.”
Synectics Media as a Web marketing and technology company has applied many different strategies to be successful. President Greg Evans notes that first they “test for success before we invest” to rapidly figure out what works and what doesn’t. Second, they apply a practice of institutionalizing innovation by striving to drive 30 percent of their revenues from new services introduced in the past three years. And lastly, they have employed a team-of-experts approach where great minds are working in everything from social media, to search engine optimization, Web design, photography, E-mail marketing and traditional media. Evans thinks that ultimately success is not predicated by being an expert in one area of marketing. Instead, he says, “You need to understand how the pieces fit together, and create a team of experts, rather than “jacks-of-all-trades.”
Tour Connection Inc.
Founded in 1990, Tour Connection has been a resource for entertainment travel throughout the United States and abroad. The company’s guide is used by the world’s top entertainment travel agents to book more than 3000 groups each year, including major concert tours, theatrical groups and production travel such as film, television and commercials. Even though technology is greatly used to built their website, President Allan Goetz and his team have believed in phone live correspondence.
Vectorform invents digital products and services by researching to understand its client’s major pains and marketplace opportunities. The company recognizes itself as part think tank, part lab and part studio with a team consisting of artists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and technologists. It was founded in 1999 and has studios in Seattle, Detroit, New York, Munich and Hyderabad. Vectorform predicts that in the future it will be presented with an undeniable need to close the gap between the human digital interface. The “art of innovation” will be inventing solutions that make this advent mecca of technology less invasive and ultimately invisible.
Attendance on Demand
Launched in 2006, Attendance on Demand, uses its cloud-based solution that minimizes risk and technology investment while providing advanced features for securely managing labor data. Banking/credit unions, higher education/ K-12, health care, hospitality, food service, manufacturing and retail are some of the industries that it serves. Attendance on Demand time clocks accommodate any workplace. To keep up with the times, Attendance on Demand’s client companies have to provide employees with immediate access to their time, benefit, and paycheck information securely over the Internet, on their mobile devices, and even at the time clock. The clients companies have had growing concern of regulatory compliance and new health care reforms. Attendance on Demand as a company has been part of the evolution and is able to provide businesses with cutting-edge technologies without a significant capital outlay.
Avalon Technologies Inc.
“We are collaborators, not sales people,” said Brian Flynn, president of Avalon, an IT consulting and implementation services company. Avalon specializes in data center infrastructure and new data storage solutions such as internal cloud systems. As cloud platforms continue to gain prominence, Avalon will continue to support these trends. The company is in the process of developing a data center lab at its Bloomfield Hills location dedicated to testing emerging technologies. This space will also be available for its customers to test and train on the latest technologies.
BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting LLC
Formed in 1990, BBC has been training and consulting with technology entrepreneurs and companies in a wide range of industries throughout the U.S. The company advises clients about funding eligibility and proposal development, commercialization and business planning, grant and contract management, and securing follow-on funding. A success story example involves getting a $1.85 million grant from National Institutes of Health for its client Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters (P.L.A.Y.) Project. BBC worked on proposals by reviewing the grant application, effectively addressing reviewers’ comments, and assisting with the business and finance plans.
CureLauncher was founded in 2012 as a technology-enable platform that solves the clinical trial enrollment problem. It matches people to new treatments based on their goals and unique conditions. It gives people one location to find any enrolling clinical trial for cancer, diabetes, arthritis and other chronic diseases. CureLauncher President David Fuehrer predicts that the next big leap in science will come from “personalized medicine based on each person’s genetic makeup.” This will benefit by having more effective use and dose of drugs, reducing undesirable side-effects and decreasing the costs for the patients. Fuehrer has great respect for Walk the Line to Spinal Cord Recovery and its President, Erica Coulston. He follows her advice – “To make your passion and determination contagious because what you really want is a team that is equally as inspiring to you as you are to them.”
First time winner in the Science & Technology category, Digerati is a custom software development and process improvement organization. The company recently released two community-related products: Insyght, a tool that connects entrepreneurs and small businesses to freely available business resources; and Classroom To Career, the technology behind the Intern In Michigan initiative (www.interninmichigan.com), an online internship screening tool that enables employers and students to instantly connect to available internship opportunities. “Everyone I talk to, especially in the technology space, has unmet talent needs. Classroom To Career breaks down the barriers that employers have historically faced in running effective internship programs,” said Chief Technology Officer Joe Klecha. For Klecha, as companies embrace a mobile platform, its approach to software development and process improvement will remain unchanged, but the output will continue to shift from desktop-based to Web- and mobile-based solutions. Klecha’s teams’ collective knowledge and experience is his source of innovation. In his experience, “A standard approach in developing diagnostic medical software may lead to a new and innovative algorithm for matching students to internship opportunities.”
Forensic Fluids Laboratories Inc.
