Intermap – Mapping the surface of the world from 35,000 ft
Intermap may have started way back in 1922 as a surveying company, but nothing about this company is old. As time advanced Intermap built itself into a sophisticated geospatial technology company, with ambitions to do nothing less than scan the surface of the entire world.
To fulfill those ambitions, Intermap “possesses a unique radar system,” said CEO Todd Oseth. “We have a couple of Lear Jets with radar that can obtain terrain information from about 35,000 ft. and we acquire about 8,000 to 10,000 meter swath” of terrain data at per scan.
The radar scans are accurate, to less than .5 meters in vertical accuracy, and Intermap “can take entire countries and understand the data in a matter of weeks,” said Oseth.
In fact, “We have captured all of the US, Western Europe, significant parts of south east Asia, small parts of Africa, and parts of South America,” said Oseth
All of that high-sky scanning of the earth’s surface generates some serious data and makes Intermap into something of a big data company too. “We may go thru ten terabytes of data just to deliver what we’re after,” said Oseth.
And how is all this useful?
Oseth said, “the people who use our data are everyone from gamers that want realistic experiences to people who create roads.”
In fact after radar scanning an area the company “partners with people who take images from outer space and the 3D imagery is draped across the terrain,” said Oseth.
The company has seen a lot of demand in Asia lately, as that continent needs a lot of mapping data to coordinate infrastructure construction, the planning of new government services and city planning. “They need to have a good foundation for 3D everything,” said Oseth.
To keep this worldwide, geospatial company moving, Intermap keeps several headquarters around the world and employs dozens of geospatial engineers and computer scientists.
Looking to the future Oseth said the company looks forward to filling out the rest of the world map. Because “There’s still a lot of parts of the world we don’t have data on.”
NIMBL – Leaving something behind
Usually, when people think about consultants they think about jargon, long overrunning projects or ‘The Bob’s,’ from Office Space, the infamous duo that downsized fictional Initech.
NIMBL, an SAP consultancy and vendor, works hard to avoid those stereotypes by taking an approach that its peers too often avoid. That is NIMBL works hard to leave you knowing more than before you first met them.
CEO Yosh Eisbart said, the company’s approach, “It’s not the break-fix, the ticket taking, the 3:00 am phone call; it is more strategic.”
What differentiates NIMBL "is our true embedding with the customer. Our customers see us as the trusted SAP advisor and we believe very strongly in teaching a person to fish. We believe in teaching our customers specifically what we are doing.”
While this may seem a bit like consultant jargon, what NIMBL is doing represents a larger trend in the consulting and Software as a Service industry. People are not just willing to pay endless consulting fees or subscription costs anymore, they want to feel plugged into experts, professionals who are always looking into the future on their behalf.
As technology is now advancing so rapidly, the ability of any one company to rest on their technical knowledge or capabilities is becoming increasingly difficult. For example, part of the allure of subscription services like Salesforce.com is not just what you get now, but also what you will get in the future. Salesforce tacitly promises its customers that every quarter their software will improve and new features will be added. Customers pay to be setup to receive that extra value.
The same is true of NIMBL. While an old style consultancy or ERP vendor might try to drag projects out or hide technical knowledge from their customers, for NIMBL to be at the forefront it has to promise, not only what it can deliver today but something great tomorrow too.
Not surprisingly the approach is a hit with customers. “They’re loving it because they’re learning it and becoming experts,” said Eisbart.
Stretchr – The building blocks for complex applications
“We are like the Legos of application development,” said CEO Christian Wolfe. “Our software collapses development times, that could take months, down to days and hours.”
Stretchr, a startup barely a year old, is working on drastically changing the way applications are developed in a NoSQL environment.
The company’s software is mainly used by media and entertainment customers, incuding several other major media brands.
What makes the software intriguing for developers is the speed at which applications can be built. Currently, Wolfe said, “most people are following the old application building process like designing schemas, which takes 85% of your time.”
Stretchr’s technology works by cutting a lot of this out using the equivalent of pre-fabricated units. Wolfe said these building blocks cut down on application development time so drastically the company is often faced with skeptics.
“Most people don’t believe it when they see it, but there hasn’t been an app we’ve built in more than five days,” said Wolfe. In fact, “it usually just takes four to six hours.”
“The technology is really disruptive,” said Wolfe.
And Colorado is the perfect place for a company like Stretchr. Wolfe said, “what’s great about Colorado is the talent pool is really strong. What’s more, people in Boulder want to help people in Boulder. It’s an entrepreneurial community that really gets jazzed by helping people.”