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Yearly Archives: 2002

Tips & Tricks

By Jeff Vedders
 
Many of us are faced with the challenge of managing our multiple communication channels, especially email. Here are some tips we’ve learned about using email that may be helpful to you.
 
1. Use the built in rules within software such as Outlook to set up filters to sort your mail into folder by sender, topic and source. Set up folders for each of your key projects can help you prioritize your time.
2. Limit the length of your email and communicate the key points within the first three sentences. Longer message perhaps should be done as a phone call or in person.
3. Consider using wireless technology such as the Blackberry to allow you to whittle down you inbox while traveling.

4. Use a service that allows for the use of Web Mail so that you can access your mail from any Internet browser.

5. Flag important message for future review using the flag feature within your email software.

Another issue many economic development practitioners are faced with is how to continue producing results with diminishing resources. Database marketing, the use of targeted list of companies, has become one of the most efficient and effective methods of generating prospects according to a recent study. By focusing resources on those firms with a need to relocate or expand their operations, economic development practitioners have been able to maximize the use of their limited resources. Our website, www.whittakerassociates.com, contains several case studies of how this methodology has been used.

Why is Biotechnology a Hot Topic?

By Katie Terpstra

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) defines biotechnology as “the use of the cellular and molecular processes to solve problems or make products.” Applications of biotechnology include healthcare, agriculture, food processing, industrial processes, biological systems and life sciences research.

1. Biotechnology has been called the next industrial revolution. Since its inception in the late 1970’s, biotechnology has emerged as a key industry that strengthens U. S. competitiveness in an increasingly global economy and affects the quality of life for millions of Americans. A wave of major new biologic drugs is on schedule to be approved by the FDA and launched by biotech firms beginning in the second half of 2001 and extending into 2003, ushering in a new stage of rapid growth in product sales for the industry.

2. Biotech firms are hiring like mad. Despite the overall economic downturn, the industry added 12,000 jobs last year and companies plan to keep hiring through 2002. The industry’s counter-cyclical nature and the fact that young companies are moving from drug research to drug development contribute to this growth.

3. Biotech firms are profiting like mad. Standard & Poor’s projects that revenue for public biotech companies will grow to $31 billion in 2002, from an estimated $25 billion in 2001.

4. Biotech growth is not just a fad. Two important trends-the aging of baby boomers and the lengthening of life expectancy-indicate long-term growth of the biotech industry. The World Health Organization (WHO) has projected that age-related ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are likely to cause about three-quarters of all deaths in developing countries in 2020.

5. Biotech plays a major role in biodefense. The events of September 11 and the anthrax attacks thrust biotechnology even further into the spotlight and accelerated efforts to be able to combat deadly biological agents.

Biotechnology has made its name with genetically engineered medicine and transgenic crops. Now that these applications are well on their way to commercialization, companies will begin applying molecular biology to the industrial arena. Look for industrial biotech to become one the next hot phrases.

Sources & Links:

web.mit.edu

www.bio.org

www.business2.com

www.who.int

Standard & Poor’s

Wi-Fi: The Potential and The Reality

By Jeff Kelley

Wireless. They’ve been talking about it for years: the possibilities, the access, the sheer brilliance of being able to review a proposal in the middle of a river in Montana and then send it out. We’ve been promised a lot, but haven’t seen a viable service. For a myriad of reasons common standards are hard to come by. But now 802.11b is offering a range of solutions.

The Technology

802.11 is a family of standard for wireless communications. It resides on the 2.4 GHz microwave band designated by the FCC for low-power devices. It is an unlicensed area of bandwidth that anyone can use.

802.11b, which is the most popular of the family, has potential for 11 Mbps, but averages 6.5 to 8 Mbps, still about 100 times faster than dial-up. All that is required is a “hotspot” or Wireless Access Point connected to a network that a 802.11b card in your notebook or handheld can find. The range is currently about 300 yards.

The potential for this standard of wireless is great and everyone knows it. For instance, Microsoft has already incorporated 802.11 support into XP, and they are working with Intel to introduce it into their Pocket PC’s. You know that when Microsoft starts to do something it’s a proven technology. Large companies already use 802.11b for wireless networks on their campuses. But some companies are working to make it available to the rest of the world.

Applications

Wi-Fi is also making a splash in the world outside of corporate campuses. Boingo is one company trying to offer a for-pay service for wireless connectivity in hotels, airports, and other public places across the country. For as little as $25/ month you can access the Internet anywhere with a “hotspot” or access point. Ironically, the San Francisco Airport, as close as it is to Silicon Valley, doesn’t have capability! There is also an altruistic movement afoot in major cities to offer free Internet service in public spaces such as parks and building lobbies to people who are Wi-Fi capable. Coffee shops are beginning to offer the service as an amenity to their patrons. Non-profit organizations are offering support and resources for companies, people and government organizations interested in participating in this free-wireless movement. Major commercial ventures, such as AT&T, are aiding groups such as NYC Wireless. For example, in sniffing out the hotspots (a technical term for searching out wireless access points) in the New York City area revealed 5,000 802.11b transmitters. But when they mapped the locations of these points there was a black hole in Harlem. So NYC Wireless started working with the parks service of New York to place transmitters in parks and public spaces for anyone to access, not just those on corporate campuses.

