By Lilly Hayward
Last summer, the Council and its administrative partner, Cookson Strategic Communications, hosted a high school student intern who lent her unique perspective to New Hampshire’s tech scene. We asked her back to experience the recent Product of the Year Award event, and enjoyed her takeaways so much that we just had to share them with you.
The New Hampshire High Tech Council’s annual Product of the Year event hosted a wide variety of technology gurus and taggers-on such as myself, all eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 10th Product of the Year winner. The event took place at the Manchester Country Club, where the five top contenders presented their companies and products to the number of voters attending the event. The five finalists certainly all offered impressive contributions to the tech sector, but unfortunately, only one could receive the prestigious title of Product of the Year. Plexxi, whose single box Plexxi Switch 2 re architects data to run at considerable speed and agility, took home the 2015 honors.
The remaining four finalists offered extremely innovative and impressive products. ARC Energy, B2W Software, Rapid Insight and Retrieve Technologies boasted very different yet captivating and no doubt useful products.
As the owner of an unfortunate iPhone whose screen has been broken and repaired countless times, I am a strong supporter of the development of stronger and more durable phone screens. This is one goal of ARC Energy, whose CTO and co-founder Dr. Rick Schwerdtfeger gave a convincing and impressive seven-minute presentation describing how his company’s sapphire boules can be used to craft a more reliable phone screen. I’m sure this is a welcome advancement for many, especially teenagers such as myself, who have spent ample amounts of money repairing cracked or damaged phone screens.
B2W Software’s goal is to bring technology to a field that seems to be lacking in innovation in the tech sector - the construction industry. The company’s software includes modernizing charts and databases to provide a more comprehensive and effective way of organization, optimizing workflow, and applying preventative maintenance to the equipment used to repair roadways and other construction projects. B2W Software is spreading the use and value of technology to a field that may be lacking in innovation, and by doing so, increasing the efficiency and profitability of construction work while promoting the distribution of modern systems of management and technological reform.
Retrieve Technologies is aptly named for its mission to promote the ability for its customers to access video content across a variety of fields via the Internet. A type of “grown up YouTube,” Retrieve allows its users to quickly access and interact with an array of informational and educational videos. The service can be used for a wide variety of reasons, including training employees, helping high school students prepare for the SATs, and offering technological support. Dave Arnold, the founder and CVO, explained that videos have a unique ability to captivate its audience and help them retain information. As a junior prepping for SATs, I can attest to the fact that retaining information is a difficult and often impossible task, and many of us can use all the help we can get.
Rapid Insight offers an impressive product that allows its operators to analyze data to make better business decisions. Mike Laracy, the founder and president of the organization, described the company’s already notable success and areas of expertise. Rapid Insight assists more than 200 colleges and universities throughout the country helping them estimate and identify student behavior, such as the number of students that are in danger of dropping out before graduation. Institutions can use the information to implement programs designed to help decrease the number of dropouts. The software also assists hospitals by predicting which patients are at risk of readmission and allows nonprofits and companies to increase success by predicting customers and donors. This software is a comprehensive and useful tool that allows other companies and institutions to increase the success of themselves and their customers.
All five companies are working to bring innovation to the Granite State and improve the lives and success of individuals, companies and institutions by supplying unique and contemporary products. Better yet, these enterprises, along with the many others throughout the state, are, as Governor Maggie Hassan pointed out, creating jobs and attracting talented workers to New Hampshire. Although only one company went home with the title of New Hampshire High Tech Council’s 2015 Product of the Year, Plexxi, B2W, ARC Energy, Rapid Insight, and Retrieve Technologies all offer impressive and unique contributions the tech community and the Granite State.