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StartUp Weekend wades through pretenders, crowns clear favorites

Forty eight pitches. That's how StartUp Weekend Philadelphia began this past Friday. The majority were riffs on already popular sites: Groupon plus GPS. Craigslist for skill bartering. Priceline for retail shoppers. From the start, there were a few standouts. The top prize, sponsored by the Philadelphia law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, was $2,500 in legal resources, and second and third place were in line for $1,000 in credit at the firm. StartUp Weekends happen all over the globe and Clint Nelsen, one of the directors of the Seattle-based nonprofit that bears their name, says that up to 20 StartUp events might happen simultaneously worldwide. The entrepreneurial incubator approach is gaining momentum. This week, President Obama announced the launch of the StartUp America Initiative, "a core component of President Obama's national innovation strategy for achieving sustainable growth and quality jobs."

While the most compelling ideas at StartUp Philly would make mincemeat out of an average person's brains, the gathered crowd of developers, MBAs, designers, coders and hackers went wild. A couple of pitches received laughs but were nonstarters, like 8sOrBetter, a dating website for highly rated singles.

You never saw so many tabs open on browsers. Laptops and caffeine: check, check. The soaring three story Solmssen Court at the University of the Arts held clusters of coders, some working straight through to dawn. From the initial 48 pitches, participants voted to continue with 13. Two projects garnered much peer praise: Git Hacking, a service designed to add a social layer to GitHub, a popular website which pairs developers with projects, helmed by Chris Baglieri with team members Josiah Kiehl, John Bunting and Aaron Feng; and LaunchRock, a simple "coming soon" web page design with a viral twist, asking for user email as well as social media participation, from Jameson Detweiler and Stephen Gill.

Sunday afternoon, just 48 hours later, it was pitch time. In a room crowded to capacity with startup teams and venture capitalists, most pitches followed standard protocol: identify the need; provide industry stats; and offer the solution. In the case of both Git Hacking and LaunchRock, which were designed and went live over the weekend, presenters were able to produce impressive real time stats: within a matter of hours, both sites had drawn hundreds of participants, and Git Hacking made the top of Hacker News headlines.

Judges deliberated briefly and the crowd-pleasing Git Hacking won first prize, followed by LaunchRock. Coming in third was Artwork Evolution, a collaborative iPhone/iPad app to create art without advanced skills. StartUp Weekend judge Stephen Goodman, an attorney at Morgan Lewis and Penn Law professor, said that the top two were clear winners, and there were five or six others vying for third place. Paul Solt's Artwork Evolution clinched the title because it offered a clear profit structure, according to Goodman. All three of the winning projects are now live, and you can follow their progress on Twitter: @githacking, @getlaunchrock and @artworkevolve.

Source: Clint Nelsen, StartUp Weekend, Stephen Goodman, Morgan Lewis
Writer: Sue Spolan

Flying Bytes: Car Show opens, Beyond Abstract, growth at LLR, pulse of Pulsar

Flying Bytes is innovation nuggets from around Greater Philadelphia:

: there's been a huge increase in eco-friendly automotive offerings, all on display at the 2011 Philadelphia International Auto Show, but Ford goes one better, offering recycled denim seat cloth on some 2012 models, according to Violet Marley, who represents the car maker at the convention, which runs through Feb. 11. Also, this just in from The Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia: 2011 show attendance jumped 28.4 percent from last year's opening weekend. That translates to 65,984 attendees in just two days, the third largest tally in the show's history.

DRIVEN TO ABSTRACTION: This is the last week you can catch Beyond Abstraction at the Center For Emerging Visual Artists at 1521 Locust Street, Philadelphia. Curated by Katrin Elia, the group show gathers the work of eight contemporary artists working in a range of media from canvas to video. While most shows begin with a subject in search of an artist, says Elia, Beyond Abstraction gathered artists first and came up with the umbrella concept later.

CAR POOL EQUITY: LLR Partners, a private equity mezzanine finance company, continues to grow, announcing four new hires this week. Jack Slye is the firm's new Vice President; Irene Lisyansky and Brian Berkin are LLR's newest Senior Associates, and Scott Williams takes the lead as Senior Analyst. LLR manages over $1.4 billion, providing interim and secondary financing to middle market companies in the 'financial, health care and business services, information technology, and education." Recently, LLR invested in Avenues: The World School, a private K-12 to open its flagship in Manhattan, with schools planned for major cities around the world.

