May 19 2010

Let Innovation Be Your Guide


Photo: Matthew Gilson

At a time when companies are working harder than ever to do more with less, it’s good to know that innovation is still top of mind, helping companies drive their business and reach their goals.

This is especially true at Pictometry International, a company that captures aerial imagery for customers such as insurance companies. When Pictometry recognized that its resources could serve more than just its clients, it offered to assist government agencies with disaster relief efforts, most recently by sending a plane to Haiti. Pictometry took about 50,000 images and aided volunteers by providing information about the disaster zone from a bird’s-eye view.

“We’ve created an alliance between what we do for the government and what we do for business customers, so everyone wins in terms of being able to help with disasters,” says Dan Pennacchia, Pictometry’s chief marketing officer.

“It was about the time that Hurricane Charley hit that we realized that we had the capability,” he says. “We also realized that in times of need, people are struggling to figure things out. So we had the abilities, and they needed what we had. It made sense.”

To read more about how Pictometry is using technology in both its for-profit and volunteer efforts, read “Tech to the Rescue.”

Above and Beyond

Where Pictometry is providing an eye in the sky, Paragon Space Development has turned its focus toward Earth’s orbit and beyond. The Tucson, Ariz., firm engineers life-support and thermal systems for Earth’s most extreme conditions and for space travel. The company’s endeavors include projects such as developing an aquatic life-support chamber for Biosphere 2 and designing a greenhouse for an ecological experiment on Mars.

Not surprisingly, Paragon’s efforts rely on technology to support and streamline its processes. A storage area network and data deduplication help Paragon manage the large amounts of data it produces; while server consolidation helps it control costs. For more on Paragon’s initiatives, read “The Final Frontier.”

Whether those innovative ideas for business apply to the shop on the corner or experiments in space, it’s important that entrepreneurs keep their passion and focus and reach for the stars.

Ryan Petersen