It has been said that we live in the Age of Information. If you live in Utah, however, it could easily be called the Age of Innovation.
The following 30 companies illustrate that fact. Some have found ways to make your life a bit easier, while others may eventually cure the world’s most devastating diseases. Regardless of the motive, the products and processes featured here are truly unbelievable. Join us in honoring the best that Utah’s brightest minds have developed as we honor 30 companies and their groundbreaking innovations.
Call it brilliance. Call it intelligence. Call it genius. Whatever you call it, the light has definitely turned for these companies.
For clients with dirty, dusty, hard-to-clean surfaces, Coldsweep, Inc. is a breath of fresh air. The company delivers environmentally friendly cleaning solutions for the oil and gas, power generation, disaster recovery and food processing industries using dry ice blasting and dust free abrasive technology. Coldsweep’s operators blast sullied areas such as hydroelectric generators or switchgear with dry ice particles manufactured from recycled CO2. The particles disappear on impact, leaving no secondary waste.
“We have cleaned everything from rocket motor parts to dinosaur bones,” says President Randell Heath “During the past month we have used our…technology to clean bridge building equipment for W.W. Clyde, remove wood finishes at the Stein Ericksen Lodge and to remove old paint from brick at the new Urban Outfitters store in The Gateway.”
Named one of the nation’s greenest businesses by Startup Nation, Coldsweep, Inc. has also been featured on Forbes.com and the History Channel’s “Modern Marvels” series.
The legal industry often falls behind in leveraging technology to improve productivity and instead sticks with old-fashioned, less efficient methods, says Lynn Packer, president of LawMediaCenter. He is intent on changing that by creating DepoDisplay, a video deposition recording system that records and streams the world’s first paperless, stenoless depositions.
Taped by a remote-controlled robotic camera, DepoDisplay records and streams depositions live to remote locations. Company officials say it cuts the duration for document-intensive depositions by at least 25 percent and is less expensive and more accurate than the traditional short-hand reporting method.
“After attorneys are trained and gain experience using the system, they will cut the amount they charge clients for depositions, add to firm revenue by in-sourcing rather than out-sourcing deposition record making and use the video depositions to achieve better case outcomes,” Packer says.
Local firms are already using the product, including Siegfried & Jensen in Murray.
Shoppers, get comfortable on your couch, online shopping is becoming even easier. 3DVO’s Engage provides e-retailers with 3D models of products so online shoppers can rotate products to view them from 360 degrees. The feature creates a more realistic shopping experience and adds a little zest to the flat virtual marketplace.
The technology, though designed for a retail space, has the potential of shifting into arenas such as online mapping and other web applications. Users could turn to Engage to check out ski runs from all angles before a trip to Park City or to virtually pick a seat at a restaurant when making reservations online, company officials say.
Founded in 2006, 3DVO’s processes cut costs for 3D imagery by up to 60 percent of market rates. The high-growth startup is already seeing acceptance among users; JCPenney, Sears, Toyota and eBay are all considering adoption of Engage. The company anticipates another milestone year in 2008, forecasting revenues to exceed several million dollars per month by the end of the second quarter of the year.
Remember those strap-on roller skates from your childhood? They fit over your shoes, and suddenly you were zipping up and down the block. Combine that concept with a full-size remote control car and you get Kairos Autonomi. The company’s Pronto4 Strap-on Autonomy System turns any ground vehicle into an optionally unmanned drive-by-wire system, controlled remotely.
As military situations become increasingly unpredictable, the U.S. Congress mandated in 2001 that one-third of all military land vehicles be autonomous by 2015. Remotely controlled land vehicles take human operators out of dangerous situations.
Military officials are recognizing the flexibility of the Pronto4 system. Selling for roughly half the price of current systems, Pronto4 straps onto any exciting vehicle, enhancing the capability of current vehicles and reducing the cost of buying all new unmanned systems. It also allows for flexibility in high tension situations, as control can be shifted from computer to human operator by pressing the brake, much like setting cruise control.
