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These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring were prepared for the June 20, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Life in the Fast Lane: InterTrust Technologies
Pirated music is what is in the news, most prominently
in the case of Napster. That popular music-sharing site has provided
us with a glimpse into a world where any schoolchild can get his hands
on any song, and send it flying ’round the world, rights scattered
to the wind. But many other forms of content — medical records
to movies — are vulnerable too, says Jim Horning of InterTrust
Technologies (Nasdaq: ITRU).
Horning is the director of InterTrust Technologies’ STAR Lab, which
is now setting up East Coast operations in offices at 821 Alexander
Road. STAR Lab, which stands for strategic technologies and architectural
research laboratory, is the advanced research an arm for the 11-year-old
California-based company, which develops technology for digital rights
The problem InterTrust hopes to solve is that of how content can be
sold, or otherwise distributed or shared, over the Internet in a way
that protects the rights of its owners. The company is working on
a worldwide, universal solution, and to that end will license, or
sell, hardware, software, application provider services, and intellectual
property. Already licensing its early products, the company has entrusted
its STAR Lab researchers with "exploring the frontiers of digital
InterTrust seeks to provide a "trustworthy foundation" on
which companies will build their own systems for securely distributing
content. The foundation, Horning explains, is "a way to bind business
rules to content in such a way that the content will be protected."
Pieces of this foundation include encryption, tamper resistance, a
way of expressing business rules, and a way of recording transactions.
"It doesn’t matter whether it’s music or business records,"
Horning says, the foundation is the same.
An early client is Universal Music. InterTrust provided the infrastructure
upon which that company’s Global e division built bluematter, a website
through which it sells digital music. "The business rules are
their choice; the website is their design," Horning says. The
technology underlying the bluematter website is InterTrust’s. It protects
the content through encryption, and "associates consequences with
actions," specifying, for example, that receipt of a song follow
Protecting digital rights is a complicated matter. Global e, for example,
is seeking to build and manage digital music globally. This task eventually
will include digital download, subscription, custom radio, and pay-per-play
businesses around the world, through all channels of purchase, including
kiosks, computers, TV set top boxes, and portable devices. There are
so many links in the chain that runs from creation through myriad
forms of distribution and "it does no good to strengthen one link,"
says Horning, unless all the others are equally fortified.
Horning began programming computers in 1959, "before many in the
lab were born," he jokes. He has been with InterTrust for five
years, and with STAR Lab for four years. A graduate of Pacific Union
College, who majored in physics and math, Horning received his Ph.D.
in computer science from Stanford in 1969.
InterTrust has 350 employees, and 17 of them work under Horning on
next-generation STAR Lab projects. Robert Tarjan is a STAR Lab
senior fellow, and also InterTrust’s chief scientist. But he is just
a part-time employee. Tarjan is a professor of computer science at
Princeton University, and one of the reasons the company is opening
a facility in the area. "For the last three years, Bob has been
a very frequent flier," Horning says with a laugh.
Tarjan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in math from the California
Institute of Technology (Class of 1969) and a Ph.D. in computer science
from Stanford, finds that "academia and industry have very different
strengths and weaknesses." He says he enjoys both.
Tarjan had been teaching full time, but still keeping a finger in
industry with consulting work for NEC, until four years ago. At that
point, he and several others left NEC for InterTrust. He said he was
attracted to the company because "it’s a problem rich environment."
The problem of Tarjan’s bi-coastal commute will be solved to some
degree now that InterTrust’s Alexander Road offices are staffed and
ready. Besides cutting the number of Tarjan’s airport runs, the Princeton
location will give the company access to Central Jersey’s talent pool,
and proximity to Princeton University, from which it hopes to recruit
consultants and interns.
StarLab’s Alexander Road office will be managed by Bill Horne,
a Lawrenceville resident, and another frequent flier, who has been
on the InterTrust research staff for one year, but consulted to the
company for two years before that. Horne holds a bachelor’s degree
in electrical engineering from the University of Delaware (Class of
1986) and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of
New Mexico. While he will be StarLab’s Princeton manager, Horne says
he hopes to spend most of his time on research.
There will be plenty of research work to do as STAR Lab is charged
with "ensuring that InterTrust has adequate technical options
to support its business strategies two, five, and even ten years into
Charged with keeping STAR Lab’s Alexander Road operation running smoothly
so that research can proceed apace is Mary Zwiebel, the facility’s
office manager who is now seeing to the installation of everything
from copier machines to coffee cups. Zwiebel, a 1977 graduate of the
University of Buffalo, was recruited from NEC, where she had known
Tarjan. Getting STAR Lab up and running in brand new offices is a
challenge that appealed to her. "I’m it," she says. "The
receptionist, the office manager, shipping, receiving, everything."
