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Tech Bisnow
   
October 31, 2012
 
 
Tech's Stamp On Sandy

 
While DC residents scrambled home to collect water and generators, Earth Networks employees filed into work, tasked with getting the most timely deets on Sandy’s path for millions of people.
 
Earth Networks CMO Amena Ali
Natural disasters have a way of creating a bit of frenzy, especially if you’re in the business of running the world’s largest atmospheric network. We caught up with Earth Networks CMO Amena Ali Tuesday to see how the Germantown, Md.-based company handled such a historic hurricane. Think retail at Christmas, she says. All of its 175 employees were on hand, around the clock, with many of them analyzing the 27 weather calculations taken from its network of sensors that sit atop 10,000 schools, buildings, and stadiums. The company also held two briefings a day with over 100 people from government, the private sector, and the media, all wanting to know when and where Sandy would arrive.
 
Deltek (BizCapt) MTECH
Bay Bridge During Sandy
One of Earth Networks’ cameras caught this image of the Bay Bridge at Sandy's arrival. The company has been in the business nearly 20 years, attracting over 30 million consumer customers who use the company’s website and WeatherBug desktop and mobile apps, enterprise customers like utility companies and sports venues, and government customers like the National Weather Service. Consumer traffic alone was up 100% during Sandy. And much of Earth Networks’ growth has come from its mobile apps, which already count 10 million customers. The company just released its Windows 8 app, which has seen a steady pace of downloads.
 
Evolve (Puzzle) MTECH
Earth Networks captures data through sensors.
Amena says environmental data like humidity and wind speed are collected from the roof-top sensors and processed in a cloud environment. (Using cloud to track clouds. Everyone keeping up here?) The whole process of reporting data from the sensor and delivering it live to the user via web and mobile tools takes about two seconds. The data is then analyzed by Earth Networks, WeatherBug meteorologists, who convert it into weather intelligence. The company has spent the last few years building its international presence, targeting countries with no available forecasting or radar coverage. The US weather infrastructure is one of the strongest in the world, Amena says. Over $5B has been spent building the weather infrastructure with radars and satellites.
CrisisCamp's Nelson Jacobsen
Help Earth Foundation founder Nelson Jacobsen and several volunteers were hunkered down in DC managing CrisisCampDC, the online Crowdmap Nelson set up as Hurricane Sandy approached, where DC residents could report problems caused by the storm. Users posted pictures and alerts on everything from downed trees to floods as a way to get the word out and get help from fellow Washingtonians. With feeds from Twitter and direct posts to the site, there were over 90 reports made. The site is now working on recovery efforts. Nelson, who worked on a similar project when Haiti was hit with an earthquake, says he’s hoping to perfect the system so that reports can come through email and Facebook.

Reboot's Chosen Few
 
Evan Burfield
Thirteen companies were chosen to pitch their business plans at the upcoming Reboot America Summit: TroopSwap, POPVOX, SimpleEnergy, Hallway, Ruck.us, ElectNEXT, NewsiT, Speek, LuminateHealth, EthicalElectric, SickWeather, Traipse Media, and Karsun. Startup DC chair Evan Burfield says the companies were picked for having strong ideas of “national importance.” They focus on areas like media, advocacy, and politics, to homeland security and cybersecurity. Created by Startup DC, the Nov. 8 event is meant to connect large companies and startups in various industries for collaboration and potential partnerships.
 
Hurricane Sandy may have toppled trees and flooded basements in the DC area, but she didn't cancel Halloween. Please send photos to Bisnow's Tania Anderson if your office mates are dressed up in costumes.
 
 
 
McLean Group (Tombstone)
 
Deltek (BizCapt) TECH
 
Carr Workplaces TECH
 
Evolve (Puzzle) TECH
 
Reston (Vans2) TECH
 
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