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE EXPANSION: Pulsar Informatics, a research facility that specializes in the "assessment of cognitive performance and fatigue risk management," has outgrown its original space in the University Science Center Port Business Incubator and is moving to quarters that are triple the size on the Science Center's campus. Pulsar's fatigue assessment tools are now in use by the Department of Defense, The Federal Aviation Administration, and NASA, among others.

Source: Violet Marley, Ford; Katrin Elia, Beyond Abstraction; LLR Partners, Pulsar Informatics
Writer: Sue Spolan

PhillyCAM's plans include state-of-the-art studio near Independence Mall

From bars and tone to brick and mortar in a matter of months, PhillyCAM, the city's new public access television station, is moving to permanent headquarters in a former photography studio in Center City. While PhillyCAM, which is short for Philadelphia Community Access Media, took 27 years of activism to establish, it's about to set down roots at 7th and Ranstead, just a block west of Independence Mall.

Back in the 1980s, when the city's cable providers moved in, franchise agreements called for dedicated public access channels. But it took years of grassroots efforts to make the bandwidth a reality. In October 2009, with Gretjen Clausing taking the lead as Executive Director, PhillyCAM began broadcasting on Comcast and Verizon, and in mid 2010 opened up a temporary facility at The Painted Bride in Old City. With a growing roster of 230 member contributors, Clausing says PhillyCAM's programming schedule now runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Premiering this week are two youth produced programs: Girls Talk TV and the 30 minute drama Double Lives.

Membership, open to all area residents, provides programming privileges. Any member can submit a program, says Antoine Haywood, Membership and Outreach Director. In order to use cameras and editing equipment, members become certified through workshops, or by placing out with a qualifying exam.

PhillyCAM facility will boast an express studio for live shots that's visible from the street, a commons, a media lab, editing suites and a 1,000 square foot sound stage for larger productions. The project, designed by Center City's Metcalfe Architecture, is set to begin within the next few weeks, and scheduled for completion in June.

Source: Gretjen Clausing, Antoine Haywood, PhillyCAM
Writer: Sue Spolan

ServePhiladelphia connects volunteers with opportunities

You've got to serve somebody. That's the message of newly launched ServePhiladelphia. It's an easy to use database that connects free people with places in need. Pick an area of interest from a pull down menu: Community Building, Education, Health, Leadership, Sustainability and more, and choose from dozens of projects that need your help. Selections run the gamut from gardening in the Wissahickon, to food distribution, to helping the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia translate English language guides into Vietnamese.

A city-led initiative, ServePhiladelphia launched this past Saturday, kicking off at the Free Library of Philadelphia with a project to get books to children learning to read. The initiative has a three part mission: to "create or elevate volunteer opportunities that impact educational outcomes and contribute to community vitality, to make it easier for citizens of every age to volunteer, and to support both public and private sector efforts to engage more volunteers in ways that have the greatest impact," according to Mayor Michael Nutter's kickoff message.

Nutter also announced the 2011 Volunteer Impact Challenge, with a three-time-a-year recognition ceremony for participants. Registration for ServePhiladelphia is simple, and allows citizens to bookmark interesting assignments as well as track hours. The initiative also has a Facebook page.

ServePhiladelphia is made possible by a Cities of Service Leadership Grant, allowing the hire of Catie C. Wolfgang, the City's first Chief Service Officer, and the establishment of the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service. Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition founded in New York City by 17 mayors working together to increase volunteerism. From its inception in 2009, Cities of Service now counts over 100 mayors in its ranks.

Source: Mayor Michael Nutter, ServePhiladelphia
Writer: Sue Spolan

Flying Bytes: Penn's power, Basecamp app, and vegan lunch

Flying Bytes is a weekly roundup of innovation news nuggets:

TGIVF: Miss Rachel's Lunch Pantry announces The Downtown Lunch Club, a new uber-healthy weekly lunch delivery service for Center City. Choose from three vegan options, pay just $10 via PayPal, order by Thursday, and get delivery to home or office on Friday. Coming soon: The Navy Yard Lunch Club.

Penn Players: The University of Pennsylvania plays a significant role in the growth of Philadelphia and the region, according to an upcoming report. This week's Penn Current newsletter highlights the statewide economic impact of Penn in 2010, Philadelphia's largest private employer, which "translates into $14.1 billion, and that number reflects a 46.5 percent increase since 2005," when the last report was issued.

Back to Basecamp: Basecamp Business has released the Business Calendar Network app for Android. Joining recent mobile app releases for iPhone and iPad, the Android app allows entrepreneurs to search for upcoming networking events by location and type, and lets users know if they can get their grub on.