You can’t hide anything from H3 Tec’s Element Detector. Reading the structure of an atom, the Element Detector can sense and identify virtually any element from the Periodic Table. Already, the device has been used to locate gold deposits, map oil fields and find ammunition, explosives, radioactive materials and illegal drugs. Users program an element – or compound of elements – into the detector, and watch as it is identifies the location of an element with 90 percent accuracy at distances up to 100 feet. About the size of a briefcase, the Element Detector can also identify precursor chemicals that, when combined, form explosives or illegal drugs. It can also identify substances through plastic, metal, rock and dirt barriers.
Though originally developed for the military, the product is finding applications in the natural resources, drug enforcement and medical industries. Archaeology and natural gas are also potential growth areas, says Charles Christensen, president of H3 Tec. Several exploration companies are currently using the device for field work, while a commercial version will soon be available to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.
Raytheon Sarcos LLC (formerly Sarcos)
While today’s soldiers wear camouflage paint and fatigues, the solider of tomorrow may look more like a superhuman. These soldiers will be able to lift 200-pound cargoes repeatedly and carry hundreds of pounds of supplies or a wounded comrade for miles without tiring, using Raytheon’s exoskeleton.
The exoskeleton is a robotic framework that a human straps into to offset resistance. The exoskeleton senses when the human is experiencing heavy weights or resistance and lightens the load through a robotic assist, allowing users the ability to perform dangerous and fatiguing tasks for great lengths of time without tiring.
“We started thinking, if humans can work alongside robots, why can’t they work inside them?” says CEO Stephen Jacobsen. The development of the exoskeleton spurred the recent acquisition of Sarcos Exoskeletal Robots, Inc. by Raytheon, an illustrious military contractor.
A debut on the battlefield may not be far off. The exoskeleton has already passed the U.S. military’s development and proof of concept testing and is moving toward more advanced testing phases.
Acting as the ultimate middleman, Doba’s Supply Chain Marketplace connects e-retailers with wholesale suppliers through its network to provide a virtual inventory of nearly any product. Merchants use Doba’s software solution to access a network of suppliers, who provide the inventory that the e-retailers sell on their sites. Doba maintains a virtual inventory of all products, which is posted and accessed by the e-retailers. Products are purchased off a merchant’s site, then shipped from a wholesaler directly to a consumer, allowing merchants to maintain a site full of products without ever having to keep a physical inventory in stock.
The marketplace features more than 25,000 retailers, 250 wholesale suppliers and 2.3 million products and transacts millions of ecommerce dollars annually.
Being a middleman has its rewards; Doba was ranked first on the Utah 100 list of fastest-growing companies in 2007 and 23rd on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing privately-held companies in America.
Mindshare Technologies, Inc.
Dissatisfied customers can pose a major problem for any company, especially with today’s plethora of online forums and chat rooms. Mindshare Technologies, Inc. provides companies with instant data they need to provide a better customer experience through its hosted feedback solution. Customer experiences are monitored through automated phone and Web surveys, which are transformed into reports and sent to business operators. Numbers and data are supplemented with recordings of comments from customers.
“A sports arena used our alert and incident tracking feature to save a customer who had received bad nachos during an event,” said Kurt Williams, CTO for Mindshare. “A manager was alerted to the situation and hand-delivered replacement nachos to the seat of the customer before the end of the game.”
Mindshare has experienced 57 months of uninterrupted growth, and company representatives say customers see increases in customer satisfaction up to 14 percent after implementing the system. Results are noticeable in customer recovery, up-selling and cross-selling, training efficiency and reduced employee turnover.
With two patents awarded and several more pending, InteliSum, Inc.’s LD3 Software Studio product provides a way for users to easily manage and manipulate large point cloud data sets in Computer Aided Design (CAD). Sound complicated? Let’s break it down. The product is showing its weight by performing for the architecture, engineering and construction markets. Through InteliSum’s technology, large real world land and structural areas can be converted into digital 3D models with up to .01 foot accuracy. The process uses a camera and measurements taken using lasers to pinpoint distances in the image. A GPS unit is also engaged to accurately map the points in the picture relative to where it is on earth. These models are used to accelerate the design process in the construction, architecture and engineering industries up to five times faster, at half the cost of traditional survey design.
Future outlook continues to be bright; InteliSum reported approximately $2 million in revenue in 2007 and has a current pipeline of approximately $5.7 million, company officials say.
