4 Colorado companies reflect on how their tech has evolved — and where they want to head next

by Joyce Famakinwa
June 13, 2018

Tech is synonymous with evolution, as companies constantly transform and adapt to the demands of the market. And having a good sense of history becomes important when figuring out what comes next. After all, you have to know where you started to know where you're going.  

We asked four tech companies to look back at their beginnings and tell us what they think the future holds. Here's what they had to say. 

 

SpotX team
photo via spotx

SpotX’s video inventory management platform enables advertisers, broadcasters, online publishers and media owners to analyze, buy and sell digital ads. Kevin Hunt, the company’s senior vice president of global marketing, filled us in on how the company’s tech has evolved over time.


How has the company's tech evolved since you launched?

SpotX began in 2007 as the first video advertising marketplace and, over the years, has expanded its technical capabilities considerably. In 2010, we launched our real-time bidding solution, which helps advertisers bid on video inventory through SpotX’s auction-based marketplace on an impression-by-impression basis. Later, we launched machine-learning auto-optimization technology to help optimize video ad campaigns, an ad skipping product for consumers and eventually debuted private marketplaces, which allow media owners to sell their inventory to advertisers on an invite-only basis.

In 2011, SpotX rolled out a programmatic tool suite for publishers wishing to gain insight into who their buyers are along with advanced insights to help them make smarter selling decisions — the first tool of its kind for video. The company later added outstream or in-feed ad units and a Direct Integrations Suite to its array of capabilities.

More recently, SpotX rolled out Video Player Bidding in conjunction with JW Player as well as a variety of ad campaign management features that dramatically change the way customers conduct business with SpotX.

It’s important that SpotX always stay agile because the advertising industry is constantly evolving.”


What's next for the company? Where is your tech headed in the future?

It’s important that SpotX always stay agile because the advertising industry is constantly evolving and as a technology company, we need to make sure that we are always providing the highest possible value to both media buyers and sellers.

In the future, our platform will become more sophisticated than ever before. At SpotX, we have our hands in a variety of different sectors, including over-the-top advertising for connected TV devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast, etc., and as the TV industry evolves, so shall we.

 

Tendril team
photo via tendril

Tendril delivers technology solutions to energy companies and utilities providers to raise energy awareness. Tendril CTO Jake Meier described the company’s journey from an energy-focused IoT company to where they are today.

 

How has the company's tech evolved since you launched?

Tendril began as an energy-focused IoT company, and we developed software and hardware, including smart thermostats and smart plugs. During that phase, we had a large, monolithic codebase that was designed to handle a single customer and was shipped on CD-ROM. Thankfully, we pivoted to focus purely on our software stack, and we underwent a fundamental rewrite. We now have a modern, multi-tenant, cloud-hosted architecture that makes extensive use of docker-deployed microservices and native AWS components, such as SQS, Kinesis and Fargate. Now rather than build hardware, we have partnerships with the top hardware providers including Nest and ecobee.

We're building on this foundation to rapidly expand on the library of insights to empower our utility partners through analytics and increase the impact of our product offerings.”

What's next for the company? Where is your tech headed in the future?

We’re focused on two types of changes: infrastructure and architecture. On the infrastructure side, we were an early adopter of Docker and have been running it in production for years. Initially, Amazon ECS, Kubernetes, and other solutions weren't ready for our use case, so we adopted Mesos/Marathon as the best solution at the time. Now that ECS and especially Amazon Fargate have evolved, we're actively migrating our solutions so that we can focus less on our infrastructure and more on our applications.

When it comes to architecture, we've developed amazingly useful models over the years that enable us to predict upcoming utility bills, breakdown electricity consumption by categories, and estimate customer interest in solar panels along with individual benefits of solar. We've recently consolidated these models into a set of Qubole/Spark clusters that are driven by Apache Airflow workflows. We're building on this foundation to rapidly expand on the library of insights to empower our utility partners through analytics and increase the impact of our product offerings. In the future, we expect to have more directed graph workflows and PySpark jobs and fewer transactional microservices.

 

Personal Capital team
photo via personal capital

Personal Capital’s decision management platform allows people to track their transactions, net worth and investment portfolios. Fritz Robbins, the company's CTO and CIO, talked to us about how a focus on user experience, infrastructure and big data is shaping the company’s future.

 

How has the company's tech evolved since you launched?

Because our mission is to bring clarity to people’s financial lives through technology and people, technology is one of the cornerstones of our business. We have evolved our technology with that purpose in mind, with a focus on user experience, infrastructure and big data. We put a premium on a quality user experience and as the web has evolved with HTML5 and responsive design, we have seized opportunities to create high-quality user experiences on the various devices they use to interact with us. We’ve also integrated new capabilities like notifications, SMS, chat, voice and video, keeping our users more connected to and educated about their finances. Finally, our infrastructure has ridden the cloud-first industry trend to great success. We started eight years ago in AWS and have continued to ride their increased maturity, as well as moving much of our enterprise IT (servers, directories, telephony, etc) into cloud services.

 

Because our mission is to bring clarity to people’s financial lives through technology and people, technology is one of the cornerstones of our business.”

What's next for the company? Where is your tech headed in the future?

We're finding new ways to apply technology, including deep data analytics and artificial intelligence, to create better financial planning experiences for Americans. We believe this is the future of wealth management. On the back end, we continue to work on our technology infrastructure, riding the trends of microservices, cloud PAAS (Platform As A Service), and operations automation to make our systems more reliable and secure, while increasing our velocity of innovation and product release.

 

EMS Software team
photo via ems software

EMS Software is a resource management platform that allows educational facilities and enterprise-level business to collaborate and manage meeting scheduling. According to Senior Product Manager Thomas Allen, the company has evolved from a simple database to a “source of truth” for their clients.

 

How has the company's tech evolved since you launched?

EMS Software began over 30 years ago as a simple tool to manage space and event information and has evolved to become the industry-leading workspace management platform for the enterprise and the campus. With nearly limitless integration possibilities, EMS Software has transformed from a simple database to the source of truth for global real estate utilization and optimization.

 

With nearly limitless integration possibilities, EMS Software has transformed from a simple database to the source of truth for global real estate utilization and optimization.”

What's next for the company? Where is your tech headed in the future?

Our focus is to continue to enhance the platform through architecture, integrations and user experience. EMS Platform Services provides a RESTful interface for partners and customers to expand and customize the EMS experience with the latest technologies. We’re focusing on making EMS available from the ubiquitous tools touched by millions of users every day, while also utilizing machine learning and the platform’s abundant data to make the EMS experience more natural, intelligent and functional. 

 

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