Nutter for the Arts: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has long been a proud supporter of the city's art scene, with strong ties to the Mural Arts Program and Philly's music community. This week Nutter received the 2011 Public Leadership in the Arts Award, hosted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Americans for the Arts. Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson also received the award.

Cultural Cash Flow: The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance announced 40 winners of Project Stream seed grants, totaling more than $95,000. Local nonprofit arts groups and performers include Crossroads Music, Delaware County Community College and The Youth Orchestra of Bucks County. Recipients receive up to $3,000 each, and the initiative is funded by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' (PCA) Partners in the Arts program, with additional support from PECO.

Writer: Sue Spolan

SUMO Heavy Industries makes a big dent in eCommerce

In addition to its catchy name, Philadelphia's SUMO Heavy Industries also has a catchy concept: Select just one vital piece of web development and turn that expertise into a whole company. Bart Mroz and associates Robert Brodie and John Suder focus strictly on digital commerce. In just eight months, SUMO is doing brisk business, marketing through word of mouth, relying on social networks, skype and blogging instead of office furniture and overhead.

There's a little bit of bad boy in the ring, as evidenced by a recent blog post titled "Why We Choose Not to Be a Certified Magento Partner," giving the company a line in the sand quality reminiscent of a certain local jeweler's hateful billboard ads.

Chat with Bart Mroz, founder and partner of SUMO Heavy, and find that indeed Magento, boasting $25 billion in transactions, is SUMO's primary eCommerce platform. The line of independence is drawn like this: "Magento is a framework. If you become a partner, you are obligated to sell a certain number of licenses," says Mroz. "Sometimes we don't use Magento."

SUMO Heavy wants the flexibility of customizing client solutions via service providers including Rackspace, hosting.com, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). That way, says Mroz, "If a framework or technology changes, we can change with it."

To sell the full service eCommerce package, the trio provides branding, design, development and marketing. Their latest projects include a total redesign for Robinson Luggage, and they've just signed with a "huge automotive products distributor;" details of the deal to be divulged upon launch.

Source: Bart Mroz, SUMO Heavy Industries
Writer: Sue Spolan

Where's the party? PhillySpaceFinder tells all

Party people need party places and PhillySpaceFinder hits the spot. With 163 venues in its database, PhillySpaceFinder is a powerful, free, and flexible tool to help groups, meetings, weddings, and performance events locate the perfect room.

The service began as a paperback guide called The Space Directory back in the early 1990s, published by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. Bringing the listing online creates a searchable database. According to Karim Olaechea, Public Relations Manager for the Cultural Alliance, the quest for a venue starts by narrowing down by type and specific neighborhood or radius around a zip code. "There's a lot of really key information about each space, including dimensions, cost, capacity, and permitted uses. Once you find a place, you can see what activities are allowed, if there are restrictions, hours of operation and overall policies." Each listing provides direct contact information.

PhillySpaceFinder is a joint effort co-sponsored by GPCA, the Theater Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia Music Project and Dance USA Philadelphia. The effort grew out of NYC Performing Arts Spaces, a similar initiative pioneered by the nonprofit umbrella group FracturedAtlas, but the Philadelphia version adds venue photos, interactive maps, and the ability to mark favorites and save searches.

Olaechea adds that "it's also a great resource for the venues themselves, because they can use the directory to get real revenues." There is no charge to list a space on the directory.

Source: Karim Olaechea, GPCA

Writer: Sue Spolan

SEPTA on track for real-time bus info

SEPTA has a cure for the bus stop blues. "We're very close to rolling out our full-scale program for real-time bus information," according to SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch. SEPTA's BusView will revolutionize rider experience, using GPS tracking and online maps to provide detailed data on the current whereabouts of street level public transit. The BusView beta version is now live, with just two routes, 33 and 109. The system recognizes the position of buses every three minutes, and then BusView refreshes location information. The full scale version is just weeks away from rollout. Busch says, "Getting this type of real-time online feature for buses is a big undertaking. We have approximately 120 bus routes and 15,000 bus stops throughout the system, so it's a lot of data to process and get organized into something that is both reliable and user-friendly." 

SEPTA already offers a Regional Rail tracking function called TrainView, but it's a basic list of trains and status, not the enhanced map BusView promises. There's a mobile version of TrainView -- no word at this time whether BusView will provide info on the go as well. The big difference between the two modes of transit, and the reason BusView offers such great value to riders, is traffic variability. Buses, unlike their rail-bound counterparts, are subject to countless delays due to congestion, construction and accidents.