STAR Lab has leased 10,000 square feet on the first floor of a new
building constructed by Bovis. It has eight employees now and seeks
to sublet 6,000 square feet, in two parcels, through NAI Fennelly.
Bovis did the fitout, and furniture was provided by the Furniture
Exchange of South Plainfield.
Her company was attracted to the building, Zwiebel says, because "you
can see the train station." It’s just a 10 minute stroll to the
train, which she says, is ideal for the many New York visitors the
company expects to host. It is convenient for resident researchers
too, of course, and Zwiebel says there has already been some foot
traffic between STAR Lab and New York-bound trains.
While STAR Lab is a research facility, all research will be done entirely
on computers. There are no lab fixtures. Says Zwiebel, "This is
the first place I’ve worked in a long time where we don’t have a lot
of safety glasses lying around."
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
Road, Princeton 08540. Robert Tarjan, chief scientist, Intertrust.
609-919-9611; fax, 609-919-1926. Home page: www.intertrust.com.
If a simple picture is worth 1,000 words, how much is
a 75-foot-high constantly-changing picture worth? The price tag for
a high-resolution video wall capable of using sixteen 50-inch screens
as one is about $300,000. The impact? Anyone who has walked through
Times Square, head swiveling in all directions to take in the talking,
undulating screens set into buildings way above eye level, can attest
to how easy it is to ignore them.
Electrosonic Image Control, a Finland-based company that recently
chose Princess Drive in Lawrence as its sales headquarters for the
northeast, makes the processors that power those eye-popping displays.
Andrea Linton, office manager, explains that Electrosonic doesn’t
make the screens on which we see the three-foot-high stock tickers
or larger-than-life video advertisements for pet food. "The LCD
or LED screens are made by a Pioneer, Toshiba, Clarity, Lighthouse,
or someone else," she says. Clients come to Electrosonic for a
video wall, and the company buys hardware, incorporates content, and
uses its processor to put together a display that can make many screens
act as one, blending feeds from satellites, CD-ROMs, computers, videos,
laser disc players, and more.
An example of Electrosonic’s work is the rain forest floor display
at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and also a
lobby wall in the New York offices of Frederick Harris, a bridge and
tunnel design firm. The displays are popular now in retail, Linton
says, pointing to in-store video walls her company has installed in
Best Buy stores. "You see the same picture on 40 different televisions,"
she says of those displays. "It’s the same image, but on a whole
rack of TVs, so you can compare the picture."
Electrosonic sells its systems, and while the company is not in the
rental business, Linton says it does sell to outfits that rent the
displays. Businesses might rent a system for a trade show, where it
could draw attention while touting a product’s attributes. "They’re
popular at auto shows," says Linton. "You see the physical
product on the floor, and learn about it on the screen."
Many times, clients want the systems to show the world who they are,
and what they do, Linton says. That was the case with the bridge and
tunnel designer, and also with investment bank Morgan Stanley, for
which Electrosonic is now building a video wall to be incorporated
in a new headquarters building. The company markets to architects,
finding them a good audience, because, says Linton, "It’s easier
to incorporate a display wall into a new building than to add it later."
Unlike the splashy walls that fill Times Square with light and motion
all through the night, most of Electrosonic’s products end up inside
buildings. The animated walls are far from the norm in new buildings,
but Linton says they are popular with high-end clients. "They
like to make an impact," she says.
No tech-age fly-by-night, Electrosonic was founded in 1964 to provide
automatic light and sound rental equipment for trade shows and exhibitions.
Soon after, it introduced the first automatic electronic dimmer, and
set on a course of developing new display technologies. It was among
the first companies to make all-electronic programming systems for
mixed media shows using multiplexed data on magnetic audio tape and
to achieve practical, solid state, audio replay systems for museum
and exhibition displays. In 1992, Electrosonic built the world’s biggest
video wall with 850 monitors for EXPO 92 Seville, and three years
later delivered a 130-foot-wide electronic display to the Newseum
in Arlington, Virginia.
