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App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

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April 11, 2008 12:49 PM

From Lafayette: Broadband On Display On TechSouth Show Floor

TechSouth has come and gone but I wanted to share some of the things I saw while walking the show floor with my focus as always on all things broadband.

First off, there were a lot of companies offering businesses all forms of Internet services, from connectivity to hosting to data recovery to web design. Of course it’s a technology show so that’s not surprising but it’s also a good sign that there’s great demand for these services, meaning more and more businesses are engaging with the digital age. And beyond that, all this competition is driving greater investment in innovation as evidenced by the introduction of fabric computing by Abacus, as highlighted yesterday.

Second, Internet-enabled video security must be in the midst of booming as there were at least four companies selling some form of it, including Active Solutions, a manufacturer of cameras with an emphasis on wireless connectivity; a couple of more traditional systems integrators; and GOSN, makers of the SafetyBlanket. The thing about cameras is that they’re a tremendous example of why having lots of bandwidth is important because the less you have the less you can see ultimately meaning the less effective security can be.

Third, there were a couple of unique projects aimed at the oil industry, which has long dominated this areas economy.

One project is just that, a project rather than a company. Called the Ubiquitous Computing and Monitoring System, it’s a joint effort by the Department of Energy, state of Louisiana, and a number of colleges to develop a system for monitoring the pressure of undersea oil reservoirs using sensors that feed data wirelessly into a grid computing system that crunches the numbers into visual representations, which can help avoid problems and find new opportunities underground.

The other project is a new offering from MedXcel, is in the midst of introducing telemedicine services where they’ll locate medical diagnostic equipment on offshore oil rigs and leverage wireless connectivity to allow for patients to be diagnosed remotely. While installing this equipment on those rigs won’t be cheap, the cost savings could be huge as today seeing a doctor means getting on a helicopter to be flown back to shore, even if those chest pains you’re feeling are nothing more than heartburn.

Staying in the medical arena, another exhibitor was SurgiSys. My understanding of what they do is prepare healthcare providers to get accreditation and prepare their systems to take greater advantage of the digital age, ultimately allowing results from tests like echo ultrasound and carotid intervention to be viewed over the Internet from anywhere by doctors. Their emphasis didn’t seem overly broadband-centric, but in many ways it felt like what they do would be perfect for a healthcare system to prepare themselves for using teleradiology services, even though their focus is more on internal distribution today.

The highlight of the show for me was learning about the Academy of Information Technology at Carenco High School, who were exhibiting there. It’s a special four-year “school within a school” program that students apply for before entering high school and once accepted go through a separate track over their four years that focuses more heavily first on teaching the basics of a computer then moving up to web design and computer programming. At the end of the four years, they’re either ready to go on to more advanced courses in college or they can go directly into the workforce as the training they’ve received qualifies them for some really well-paying jobs.

In reading about them online I’ve learned that they’re the outgrowth of a much larger program called the National Academy Foundation which helps academies like this get started in high schools across the country.

I couldn’t be more excited about having found out about these programs as I’ve long lamented the lack of job skills training in high school and the fact that Carenco High has entire classes of students engaged with learning about computers and the Internet suggests that Lafayette will have a steady stream of young, inspired innovators at their disposal to help build and drive the economic engine of broadband-powered development in this area.

All in all, while I wasn’t overwhelmed with an array of cool broadband-based technologies at TechSouth, there were definitely some interesting things to find and a heavy sense of anticipation for what next year might bring as Lafayette continues on its path to becoming the digital center of Louisiana.


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