To use the prototype version of BusView, a rider calls up the master map, selects the bus route from a pull down menu at the top of the page, and clicks on a bus icon to see the actual number of the bus en route, the direction the bus is traveling, and the time the bus reported being at a specific location. Busch says BusView aims to be "a comprehensive, regular resource for our riders covering all bus routes."

Source: Andrew Busch, SEPTA
Writer: Sue Spolan

Breadboard helps city get Augmented Reality check through public art

When technology and art get it on, virtual sparks fly. Breadboard/EKG at the University City Science Center is calling for artists to participate in two public art projects that integrate mobile devices. The first, called DIS*LOCATIONS, "uses art to spiff up abandoned, vacated storefronts," says Dan Schimmel, Director of Breadboard. The second, Virtual Art @PIFA, is billed as "a series of site-specific virtual artworks throughout the city of Philadelphia," to be viewed via The Virtual Public Art Project's free Layar App for most iPhone and Android smart phone devices.

DIS*LOCATIONS is part of the City of Philadelphia's ReStore Corridors through Art program and is sponsored by The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, in partnership with Breadboard and Drexel's Center for Mobilities Research. According to Schimmel, each DIS*LOCATIONS artist will be assigned an empty storefront, and will either create an installation inside the shop window or design a scrim to overlay the exterior surface of the building. Here's where technology comes into play: a QR code, which is a version of the bar code that smart phones can read, will accompany each artwork. Schimmel says passers by will use their phones to take a picture of the code and direct them to a website, as well as point to other projects in a walking path. DIS*LOCATIONS becomes a technology driven street art exhibit that's also a walking tour, meant to engage existing businesses and create new foot traffic.

Virtual Art @ PIFA is part of the upcoming citywide Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts which begins in April. Artists are asked to create virtual installations connected to real places in the city. "In Augmented Reality," says Schimmel, an artwork "could be floating over the South Street Bridge, or sitting in Rittenhouse Square." A smart phone running the Layar app recognizes GPS coordinates, and a 3D image appears on the screen. Schimmel has been deep into Augmented Reality, or AR, since Breadboard and the Virtual Public Art Project (VPAP) collaborated on a pilot project last November. "AR seems to be on the verge of changing our lives in terms of commercial and social activity." For example, says Schimmel, "If you go to a museum with a smart phone and view a mummy in a glass case, AR provides immersive enhancement to the exhibit. An animated mummy could walk out, and proceed to do things that would be customary for that time period." Or imagine walking into a shopping mall where you are identified as a potential customer. Retailers will send images and messages tailored to your profile and location.

Deadline for both applications is mid-February.

Source: Dan Schimmel, Breadboard

Writer: Sue Spolan

Yoh report: Increase in tech temps, wages good signs for region's job market

Job prospects for Philadelphia's professional temps are on the way up, suggesting that the larger employment market is gaining strength. The Q4 Yoh Index of Technology Wages was just released, and Joel Capperella, Yoh's Vice President of Client Solutions, is optimistic about the future of Delaware Valley wage earners. He reports that the Philadelphia market is on an even more positive upswing compared to the U.S. data; the number of jobs filled "ended up the year at 5 percent higher," and in technical professional wages, the December 2010 wage rate was five percent higher than in December of 2009. Capperella, who writes The Seamless Workforce blog for Yoh, the global Center City-based staffing firm, terms it a record year for temporary placements.

Having a temporary instead of full-time assignment can feel somewhat unstable, although Capperella asserts that the stigma is being lifted as job seekers find that short term assignments allow them to try out a job without the long term commitment.

"If you're a degreed professional, temporary employment gives you the flexibility to test the waters, gain new experience, and develop skills on the side." Yoh provides its temps with benefits and full time employee tax status, rather than the more common 1099 independent contractor status, thereby alleviating some of the stress of short term placement. Says Capperella: "In this region, you have to be the steward of your own opportunity."

The Q4 Yoh Index is a broad, nationwide assessment of employer demand for highly skilled workers. At the end of 2010, figures "turned positive after retreating for all three months in the third quarter, with hourly wages jumping 4.31 percent from November 2010 to December 2010."  Yoh has been tracking the wage movements of professional level temporary employees since 2001. Yoh, which is a Day and Zimmermann Company, places professionals in engineering, life sciences and technology jobs.