DirectPointe’s CentralPointe Server makes business networking almost too easy. Recognizing that IT is often a headache for many small businesses, DirectPointe manages and supports the server and network, resulting in a cost-effective, reliable technology solution. Aimed at businesses with less than 20 employees, the CentralPointe Server provides a network environment with maintenance for a monthly fee.
The product combines hardware, software, services and network into a single plug-in server. It is also integrated with Google Apps Enterprise Edition and Microsoft Hosted Exchange, allowing businesses to grow without worrying if their data systems will keep up. Customers enjoy the 24/7 technical support; the company’s average eSupport response time is 22 seconds, with the average time to resolution being 21 minutes, according to company officials.
In today’s busy world, life without a cell phone, MP3 player or USB drive is almost impossible to imagine, yet few people stop to think about the technology that supports all that data. From the vast, sprawling Micron structure at Point of the Mountain emerged a tiny memory chip that was created to fuel consumers’ growing number of mobile devices.
NAND Flash memory, the product of a manufacturing partnership between Micron Technology and Intel, is designed to handle storage of digital files, including pictures, music or data. The solution can hold and store data even when the power is off, making it ideal for technology such as iPods and digital cameras. Products are exclusively manufactured for parent companies Intel and Micron, with the first $500 million of inventory already dedicated to Apple. If successful, the collaboration will result in global attention from the fast-growing multi-billion dollar flash memory market, company officials say.
Have you ever spent a few frustrating minutes trying to locate your cell phone, car keys or the remote control? Or have you ever wanted to track a piece of luggage or a shipment? S5 Wireless has developed a location chip that adds telemetry capabilities to almost any device. The S5 location chip is smaller than a dime, costs less than $1 and operates for years on a single battery.
The tag covers areas as wide as a city and as deep as an internal office with an accuracy equivalent to GPS. Sensors connected to the S5 location chip allow users to monitor temperature, light, moisture and other environmental factors surrounding the device.
S5’s innovative combination of price, size and power surpasses all capabilities in competing technologies, as evidenced by the recent bestowment of a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to track container and cargo shipments.
The device can also be used to monitor the location of the elderly, pets or medical devices or to track vehicles and other portable assets.
Life Sciences/Health Care
In just two years, Agel has created a new category in the already mature nutraceutical and dietary supplement industry. Recognizing inherent drawbacks to the more traditional forms of taking supplements –
through pills, capsules and juice – CEO Glen Jensen created a new method for taking a wide range of nutritional supplements. Pills are hard for children to take and don’t always completely dissolve in the digestive track, Jensen says, and nutritional drinks rarely taste good and require refrigeration.
The Agel line of products is based on a gel suspension technology that allows natural vitamins and nutrients to be packaged and stored in foil pouches that can be thrown in a purse or pocket on the way out the door. The gels can then be slurped down at the consumer’s convenience. The nine product varieties range from the grape-flavored EXO, meant to provide a natural antioxidant boost, to a chocolate-flavored PRO, a protein supplement.
When the average person has a health-related question, they often turn to the Web for help. Now, with the advent of ARUP Laboratories Consult, so do doctors. But Consult goes beyond the vague illness descriptions and doctor referrals you might be accustomed to finding online. This new service offers health care providers instant, no-cost access to a database of laboratory testing information.
According to ARUP, between 50 and 80 percent of all major health care decisions are made using laboratory results. From a common pregnancy test to challenging connective tissue disorders, Consult offers doctors access to advice and interpretation regarding more than 1,500 laboratory tests. The free service is available to all health care providers everywhere and ARUP has recorded more than 18,000 unique visitors who have viewed information on the site in one month. Information on the site is updated every eight weeks in order to provide physicians and researchers with the most current laboratory data available.
American Biotech Labs
Is there such thing as a miracle cure? If so, American Biotech Labs has possibly found it. The company’s primary product, ASAP, has proven in tests around the world that it contains some fairly incomparable qualities. While the liquid is safe enough to be taken in daily doses to build immunity or sprayed across surfaces to disinfect hospital rooms, it has the power to destroy some of the most harmful microbes known to man, such as malaria, Avian flu, anthrax and staph.