The future of commercial Wi-Fi is yet to be seen. Following the loss of the World Trade Center towers, Verizon worked hard to re-establish the lost service. But it was the ad hoc wireless networks via Wi-Fi in lower Manhattan that reestablished service and enabled companies to be connected quickly and efficiently. Commercial wireless service is in a sorry state. Metricom, which tried to offer the service, went bankrupt. Telco companies are ready to offer a wireless Internet connection at 128 Kbps, but that really isn’t an option for speeds sake. For a company to install a nationwide infrastructure to provide such a service would cost an estimated $1 billion. The only option is to share.

Groups around the country are encouraging the proliferation and sharing of network service. Groups like FreeNet.org provide resources and information for anyone interested-companies, individuals, or economic areas wanting to provide such an asset to people. Community groups are banding together to promote Wi-Fi networks. All across America, people with a non-dial-up connection to the Internet are connecting neighbors and areas together, overcoming various obstacles in deciding how to access the Internet when their location is out of an Internet Service Provider’s territory.

Disruptive Technology

It’s no surprise that this non-commercial upwelling in the use of Wi-Fi is bound to upset everyone from Telco companies to Microsoft’s .Net future. Wi-Fi is fast and cheap for anyone with the hardware and Internet technology. It works against everything associated with the Internet as a commercial venture, from Internet billing models to security proponents advocating full-disclosure. As we move closer to a wired world, technologies like this are bound to change the way we think about our resources.

A few links:

http://80211b.weblogger.com

www.nycwireless.net

www.freenetworks.org

www.boingo.com

www.joltage.com

Understanding Value-Added Manufacturing

By Jeff Vedders

We’ve had many clients request that we target value-added manufacturing companies recently. What is value-added?

“Value-added is an economic term to express the difference between the value of goods and the cost of materials or supplies that are used in producing them. It is a measure of economic activity which eliminates the duplication inherent in the sales value figure which results from the use of products of some establishments as materials or services by others. Value added is thus defined as the gross receipts of a firm minus the cost of goods and services purchased from other firms. Value added includes wages, salaries, interest, depreciation, rent, taxes and profit”

Source: Personal communication from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Fisheries Statistics and Economic Division, Silver Spring, MD

What does this all mean? Companies with high value added in their manufacturing process require employees with higher skill levels; thus these companies may offer jobs with higher wages.

Examples include of value added manufacturing include:

Pharmaceuticals

Organic and inorganic chemical manufacturing

Plastics manufacturing

Semiconductors

Computer manufacturing

Communications equipment manufacturing

Surgical and medical instruments manufacturing

Automotive parts

Aviation parts

Source: General Summary 1997 Economic Census Manufacturing Summary Series, U.S. Department of Commerce, Donald L. Evans, Secretary

Featured Website: Google.com

By Jeff Kelley

We love Google. We all use it here at Whittaker Associates and have found that it is the most useful search engine for finding whatever it is we are looking for. It looks like a straightforward search engine, but there is a lot more to Google than the simple search box and logo.

How does Google do it?

Google produces results based on a sorting system called PageRank™. PageRank claims to be “uniquely democratic.” It produces results based on votes that pages cast when they are linked together. For example Google sees one page linked to another as one vote, by page 1 for page 2. It also analyzes the content of the page that casts the vote. More important pages that cast votes weigh more heavily. But what it comes down to for me is that the more popular pages come up first, rather than pages highly ranked because someone has purchased a spot as an advertisement (www.google.com/technology/index.html).

Relevant Results

Unlike other sites that have banners and sponsor links at the top, Google doesn’t let marketing clutter your results. It’s fair, and that’s nice for the little guy. And because it’s democratic, Google weeds out sites which aren’t as useful, such as those that come up through metatag manipulation.

Even I Misspell a Word Once in Awhile.

Google uses a spell check and offers to search for the suggested spelling. I don’t know how many times I’ve been saved from rifling through pages for something that I misspelled, er mistyped.

Check out Google’s example of how it has helped many Britney Spears fans: www.google.com/jobs/britney.html

Other Features

Google offers a number of different ways to get at the information that you are looking for. My favorite is the Google Toolbar that IE users can add (http://toolbar.google.com). You can quickly search without returning to Google’s site. They also offer searches for wireless devices like WAP, web-enabled phones or handhelds (http://www.google.com/options/wireless.html). You can also add Google to your website to search the contents for free (www.google.com/services/free.html). And if you are really impressed with that, you can add the Google search appliance to your network (www.google.com/appliance).

If you’ve ever visited Google on a holiday or an artist’s birthday, you know its clever logos are fun to click on.

If you like another search engine we’d like to know why and how you use it.