Hardwired for wireless: Exton's WPCS International continues enormous growth

Ahh, wireless. The world has come to rely on its invisible, endlessly connected networks. It is the tangible part, the solid, nuts and bolts infrastructure, that we don't see, but it's this hardware that feeds our need for increasing speed and portability. This is what makes WPCS International Incorporated,a company with over $100 million in annual revenue and a current market cap of $19.68 million, one of the fastest growing in Greater Philadelphia.

The publicly traded Exton company  recently announced approximately $10.7 million in new contracts with businesses in the public service, healthcare and energy sectors. This is on the heels of multi-million dollar contract announcements nearly every month of 2010. WPCS counts as its clients major concerns, such as entire towns, tribal nations and national energy providers. Andrew Hidalgo, Chairman and CEO, says that from the company's inception in 2002, WPCS has experienced steady growth, starting with three employees in its Exton headquarters, and gaining international status through organic growth and acquisitions of 19 companies; WPCS now employs over 500 people on three continents. According to CTIA, The Wireless Association, there are now nearly 300 million wireless subscribers in the United States alone.

WPCS designs and deploys wireless networks, providing design-build engineering services for specialty communication systems, which are dedicated wireless networks for specified applications, and for wireless infrastructure, which encompasses commercial cellular systems for wireless carriers. The company's range of services includes site design, spectrum analysis, engineering, trenching, electrical work, structured cabling, product integration, testing and project management.

In a large metropolitan area like Greater Philadelphia, businesses and individuals take high speed internet connectivity for granted. But there are wide swaths of America with little or no connection. No bars, no calls, no Google on the go. A quick check on the U.S Government's National Broadband Plan website shows that outside of major cities, high speed internet availability is slim to none, and slim just walked out the door. This is where WPCS arrives like an e-cavalry, blazing across America's frontiers, anointing needy towns and citizens in the technological red zones of the country.

Andrew Hidalgo, WPCS International Inc.
Sue Spolan

Next-generation DrexelOne Mobile brings more of the campus to more smartphones

Drexel University's rollout of its next-generation mobile portal, DrexelOne Mobile, which provides secure access to time-sensitive information for students, faculty, and staff, encompasses six native apps available in all of the major app stores; a richer GPS-enabled native mobile application is due in the spring.

DrexelOne Mobile leads the higher education smartphone app world on several fronts. It's the only university portal that works on all current smartphone platforms, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm webOS, Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7. Dr. John Bielec, Vice President and CIO at Drexel University says that "in today's fast-changing mobile technology landscape, students demand choice and flexibility in platform, vendor, and carrier selection. Mobile technology is consumer driven and no longer able to be dictated by an institution or a single vendor." Even more compelling than the multi-platform approach are DrexelOne Mobile's personalized capabilities, which will only get richer with the launch of the next version. The end user now has access to an incredibly detailed view of campus life, from real time updates on grades, to the next arriving shuttle bus. Drexel students can check course schedules, assignments and due dates, current DragonCard balances, and Dining Center menu. All have access to critical university alerts, a campus directory and map, athletic scores, school news, and the popular Candid Campus photo project.

Kenneth S. Blackney, Associate Vice President of Core Technology Infrastructure at Drexel University, explains that DrexelOne goes beyond what's currently out there for higher education, since typical mobile offerings target just one or two mobile platforms and provide a fixed set of campus facts geared toward the general public rather than individualized feeds to each account holder. Blackney also provided a sneak peak at the impressive, graphically rich version of DrexelOne Mobile to be launched in spring 2011, which includes upgrades for faculty like picture enhanced class lists and a clicker to allow real time classroom interaction between teachers and students; access to employee leave balances,and interview schedules for student co-op jobs.