Over one million bottles of ASAP have been sold worldwide, and a number of governments are evaluating the product for a variety of uses. The World Health Organization (WHO) has undertaken extensive clinical testing to verify the efficacy of ABL products for internal human use. Due to the extraordinary success of ABL’s products in the treatment of malaria (full recovery in five days on product doses that cost a total of $3.50), the central government of Ghana has approved them for sale as a pharmaceutical product in the homeopathic category.
Back in the ‘90s when DVD players were first coming to market, some of the buzz surrounding the new fangled contraptions was that Digital Video Discs would allow users to do something VHS cassettes never could – edit content on the fly. Those who had never seen Titanic because of “that one scene” would finally be able to view a cleaned up version in their own homes. It took a few years and several million dollars in legal fees, but finally Salt Lake City-based ClearPlay has made good on that promise.
Thanks to the Family Movie Act of 2005, ClearPlay DVD players legally filter graphic violence, nudity and profanity from the biggest and boldest Hollywood movies. Without physically altering the DVD, ClearPlay’s patented parental controls use ClearPlay Filters, which are developed separately for each movie and loaded onto the DVD player with a USB drive. New movies are the focus for the technology, but users have access to a growing library of more than 2,000 titles.
It’s no secret that the demand for video in practically every personal and professional application is rising. Home video viewers want HD programming available to them via satellite, cable and the Internet, and video integration in classroom and boardroom settings is greater than ever. Thanks to Broadcast International, the perks of eye-popping video at home and smooth high-quality video online are more accessible.
Broadcast International’s CodecSys is a patented video compression technology that reduces bandwidth needs of HD-quality video by more than 80 percent. Video transmission consumes an enormous amount of bandwidth in any medium, but CodecSys software takes the bandwidth requirements to a much lower level, enabling a new generation of video applications such as real time video chat and live streaming video to cell phones. It also makes existing technology more bearable for the provider by allowing them to broadcast 12 HDTV channels over the same media that currently only support two.
Emerald Forest Studios
In today’s digital world, all aspects of business require an extra bit of tech savvy. Even in sales, where the personal presentation is about as important as it gets, marketers are looking for more interesting ways to get usable dynamic information to potential customers. Enter Emerald Forest Studios’ Presentation Expert.
Presentation Expert is an e-marketing tool that is meant to do away with traditional marketing mailers. Using the company’s software tool, Emerald Forest clients are able to develop lively multi-media messages that can be sent via email to potential customers. The real kick to the product, though, is that once the presentation is viewed, the salesperson is notified instantly via email or phone, enabling him to follow up with the customer in a timely and organized manner. So far, CEO David Montague says the tool has been adopted eagerly by the companies that use a direct sales model as a way for product distributor to reach out to clients.
The tagline at Steepandcheap.com says it all: “One killer deal, one item at a time until it’s gone.” With this mantra, the execs at Backcountry.com are banking on the innate urge in all of us to take advantage of a great deal on an impulse. And so far, it’s working.
The idea isn’t exactly new; other online electronics outlets have been operating in a similar fashion for years, but with a few tweaks and hidden secrets, President John Bresee says the model has proven to be a success for outdoor sporting goods as well. Since its launch in February 2005, Steep and Cheap has done than $30 million in revenue and Whiskey Militia is on its way up with $2 million in deals geared toward action sports enthusiasts in less than a year.
Having relied solely on word-of-mouth advertising and online forums to spread the news, Bresee says the sites have proven advantageous for both the consumer and supplier. Consumers love getting a great deal – always at least 50 percent off – and suppliers can sell hundreds of quality products in a matter of minutes without losing any brand equity.
Social networking. The term probably brings to mind the adolescent reputation of MySpace or the business tool LinkedIn. Now imagine a social networking site where you can track your genetic code, link to family members around the globe and find out exactly which village your ancestors are from. This is the complex and extensive goal of GeneTree, an online social networking and genealogical tool that will let you connect with friends and family that you didn’t even know you had.
