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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One of the more interesting pieces of technology that Intergraph is bringing to market is called Motion Video Exploitation. The basic operation is to take georegistered, full motion video (think UAVs like Predators) and embed the video onto a map. This is not showing video in a separate window; this product actually “fuses” the video onto a map. It brings DVR-like technology to support viewing and analyzing motion video from within the GeoMedia environment. The user can annotate the video from reports; correlate annotations to the time of specific events; auto enhance motion video for analysis (i.e. contrast, brightness, stabilization, etc.); automatically segment georeferenced motion video using vector input as a guide and convert the segments into mosaic images; create a buffer zone around the area of interest for automatic segmentation; and mosaicking.

This is a pretty cool product and its ripe for military and intelligence applications. It’s in an “alpha” stage now and it will hopefully be in "beta" by the GEOINT conference in San Antonio in October.

by Joe Francica on 06/17 at 09:33 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Today, I and other trade press members had a chance to sit down with Halsey Wise, CEO and Reid French, COO of Intergraph. What I came away with was that Wise’s strategy and leadership to “laser focus” the company in areas where he believed the company could be successful have paid off. And that’s not based on my opinion; let’s take a look at the numbers: from 2003 he’s taken the company from $17 million in profits to $180 million (2008) and now has $240 million in cash reserves. It’s not often that a CEO get’s to look back at their body of work and validate their plan. More often than not, CEO’s are fired if quarterly results don’t match up. Many things have helped Wise to succeed but he was brought in to make the company more profitable, which he did, and then he took it private. Whether that was part of the plan or not, I don’t know, but getting out from under the quarterly pressure of delivering ever-better numbers to analysts allowed him and the company to let the vision play out.

Now seeking to enter the next phase or “After Next” part of the “Now-Next-After Next” plan that he began back in 2004, this strategy benefits from two world events that are in play. First, national security issues and two wars still occupy significant portions of government budgets, especially during the Bush years. Second, the global economic recovery efforts are pouring money into infrastructure projects and with Intergraph’s strength in process, power, and marine (PP&M), and focus on security, government and infrastructure (SG&I), the lightening rod issues of smart grid, and “shovel ready” projects are a match.

Another success factor has been Wise’s tactical move to rely almost entirely on a direct sales model and to de-emphasize a partner channel.  From a technical standpoint, where many Intergraph solutions rely on some systems integration efforts, this approach has worked. Wise noted that his competitors have tended to rely more on a third party channel of smaller companies and with the software industry in a downturn, many of these smaller firms are the first ones to get hit in a recession.

The company has not been without its disappointments and challenges. It, too, has had to lay off people recently and it still must follow through on its plan to take some of the best pieces of software code to eventually create a common architecture for its products. But Wise has taken the company through reorganization and "right-sizing" and continues to emphasize the strategy of sticking to specific vertical market specialization. And, many of the employees with whom I spoke this week say, “it’s a different company.”

by Joe Francica on 06/17 at 09:19 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The topic gets more attention in Europe because of the INSPIRE initiative than it does in the U.S., but discussing how software will support projects related to developing a spatial data infrastructure (SDI) are driving some of Intergraph’s product development. Much like the emphasis the company put into supporting the birth of the Open Geospatial Consortium from a policy and standards position, and also the adoption of Oracle Spatial as preferred data management platform as a marketing wedge with the competition, Intergraph is pushing hard to promote an architecture that will support SDI. To be sure, the move is related to Intergraph’s continued focus on open standards. However, some of the specifications of INSPIRE have been written into the laws of the European Union such that countries must follow these standards. So, the company made sure they staked out their position and emphasized this to its user conference attendees

by Joe Francica on 06/17 at 09:11 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Intergraph announced product enhancements for their G/Technology applications that are used by the utility (gas, water, electric, telecommunications) industry.

With this next product release for this year, G/Technology will be able to consume the OGC WFS & WMS specifications,  To the end user, these additional services will look like just another layer that may come from other sources. Addition support includes the following:

Basic workflow support:

  • support output to PDF layers
  • improved relationship integrity (interior connectivity at placement and break)
  • STORMS Work Management System (enhance interface for improved work point handling; Areas of Interest (supports discontiguous shapes)
  • customization - an API already exists to design applications against the G/Technology platform
    • enhancement planned will include designer and plotting features (rotate map in plot window; change map background color; export to CAD; legend manipulations)
    • viewer customization (CAB framework enhancements; support for configurable button sizes and keyboard events)

Continue reading...

by Joe Francica on 06/17 at 08:17 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

More than one news outlet is touting that TomTom, even as it raises capital to retire some debt, is turning to Homer Simpson for help. If you’ve not heard, you can now download that famous voice for your device. I was a bit surprised to hear this as a local business story this morning on NPR. TomTom US headquarters is outside Boston, Mass. though frankly, it’s rarely in the local biz news.

Australia Smarthouse notes that among TomTom’s other challenges, authorities in that country are looking at banning various in car devices, including PNDs, for safety reasons.

Linking up with Homer either makes a company look cool or like a loser. I have a sense that although still wildly popular, Homer is losing some of his shine.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/17 at 07:28 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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