Source: John Bielec, Ken Blackney, Drexel University
Writer: Sue Spolan

Faster, Cheaper, Greener: BeneLein Technologies Joins SciCenter

Pharmaceutical research start-up BeneLein Technologies has opened up shop at the University City Science Center's Port business incubator in West Philadelphia. With backing from a global top 10 pharmaceutical company, BeneLein aims to grow, rather than chemically synthesize, the generic version of a widely used antibiotic. Think of it as the craft brewery version of pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Historically, antibiotics were grown, not synthesized. Penicillin can be produced by any kid with a slice of bread and a bit of science know-how, but these days, the great majority of antibiotics in the marketplace are created by chemists in a lab, using solvents and other environmentally volatile ingredients.
BeneLein's unique bioprocessing methods could transform the way and place that pharmaceutical products are manufactured. Rather than outsourcing to overseas concerns in India and China, the biologically based antibiotic would be produced in Europe and the United States at a competitive cost, with a markedly lower environmental impact, as well as increased security of supply. Benelein principal Doug Leinen, a physicist with an MBA, says partner Jorn Benedictus came up with the idea to get a particular microbe trained to make an antibiotic, and Leinen was hooked by the concept. This process, known as industrial or white biotechnology, is already being applied to many kinds of fine chemical manufacturing, including plastics and ethanol.
At the Science Center, BeneLein plans to train their proprietary microbe to make a large volume of antibiotic material. At that point, says Leinen, "We turn the technology over to the pharmaceutical company. They scale it up, get it approved by regulatory agencies, put in final form and sell it." Like a craft brewery, the pharmaceutical puts the microbe in massive fermentation vats, and on a diet of sugar and carbohydrates, the microbe produces big quantities of the chemical. The byproducts of the process are entirely organic as well, and can be released into any septic system.
BeneLein moved into the Science Center to take advantage of the turnkey operation, according to Leinen. "We were a virtual company, partnered with a lab in Finland, but we wanted to have our own facility so we could control the process, expand and grow." Benelin's ten year goal is an annual revenue of $200 million, and Leinen estimates the global market for these products at around two billion dollars.

Writer: Sue Spolan

Prism Pharma Gets FDA Approval for heart condition treatment

When treating ventricular fibrillation--a condition causing the lower ventricles to contract rapidly, pumping little or no blood--time is of the essence. Without immediate medical attention, collapse and cardiac death can occur within minutes. But until late November, doctors treating this fatal disease were still mixing the effective anti-arrythmic agent amiodarone IV by hand, wasting precious seconds. Now, doctors treating ventricular fibrillation and other dangerous heart malfunctions have a better alternative, as King of Prussia pharmaceutical firm Prism Pharmaceuticals announces FDA approval for Nexterone, a premixed, intravenous bag that overcomes the shortcomings of previous treatments.

"Until now, amiodarone IV required admixture at time of use," says Prism CEO Dr. Warren D. Cooper. "Nexterone Premixed Injection overcomes the need to admix, thereby eliminating the potential for medication admixture error."

Prism created Nexterone as a response to organizations like the Joint Commission, the United States Pharmacopeia and the American Society of Health System Pharmacists who all recommend using pre-mixed ready-to-use products. Nexterone is available in several dosage strengths and is also a preferred treatment for rapid heart rate condition ventricular tachycardia.

"The ready-to-use packaging is designed for the storage of Nextarone premixed injection at the point of use in automated dispensing cabinets and crash carts, and offers a two-year shelf life," says Cooper.

Source: Dr. Warren D. Cooper, Prism Pharmaceuticals
Writer: John Steele

Wireless Energy Solutions partners with Bulogics to help commercial buildings battle PECO rate hikes

This holiday season, commercial building owners in the Philadelphia area will be receiving a gift that they would love to return. This January, PECO is set to announce its first rate hike in 14 years. This expiration of the rate caps is likely to mean big increases for commercial buildings, where utilities are often the biggest expenditure. But one Glenside company wants to replace this lump of coal with energy savings, connecting cutting edge technology with complex building systems.

In 2009, long-time business owner and entrepreneur Tony DePaul created Wireless Energy Solutions (WES) as a marketing and distribution agency for Bulogics, the Philadelphia-based energy monitoring technology firm. Bulogics has created smart plugs that monitor energy usage for each device and transmit that information wirelessly. Partnering with Bulogics, DePaul's team has created an internet-enabled network allowing business owners to control energy usage and monitor devices from an iPhone or laptop off-site and from any computer in the building. This solution has helped commercial buildings across the region reduce usage before the rate caps expire.

"There are three major areas impacted: HVAC, lighting, and parasitic power," says DePaul. "By keeping your building the appropriate climate, managing the parasitic power and the lighting, it comes up to anywhere from 15 to 30 percent of the energy bill each year. And depending on where the power companies are, some offer rebates for these devices. And we do all the applications. These things pay for themselves in a very short period of time."

WES promises a 100 percent return on investment within three years through savings and rebates. In Pennsylvania, while rates may be going up, PECO offers a 21-cent-per-square-foot rebate, helping building owners avoid the rate-cap woes.

"There is nothing else like this on the market," says DePaul. "The alternative is dumb, low-tech devices. Or you can use this, a wireless capability that is highly intelligent, programmable and reports and monitors the site completely."

Source: Tony DePaul, Wireless Energy Solutions
Writer: John Steele
390 emerging technology Articles | Page: | Show All
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