Tapping into the expertise of three advance Utah resources – Sorenson Molecular Geneology Foundation, Sorenson Media and Sorenson Genomics – GeneTree takes genealogy to a new level. Using an intuitive interface, subscribers are able to track their own DNA code, share stories and video with their network, and tap into a genetic database that reaches 170 (more than 90 percent) of the world’s countries. With GeneTree, the “ancestral homepage” replaces the ancestral land as the gathering place where family members learn from one another, share valuable information and perspective and build personal identity.
In the retail world, the transition from bricks to clicks often results in a massive revenue increase, which is why businesses small and large are constantly looking for ways to optimize their online presence. StoresOnline Pro v5.0 offers the tools small business owners can use to make that transition as seamless as possible.
Because many small business owners and entrepreneurs are focused on myriad aspects of growing a company, StoresOnline attempts to take away some of the pressure of doing business on the Web. By partnering with StoresOnline, small business owners can develop a personal e-commerce site that will allow them to sell products and access the global marketplace while maintaining focus on product development and other aspects of the business. The StoresOnline platform is meant to assist users from start to finish by providing the hosting services, backend software development and support that each client may need, including ongoing workshops and software training.
Remember the days of envelope budgeting, where cash is placed in specified envelopes for rent, food, insurance, etc.? Maybe that day was even yesterday.
Recognizing the benefit to such a simple model, Draper-based Finicity has created Mvelopes, an online budgeting application based on the traditional money management method.
As simple as the old-school method, Mvelopes makes the process even easier by electronically connecting a user’s various savings and spending accounts from different financial institutions and managing them in one online location. Virtual envelopes are established by the user and can be modified as needed, but the basic budgeting tool remains the same, helping customers save and manage their money without ever cashing a check.
Finicity execs boast that the program has helped thousands of people save money by separating and allocating funds before they are spent. The program has also brought financial rewards to the company, driving quadruple-digit revenue growth for the company since its launch in 2002.
As a former paramedic, Nate Walkingshaw understands the difficulty of moving incapacitated patients. That’s why he invented MÖV, a device used for transporting non-ambulatory patients up and down stairs. MÖV (pronounced “move”) stands for Mobility Offers Versatility and is meant to provide a means for paramedics, nurses and others to transport patients who weigh up to 500 lbs. in their homes.
Outfitted treads much like a tank, the device provides mobility and ease in situations that used to be difficult, and in some cases dangerous, for medical personnel. MOV has been shown to be useful for home health workers who assist obese patients as well as paramedics in emergency situations and patients recovering from hip or knee surgery. Since its announcement last fall, MOV has become a hit in medical circles, earning a Top Pick Award at the 2007 MedTrade and EMS Expo. Paramed has pre-sold hundreds of units and will ship thousands in 2008.
With a name like Skullcandy, you’ve got to wonder what is going on in the minds of its owners. Evidently a lot. The Park City-based manufacturer of consumer electronics has recognized the need for portable media devices and accessories, especially among extreme sports junkies.
The most recent addition to the line-up was unveiled this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and accentuates the company’s foray into wireless technology. The newest gadget boasts an entire media player tucked right inside the headphones, freeing up the user from wires that typically must be hidden beneath shirts or jackets. Music can be transferred from iTunes or any media library to a portable SD memory card, which then slips into the bottom of the headphones. The music is controlled using buttons on the outside of the headphones. Skullcandy CEO Rick Alden says the device is the first of many wireless products, which will cater to the target market of teens and adults who typically use the company’s high-end gear while snowboarding, skateboarding or doing just about any other sport.
ClearOne Communications has been in the audio conferencing business for more than 26 years. Typical installations include everything from speakerphones in executive offices to complete audio and video conferencing tools in high-end board rooms. But the company’s new product line, the Chat 50 and the Chat 150, takes its advanced audio technologies to a much more personal level.
Winner of the 2006 PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award, the Chat 50 is meant to provide clear, uninterrupted communication from any PC or cell phone. For folks who are constantly on the road, the Chat 50 comes in handy as a personal speakerphone that can be used with Skype or other VoIP services and an effective way of communicating with the office or home or as a portable speaker system for a laptop. Both products incorporate ClearOne’s full-duplex technology that allows seamless communication on both ends, meaning conversations can happen as if they were in person, without dead air time or interruptions that often occur with traditional speaker phones.