Electrosonic is a division of Helvar Merca Group in Finland. Its U.S.
headquarters is in Minneapolis, and its R&D takes place in the United
Kingdom. Until last summer, the company had no sales presence along
the Atlantic seaboard. When the decision to move into this territory
was made, Linton and her husband, Kevin Linton, senior project manager,
were tapped to help plant the company’s flag in Lawrence. Their boss,
the general manager of the Lawrence office, is Andrew Kidd, a native
of the United Kingdom, who holds an undergraduate degree in electrical
engineering from Leeds University and an MBA from City University
in London. The office started out with three employees, and is up
It was important to the company that veterans establish its name in
the northeast, says Linton, a performance arts graduate of Sheridan
College in Toronto, who says work and family now keep her too busy
for acting. Her 16 years with the Electrosonic and her husband’s 18
years made them an easy choice, although she says longevity is the
norm at the company. Kidd has logged more than 20 years. Moving here
from her native Toronto was "tough," Linton says, but she
is adjusting. The couple, who met at work, have two children, ages
four and 10, and live in Hamilton.
The Lawrence office’s territory runs from Virginia and West Virginia
to the south up through Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York
City, and up into Maine. There is substantial interest from the finance
industry in this area, Linton says, and the company is working at
figuring out the best way to approach the medical industry.
The smallest of Electronic’s systems costs about $38,000, Linton says,
but prices do tend to come down as new technology is introduced. As
for the changes in display technology she has seen in her 16 years
in the industry, Linton says, "It’s still so much fun when we
get something new in here. I’m constantly amazed."
Lawrenceville 08648. Andrew Kidd, general manager. 609-219-9494; fax,
609-219-1538. Home page: www.electrosonic.com.
Suite 303, Princeton 08540. Sean Jahr, executive vice president, Americas.
609-750-8502; fax, 609-750-8655. Home page: www.safestone.com.
Sean Jahr now heads the United States office of the security management
firm. As executive vice president of the Americas, he reports to CEO
John Todd, based in the United Kingdom. Jahr has worked at Elron,
ICSA.net, Optima Software, and Legent Corporation.
Marnie Threapleton had been vice president of sales and marketing
for the U.S. (U.S. 1, April 11, 2001). She will now be vice president
of sales operations.
SafeStone is both an IBM systems management business partner and an
IBM development partner, and it has renewed its strategic partnership
alliance with RSA Security Customers. It offers enterprise security
systems with modular products. For instance, using the IBM iSeries
400, SafeStone developed the DetectIT Agent 400, which allows two-factor
authentication to protect against unauthorized access.
Princeton 08540. David Reim, president. 609-252-9741; fax, 609-252-1425.
Home page: www.simstar.com.
The E-business solutions firm has made its move from 16,000 feet in
several locations at Research Park to 30,000 feet at the Carnegie
Center 202 (U.S. 1, May 23). It does strategy, development, and servicing
of E-business solutions for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
4, Suite 200, Lawrenceville 08648. 609-219-0759; fax, 609-219-1888.
Home page: www.comquestresearch.com.
COMQuest Research moved from 1,000 square feet to 2,500 square feet
within the same building. For Fortune 50 companies, it does market
research, analysis, and consulting services in brand image and customer
satisfaction. Principals are Robert Clark, Gary Ocher, and Jeff Brown.
Box 9707, Cranbury 08512-9707. Home page: www.proteam.com.
In April the catalog company closed its own fulfillment center in
Cranbury and transferred all its shipping and billing services to
a Tennessee firm, National Fulfillment. As the largest fulfillment
center in the United States, National Fulfillment serves more than
150 companies from this location: 6960 Eastgate Boulevard, Lebanon,
08648. 609-392-4181; fax, 609-392-2859.
AMI Truck Lease bought the Biddle Company, a truck leasing firm, and
is moving this operation to Florence. The new owner is based in Worcester,
Campus, Suite 106, Princeton 08540. 973-235-5000.
Roche Laboratories has closed its 2,100-foot business office at Princeton
Gateway. The office did sales and marketing for Roche products. Moving
into this space will be a sister company to Medarex, Genmab. 800-527-6243.
08512. Rich Cohen, general manager east coast. 609-409-2832; fax,
609-409-4380. Home page: www.anicom.net.
This company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is closing down,
both here at this 40-person warehouse, and at its headquarters in
Rosemont, Illinois (near Chicago). The multimedia technology firm
billed itself as distribution solution for voice, video, datapower
and security systems.
Princeton Forrestal Village, Princeton 08540. Leigh Clayton, president.
609-919-9190; fax, 609-919-9655. Home page: www.baipersonnel.com.
BAI Personnel Solutions has filed for Chapter 7 in the United States
Bankruptcy Court of Judge Stephen A. Stripp (Case number 01-52408).
The nine-year-old firm started as Bullock Associates, the in-house
placement agency for General Electric on Independence Way. In 1999
it had expanded, within Forrestal Village, to 2,300 square feet. It
did temporary and permanent placements.
Eye Group of Monroe and for the East Windsor Regional School District.
J. Vinch & Sons Inc.
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