This Monday, the Wall Street Journal announced its 2009 Technology Innovation Awards. In light of our innovation projects, I thought that those interested in developing a technological innovation might find a source of inspiration from this Journal Report. The report not only gives an overall gold metal winner, this year to the Ibis T5000 sensor that quickly detects and identifies pathogens in a sample, it also describes winners from a variety of categories: computing systems, consumer electronics, energy, environment, health-care IT, materials and other base technologies, medical devices, medicine-biotech, security-privacy, semiconductors, software, and wireless.
A section of the report gave updates on past winners. One winner, SPOT LLC, struck me as interesting due to our class discussion on Iridium last week. They won the 2008 consumer electronics category award for their satellite-messaging device. SPOT LLC’s Satellite Messenger was originally intended for hikers, skiers and others out of cell-phone range to transmit their current locations and send preprogrammed messages such as “This is an emergency. Please send help.” This device addresses many of the same problems that the creators of Iridium set out to solve but cheaper. It sells for $169 and basic service starts at $99 per year. The company has also continued to innovate both with product and positioning. They introduced a second version that is 30% smaller and in July began offering a roadside assistance services. SPOT LLC currently has 370,000 subscribers and is expanding their distribution nation wide to retailers such as BestBuy. For more information on SPOT see: http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php