Most homes are linked to the Internet with a DSL, cable or wireless connection. Typically the speed of the connection ranges from 256 Kbps to 7 Mbps, which can usually only be achieved in certain circumstances. Imagine, then, a connection at home that reaches 50 Mbps, 10 to 20 times faster than most standard home connections. With Mstar’s latest offering, it is now a reality.
Last fall, Mstar announced its 50 Mbps Internet connec-tion to homes on the UTOPIA network. The speed is, in fact, the fastest offered in the United States. The network’s standard 15 Mbps connection was already worth bragging about, but the new speed takes it to a whole new level. The speed of a download or upload still depends on the provider at the other end of the Net, but the ability to download large files, such as a movie, in a matter of seconds has its merits.
Business in America relies heavily on the ability to be connected. Can you imagine what would happen if you lost all connections to your clients, satellite offices or network? That is the exact scenario that Fatpipe Networks is working to avoid. The fact of the matter is business can’t be done these days without an Internet connection and Fatpipe is 99.999988 percent certain they will keep that connection no matter what. That figure is the exact redundancy CEO Ragula Bhaskar says his company can provide to corporate Wide Area Networks.
IPVPN uses patented technology that bonds any combination of data connections (T1, wireless, DS3, cable, DSL) from separate ISPs without the need of the ISP cooperation. It dynamically senses when services are unavailable and automatically reroutes packets to available lines. Through this method, IPVPN provides the network redundancy that has become critical to businesses that are tracking critical information.
Metro Ready Mix
Riding the green wave of environmentally-conscious materials in the construction industry, concrete manufacturer Metro Ready Mix uses ground granulated blast furnace waste cement, or slag, in its concrete mixture. The slag cement gives the concrete more strength, consistency and workability and results in less landfilled byproduct, carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gas. It also dries in a whiter color than the usual gray hue of traditional concrete.
Builders, developers and architects have been voicing support for the product since the company’s inception in 2004; many in Utah use Metro Ready Mix exclusively to help achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in new construction or redevelopment projects, a qualification many customers are now requesting.
Metro Ready Mix has firmly cemented its place in the construction industry; the past two years have seen a doubling in the size of the company’s concrete mixer fleet, with year-over-year revenue growth of 300 percent.
International Armoring Corporation
Located in Ogden, International Armoring Corporation’s (IAC) manufacturing plant is known around the world. With 99 percent of its clients located globally, IAC produces fully armored kits, or “pre-fabs” for passenger vehicles. Pre-fabs specific to 38 vehicle models are created at the Ogden plant, then shipped to customers worldwide who install the kits using the company’s straightforward assembly process.
Keeping it simple has paid off; company officials say implementing the pre-fab process has improved productivity at the Ogden plant by 40 percent. Last year, a client awarded IAC the U.S. Government’s Small Business of the Year award and the company’s facility in Spain received a 2007 International Business Award for Best Satellite Facility. IAC is also in the Beta testing phase for a partial armored pre-fab package, which includes armoring all windows and doors.
With demand for fully armored vehicles growing at about 30 percent a year, IAC anticipates keeping busy and staying on the forefront of armoring technology, ensuring that whatever, or whoever is in a pre-fab vehicle will always be kept safe.
Let’s say you’ve got a great idea and all you need is a prototype of your invention to revolutionize the world. Enter Tangible Express and out pops your widget. Using computer driven lasers, the company has developed rapid manufacturing techniques suitable for the smallest gizmos as well as high-end parts for military or aerospace projects.
Instead of the traditional prototype process for an invention, which can be expensive and time consuming, Tangible Express can take an idea from concept to finished product in days. Developers use advanced creation technology that allows prototypes to be created as Computer Aided Design (CAD) files, then actually produced. The company also offers fractional ownership in its additive fabrication equipment for frequent users, the first manufacturing company to offer this option.
“Manufacturing 2.0 is reinventing people’s assumptions about the very nature of production,” says David McInnis, founder and chairman. “Today, any part or product you can imagine and create on a computer screen can become a reality to hold in your hand and put into use the very same week. The only remaining restraints are your own business dreams.”