Corrections or additions?
These articles by Kathleen McGinn Spring & Bart Jackson were prepared for the July 16, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Tour of Downtown Tech
There’s been lots of palaver about the need to forge
stronger ties between commerce and academe. And all along, companies
located in the shadow of Princeton University’s gates have been doing
just that. Willing to pay the high rents of downtown, they employ
undergraduates as interns and try to tap faculty expertise.
With these goals in mind, the New Jersey Technology Council has scheduled
"Beyond the University Gates: A Walking Technology Tour of Downtown
Princeton," set for Friday, July 18, at 8:30 a.m. It starts with
breakfast at the Nassau Club and continues with visits to each of
three businesses that are a short walk away.
Jersey, moderates a panel that includes
Android Corporation (R&D for robotics);
liaison from Princeton University;
(the health and nutrition software firm); and
of ICG Inc. Cost: Free to members, $20 for others. At least 50 people
are expected to attend. Call: 856-787-9700.
The firms to be visited include an aviation software firm, and aviation
hardware firm, and an information security company. Who would have
thought these companies would live on Nassau Street?
Internet Crimes Group
Even as companies pour money into information security,
losses due to lack of information security could grow to an estimated
$77 billion by next year. As for the people most likely to steal your
company blind — you might meet them at the water cooler. Yes,
over 75 percent of the security problems for IT departments come from
inside the company, not from an external hacker or the much-discussed
"script kiddies," says the mission statement of ICG Inc. (short
for Internet Crimes Group).
ICG Inc. bills itself as "the premier provider of information
security threat management solutions for senior leadership to Global
2500 companies." Located at Nassau and Witherspoon streets above
Hamilton Jewelers, ICG is a sister company to International Business
Research and was incorporated as a separate company in January, 2000.
With 25 full-time employees, it occupies part of two floors on Nassau
Street and has expanded to 6,500 square feet at 100 Canal Point.
"We help companies identify and understand how individuals can
use the anonymity of the Internet to damage or inflict harm on their
reputation, their financials, and their technology," says
Shaw, vice president of investigation and litigation support solutions
(see photo, page 5).
A molecular biology major at Princeton University, Class of 1997,
Shaw started out working for International Business Research, ICG’s
parent company, doing research for IPOs, mergers & acquisitions, private
placements, asset & liability tracing, and insurance fraud. He has
managed over one thousand information security threat response investigations
and consulting projects, including investigative assessment of multi-million
dollar on-line stock manipulation schemes, on-line transaction-based
fraud, and information systems fraud vulnerabilities. Often Shaw consults
to lawyers representing companies in such industries as financial,
pharmaceutical, insurance, and E-commerce.
Traditionally focused on physical security issues, corporate security
departments often have difficulty dealing with information security
threats. It falls to IT departments to install firewalls, intrusion
detection systems and other perimeter monitoring systems. But traditionally
IT experts focus on preventing intrusion and pay little attention
to threats that employees might bring. ICG, in contrast, takes a holistic
view. Among its products:
— tracking erasures, concealment of an illicit act or E-mail,
or stolen corporate secrets. "We discover what transpired and
provide a better understanding of what exactly did transpire,"
their victimization potential in the areas of trademark law, IP theft,
piracy of proprietary software, and protection of sensitive customer
threats to its clients — such threat vectors as hackers, virus,
malicious attack, and non malicious action.
"Companies are often faced with problems that may appear general,
but are actually very specific and do not allow for a cookie cutter
When it comes to security, it’s not just the welfare of the company
that’s at stake, it’s also the personal fortunes of the company’s
officers and directors. They can be sued.
100 Canal Pointe. Kevin E. Leininger, president. 609-683-1490; fax,
Aerospace Hardware: Aereon
Founded in 1959 to develop lifting body airships, Aereon
Corporation develops innovative aircraft. It is named after "the
Aereon," flown in 1863 over New York City, and it was made famous
in John McPhee’s 1973 book "The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed."
to Presbyterian missionary parents. He flew carrier-based aircraft
from 1944 to 1949, then went to Princeton University, Class of 1953.
He attended what is now New York Theological Seminary, embarked on
a ministry to international students, and earned a graduate degree
at Princeton Theological Seminary. In 1967, seven years after Aereon
was founded, he joined that company and became president.
He says the company finds itself going in three directions:
flight tests for this. "Our patents have all expired on that,
and now the very logic that the company was propounding is recognized
to be worthy," says Miller.
During the Gulf and Iraq wars, when large cargoes needed to be transported
quickly, Miller says, the defense gurus began to look for an aircraft
that could land on water or unprepared sites. "Something that
can combine buoyant and aerodynamic lift — which is the very thing
Aereon promoted from the 1960s to the 1980s. We were 30 years ahead
of our time."