Forensic Fluids Laboratories started in 2005 with one employee and has grown to 46 with 10 to15 hires every year since 2009. As an oral fluid drug-testing lab, Forensic tests oral fluid/saliva for drugs of abuse, and therapeutic drugs for monitoring and dosing. Forensic CEO Bridget Lorenz Lemberg says currently the mental health community has no way to perform medication monitoring except for an expensive, invasive, blood test. “Oral fluid testing will give physicians a very easy method to do this, just spit on a stick, simple and quick!” For Forensic, with nano technology developing, the future will be the ability to perform testing faster with many more samples, and a greater variety of drugs to be tested. Currently the company has a customer base ranging from probation departments, child protective services, ambulance services, Two Men and A Truck, ServiceMasters, to many doctors and clinics.
FutureNet Group Inc.
FutureNet Group is an energy and environment, construction, technology and security company that provides infrastructure improvement and protection through innovative technologies. The company was founded in 1994 and currently the Detroit office has 125 employees with annual revenues of $33 million. All of the company’s divisions work together, pooling resources to generate cost efficiencies and to add value to every contract by exceeding client expectations. According to its website, “The future of technology is faster and smarter, which makes it even more important for you to partner with trusted technical advisers who understand today’s workplace challenges. At FutureNet Group, we implement a proven, highly successful delivery model that enhances your capabilities and communicates your data effectively.”
Global Telecom Solutions (GTS)
St. Clair Shores
“Most businesses simply don’t have the internal resources to keep up with all of the changes in these areas, so it is critical that we have a deep knowledge on how these changes will affect their businesses,” said CEO Mark Stackpoole, talking about GTS’s winning formula. GTS is a telecommunication/cloud services firm that helps businesses nationwide choose the best telecom solutions and has more than 2,500 clients using the telecommunications services of more than 50 partner carriers. Stackpoole thinks it is still a year or two for the next big leap in the telecommunications industry. The company and its vendors are getting control of the “BYOD” (bring your own device) culture, how to properly procure business mobility services, and most importantly, how to secure them since these devices can be open portals to a company’s corporate confidential information. Innovation plays a fundamental role for GTS; and as a telecommunications firm, it has to keep up with more than 50 different carriers and service providers and their full portfolio of telecom solutions in addition to being aware of all of the new products coming to market. Whether it’s a super high-speed Internet connection to improve efficiency, unified communications to bolster sales success or knowing the proper carrier for cloud services, Stackpoole says, “Innovation and understanding how it affects our industry is a key component driving our success right now and into the future.”
Since 2008 ImageSoft has consistently been named one of the nation’s Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies by Inc. magazine and for past six years has been named one of Metropolitan Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, among many other awards. ImageSoft Inc. provides document and process management solutions to automate, streamline and improve workplace processes with clientele in government, insurance and the health care sector. Since government entities have been dealing with reduced budgets and reduced staff members, there is an added requirement to meet expectations for service, transparency and accessibility. As a result, ImageSoft is seeing wide adoption of technology in all realms of government, but particularly in the courts and law enforcement. ImageSoft President Scott Bade says, “Simply put, our solutions enable our customers to do more with less.”
A medical chemistry company, Kalexsyn was formed in 2003 after the closure of Discovery Research operations at Pharmacia in Kalamazoo. Kalexsyn’s chemists and senior advisers have a total of more than 1000 publications and patents along with key roles in the invention and development of several marketed drugs. The mission of Kalexsyn is to provide unmatched chemistry services to drug discovery companies and institutions.
Novi, Troy, Dearborn & Monroe
It wasn’t too long ago when the only treatment for varicose veins required a lengthy surgery with significant downtime. Now, in-office procedures allow patients to walk right out of treatment facilities. So, technology within this field has already experienced a fast-pace change and Miller Vein is providing all the latest diagnostic and therapeutic options for people suffering from varicose or spider veins. It has spent years working to improve outcomes for these treatments and it has eliminated the need for any type of uncomfortable wraps, stockings, bandages or similar bulky dressing. Jeffrey H. Miller, founder of Miller Vein said, “Whenever new vein treatment technology arises, Miller Vein embraces it, tests it, and makes necessary modifications to deliver a superior product for customers.” Concentrating solely on veins allows Miller Vein to consistently embrace and develop new technologies.
Movimento Group Inc.
Movimento Group Inc. is a technology driven company serving companies requiring support for advanced electronic systems, infotainment and telematics communications. Having the expertise in vehicle and systems knowledge management, its customer base ranges from Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. to Sony and Volvo Car Corp. among others. The website states its mission as, “To give the market of automotive networks absolute top class and world leading knowledge, processes, support and tools to develop safe, entertaining, maintainable and cost efficient solutions.”
Online Tech is a managed data center and is currently expanding into at least four new markets. The company’s Midwest data centers ensure that mission critical applications are always available, comply with government and industry regulations, and continue operating after a disaster. The future for IT hardware will have dramatic improvements and it will increase availability and efficiencies with accelerated speeds and smaller-sized equipment, the company states. Online Tech envisions the industry continuing improvements with server infrastructure. It will have a new way to consider computer hardware, where servers no longer need to be in a box. Each can be a single piece in a bigger environment where a physical server becomes as easy to expand as a virtual environment.