Platform (WASP) for anti-missile detection. A manned version of this
craft had early support from SBIR grants.
kind of work usually assigned to heavy lift helicopters — but
would be safer, because in the event of an engine failure, it could
Princeton 08542. William Miller Jr., president. 609-921-2131.
Aerospace Software: PSS
Princeton Satellite Systems, an 11-year-old high tech
company that designs software for the aerospace industry, shares space
in a downtown building with Gloria Nilson Real Estate and the Moondoggie
Cafe. With six full-time employees, it has software tools for spacecraft
control and design that are used by space agencies, defense contractors,
and aerospace researchers worldwide.
Technology (Class of 1976), from which he also has a graduate degree.
At GE Astro Space in East Windsor, he designed one of the first applications
of active vibration control on a satellite, among other accomplishments.
In 1992, prior to its acquisition by Martin Marietta, he founded his
own firm and moved it downtown in 1996 (U.S. 1, October 23, 1996).
Last year it won its third Phase II SBIR contract from the Air Force
Phillips Laboratory for developing new intelligent agent-based real-time
software architecture to automate satellite systems. It has begun
to market an aviation-based software, ObjectAgent, in other industries
such as robotics. The firm’s latest spacecraft product is an autonomous
guidance, navigation, and control system.
Paluszek cites advantages of his 800 square-foot office being so close
to the university: use of the libraries, easy access to student interns,
and feedback on software (he provides end-of-term projects for some
courses). "Every once in a while we look around for another space,
but it’s hard to find spaces this small," says Paluszek. "And
we don’t need a coffee machine when we have so many coffee places
within a block."
Princeton 08542. Michael Paluszek, president. 609-279-9605; fax, 609-279-9607.
American Android Corp. aims to create useful and affordable
robots that improve the quality of life for the people who use them.
of Virginia (Class of 1982) and Princeton University. He was a co-founder
of Robicon Systems (a commercial robotics firm), Katrix Inc. (robotics
technology applied to interactive entertainment such as games and
virtual reality), and Millennium Rush (the content division of Katrix).
The latter two companies closed in 1999.
"My heart has been in robotics for a long time, and that’s what
I’m finally doing," says Handelman. Since 1999 he has devoted
himself to operating systems for humanoid robots — biped walking
At the panel he will speak about the potential for collaborations
with academic institutions such as Princeton University. His office
is a half block from the engineering school library. "I hope to
find ways of leveraging those resources."
Handelman is also an evangelist for the Small Business Innovation
Research program. Last July his company won a Phase II SBIR grant
from NASA to develop ways for human operators to customize the behavior
of humanoid robots: "Our current NASA funding is to enable someone
in the field (astronauts) to customize the behavior of a robot. We
think it will also have other uses as education, entertainment, and
possibly aiding the disabled."
"While the Internet storm raged, I went into my cave and extended
our robotics technology. Now we have some funding, lots of opportunity,
and I am very excited about the way things are going," says Handelman.
Of the high downtown rent, he says, "I am willing to pay a little
more to stay where I am."
08542. David Handelman, president. 609-924-4490; fax, 609-924-2905.
Cindy was a quiet little clerk who for nearly 20 years
had spent her working days encrypting legal notes into various data
formats. Then she was fired. Six months later, the University of North
Carolina awarded a $1.2 million contract to one of the nation’s major
encrypting firms — or so it thought. It wasn’t until Cindy, who
had quickly turned herself into an entrepreneur, showed up to start
work on the job that the university’s administrators realized that
they were paying a one-person expert who operated from her kitchen
table. Cindy’s website and other technological communications had
been so polished that they assumed they were hiring the biggest; instead
they got only the best.
The specific methods and tools that turn new entrepreneurs into major
players are the subject of "Technology and Small Business: Software
and Network Options," a seminar taking place on Wednesday, July
23, at 7:30 p.m. at Mercer County Community College. Cost: $45. Call
609-586-9446 to register. Leading the seminar is
who has 30 years of experience in business, finance, and applied technology.
"I’m really an analog person," confesses Baldino, "therefore,
while I’m impressed with all the high-tech glitter, I’m always eying
things for their practical business value." Raised and still living
in the Mercer County area, Baldino earned a political science degree
from Brown University, followed by six years in the Navy studying
finance and transportation. For the following 27 years he worked at
the First National Bank of Princeton (what is now part of Fleet Bank),
where he learned exactly which business tools proved their worth,
and which were just attractive sales items. Baldino is now a consultant
for the Small Business Administration and the Small Business Development
"You see it in the under-30 generation," says Baldino. "It’s
a new way of thinking — like spokes out of a wheel."
Most of the older generations face a problem squarely, solve it, and
then move on to the next. But the younger, computer generation has
totally changed their mode of thought in light of the swifter information
access. When his son is faced with a problem, he says, he sends spokes
out to all his friends, to pieces of the ‘Net, and to a host of cross-disciplinary
sources. Each tosses his little piece of knowledge into the Mulligan-stew
solution, and the problem gets fixed at the hub.
All of these sources of information, counsel, and help mean that even
the owner of the smallest business has an impressive range of tools
right on his desktop and in his pockets to help him keep pace with
the big boys.
to communicate among several distant branches, the cost of such dedicated
business linking has now become practical for connecting within a
single office. Most providers now offer an intranet option with each
office computer. Very few tools today answer the quest for speed and
accessibility so well as intranet mail and download systems. Establishing
smaller, multiple websites within your firm can provide retail breakdowns
for the sales force and payroll files for the human resource folks
without the need to wade through a lot of document detritus.
Keeping hard copies in the picture, simultaneous faxes are now possible
during teleconferencing or for other time-important deliveries. Several
providers now assure instant sending and delivery of faxes to all
linked parties, allowing parties to a telephone conference to examine
and discuss the same documents at once. This has proved a godsend
for law firms trying to communicate with partners taking out-of-town
is true. In fact, she began her web building as a student in one of
Baldino’s recent classes. While Cindy’s results may not be typical,
the website has become the great equalizer in the realm of business
presentation. Now, for a minimum investment, everyone can be a professional.
Baldino insists that small companies make this investment ample and
adequate. "These days, your website is like your regional sales
person — each is the initial view a client has of your business.
It is your firm. Because of that, every amount of training is worth
it," he says.
In addition to investing money in their websites, Baldino also advises
firms to invest the time and gray matter. The major, and all too common,
blunder made in commercial websites is failure to keep current. Changes
not only in content, but also in format, are required to convince
viewers that when they log on for a second time something new and
interesting has been added.
Second on the blunders list is over complexity. Conduct this test.
Gather two individuals from outside your field of business. Have one
make a list of items to search for, and have the other find them on
your site. How easy is the surfing in your waters?
peer-to-peer technologies, it remains both sluggish and byte costly.
E-mail frequently requires lavish formatting and an enormous amount
of memory for information transfer. Conversely, peer-to-peer is Napster-style
technology put to legal use. Swiftly and with minimal memory, your
staff can download vast amounts of text, files, and training videos
from a central cache, and can share them with co-workers.
goes cellular and wireless and gets linked with a pocket PC, it becomes
the prime tool of the traveling executive who needs to keep his ties
with the office. Options change daily, and can be expensive. Here
is one electronic tool whose prices are not likely to drop soon. "Most
companies, currently, are getting lured into becoming too fancy,"
says Baldino. In such areas as phone messaging options, it is easy
to get carried away and burden your system with a whole lot of gadgetry
you will never use.
The basic tool for the sales person or any representative dealing
with clients, Baldino says, will remain the sophisticated, lightweight
laptop PC. For presenting information to a client, accessing real
inventory, showing the client possibilities, and even assembling images
of a customized product, nothing makes so clear and flexible a presentation.
The pocket PC has the obvious advantage of size, but its presentation
capabilities remain limited, unless you can plug it into a client’s
work station. Currently, the laptops PCs also offer more power. But
don’t count on that advantage lasting very long, notes Baldino. Very
shortly in our wireless world, the two will be equal in all ways but
ads depicting folks chatting and viewing scenery in real time. They
are clever ads showcasing a very clever technology. But an equally
impressive part of this picture is the quickly-dropping costs which
now have made video conference calling affordable for even small companies.
Baldino foresees video conferencing changing the lifestyle of business.
"Suppose your sales manager now calls in his entire crew every
week for a meeting. By gathering on video, the sales force can meet
daily and reduce the face-to-face meetings to once a month."
All these high-tech tools and toys won’t do much if you cannot find
the right expert to install, program, and maintain them. In this market,
with over 14,000 computer consulting firms listed nationwide, it is
easy to find someone who claims they can handle all your needs. To
find the right tech expert for your small business, Baldino suggests
that you first define your own needs. This does not mean a wish list
of gadgets, but rather it entails an examination of all of your daily
business processes that could use an electronic hand.
After scanning your operations for candidates for a productivity upgrade,
consider turning implementation over to an expert with deep knowledge
of your industry. What computer firms go to your trade shows or advertise
in your trade magazines?
than the quill pen and a swift horse. But all were directed by individuals
who assembled the best tools and took the effort to painstakingly
train their staffs in their use. Some rules always apply.
— Bart Jackson
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