OST (Open Systems Technologies)
“We’ve had more innovation in the past two years than our first 15 years combined; in fact we renamed our chief technology officer our chief innovation officer,” says CEO Dan Behm. OST provides IT infrastructure services and products and the uncertain economic climate has accelerated the rate at which the company relies on new ideas and creativity. It holds an OST Company Kick-off every year that includes presentations that provide employees with a review of the past as well as glimpse of the future. OST prides itself on its largest service contracts and has reserved some bragging rights after winning INC. magazine’s 5,000’s Fastest Growing Private Companies for six consecutive years along with winning 2007, 2008 and 2009 CRN’s FastGrowth100 honor. OST also has an office in Ann Arbor and plans to open in downtown Detroit in 2013.
OPS Solutions LLC
The OPS Solutions team has more than 40 years of combined manufacturing and operations experience. The company’s focused goal is to provide innovative solutions to operational problems. Besides the Science and Technology award, OPS was honored with one of the 2013 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch presented by Michigan Celebrates Small Business. OPS Founder and President Paul Ryznar reflects on the recent awards: “It validates our market leading position in deploying innovative technology so that our customers can make immediate, step-function improvement in productivity and quality on the plant floor.”
Scientel Information Technology Inc.
A first time Science and Technology award winner, Scientel has been in the software design and development business since 1977. Scientel applies advanced IT and Internet/intranet concepts to core business operations, such as supply chain environments. In the next five years, the company plans to expand technical capabilities for addressing Big Data issues at Fortune 5000 and similar-level corporate, institutional and government organizations. On the subject of expansion, CEO Norman T. Kutemperor says, “As we anticipate expanding in a major way, this will have a definite impact on IT visibility and the economy of Southeast Michigan.”
Sentio has developed a proprietary nerve-mapping device that allows surgeons to find nerves they cannot see, reducing the risk of nerve injury during surgery and making possible the use of more minimally invasive surgical techniques. The product was launched in USA in 2012 and by this year Sentio will launch the device in Europe, Australia and Latin America. Its future is in developing new products targeting the ENT (ear, nose and throat) market, orthopedic trauma market, pain management and robotic pelvic surgery. Sentio has also begun development of a new neuro-diagnostic tool that will improve accuracy in the diagnosis of neurological disorders. In next two years, a new wireless system will change the face of surgery forever.
As a medical technology and device company, Stryker offers reconstructive implants, medical and surgical equipment, and neurotechnology and spine products to help people lead more active and satisfying lives. In years ahead, they want to ensure leadership in the market through innovation, globalization and cost optimization. Stryker has found success in a direct-to-consumer campaign with its GetAroundKnee System, which has helped to educate consumers about the advantages of its technology and generate above-market growth. Stryker’s website has an awards page that marks its success and honors covering more than three decades.
A tenant of the West Michigan Science and Technology initiative, Syzygy was founded in 2010. It delivers custom solutions for molecular tests, which means its products are fundamental components of life science activities involving DNA. Over the past two years, Syzygy has grown from manufacturing a single enzyme to establishing a best in class portfolio of products ready for commercialization. It has evolved from a commodity manufacturer into a developer of custom formulations of chemical compounds for DNA based tests. Over next two years, Syzygy’s genetic tests for humans will deliver improved solutions for disease detection in cattle and develop improved techniques for DNA finger printing. During development, Syzygy has demonstrated product capabilities and its team’s ability to eliminate steps that reduce the testing cycle by hours. These tests are the foundation of personalized medicine. They enable opportunities like the treatment of cystic fibrosis in children before they are born. Its vision is to lower the cost of biological reagents to foster life science research and education, and make diagnostics more affordable.
The Robot Garage
Opened in June 2011, The Robot Garage is a place for LEGO and robotic enthusiasts of all ages. It aims to provide a hands-on educational and entertaining experience. With a 4,400 square foot converted warehouse in Birmingham, Robot Garage also offers party packages along with workshops, camps, competitions and even a retail shop. A quote from the website says, “We recognize there are people who just dream about everything LEGO brick and robot and need a way to explore this area from the most rudimentary level on up.”
Wayne State College of Engineering
The Wayne State College of Engineering encourages a culture of research and innovation. In biomedical engineering, faculty have made great strides in automotive safety and the prevention of military injuries; and are conducting groundbreaking research on the development of tissue-engineered nerves as well as imaging techniques for improved diagnosis of brain injury and cancer. Computer science faculty members are developing algorithms and design tools that could result in even more powerful smartphones; while electrical and computer engineering faculty members conduct cutting-edge research in diverse areas, from control systems and smart sensors to biomedical electronics and robotics. Industrial and systems engineering faculty members are conducting groundbreaking research in emergency services, Six-Sigma and other quality principles to computer-integrated design and manufacturing, and mechanical engineering professors are pioneering advanced controls research and unique and innovative sound visualization technology.