Maryland-based iBiquity, a developer of HD Radio™ technology, had excellent news to report this month. Not only have sales of its HD radio receiver doubled from last year, but Ford announced yesterday that it was adding both iTunes tagging and crystal-clear radio sound through iBiquity’s HD Radio technology as some of the latest features to be available in 2010 on Ford cars.
Over 730,000 HD Radio receivers were sold in 2009, with half a million of those sold through September and another quarter of a million sold in the last couple of months. The sales mean that 1.3 million HD radios have been sold since the technology became available. No details were immediately available on how many receivers would be installed by Ford in 2010.
Ford’s decision is driven by the company’s focus on providing advanced radio technology to consumers. The digital technology provided by iBiquity enables broadcasters to offer near-CD quality sound, without static, fadeout and other problems associated with analog signals. The receivers also display information on the music playing, such as song title and artist. By merging this technology with iTunes Tagging, Ford customers will be able to capture songs they hear on the HD Radio receiver by tagging them and storing them in the radio’s memory. Up to 100 tags can be stored at a time. A person can then sync the radio with their iPod, view the tagged songs and decide if they want to purchase them in iTunes.
In response to the deal, iBiquity COO, Jeff Jury said, “Ford continues to lead the market in bringing advanced capabilities to popular vehicles. We are very pleased that HD Radio technology is an integral part of Ford’s broad offering of new features.”
Nearly 2,000 radio stations in the U.S. currently broadcast in digital HD Radio sound, with more than 1,100 stations also airing HD2/HD3 channels. Approximately 85 percent of the U.S. population is served by a station broadcasting with HD Radio technology.
QBurst, a web and mobile application development company based in Fairfax, VA, has launched theapps.mobi, a searchable directory of iPhone apps ranging from Education, Business and Entertainment to Travel, Weather and Lifestyle.
Theapps.mobi provides a sophisticated web site that provides users the ability to browse through a detailed catalog of iPhone and iPod Touch applications, reducing the need to browse the Apple store for applications.
What’s more, the site provides iPhone application developers a chance to be recognized via search engines as well as through its changing “featured” and “latest” application highlights, which are shown prominently on the main screen beneath the app search bar.
The site was designed by QBurst to run on Google’s App Engine platform, and the company will manage the site.
QBurst, which also has offices in India and the UK, consists of a team of over 200 professionals that help design and develop custom applications for companies of all sizes.
Wireless Matrix, a Herndon, VA-based provider of software solutions designed to improve service fleet delivery metrics, and Colorado-based GeoNav Group International, announced yesterday their first client since establishing a formal business partnership several days ago that is designed to maximize data and navigation capabilities for their clients.
The companies new joint solution will be implemented for the Victory Electric Cooperative, which serves southwestern Kansas residents with electricity. The goal of the implementation is to combine Wireless Matrix’s in-cab navigation and messaging solution, TechConnect™, with GeoNav’s Utility Navigator – a solution that utilizes data in a Garmin Personal Navigation Device. The system to be installed will incorporate infrastructure data from the Victory Electric Cooperative and enable its fleet to see poles, meters, transformers and other critical infrastructure on a Garmin device.
According to a press release posted on their website, J. Richard Carlson, president and CEO of Wireless Matrix said that, “Utility companies like Victory Electric expect and demand more from their mobile resource management providers than dots on a map. Our solution has become an integral part of their day-to-day operations and by partnering with GeoNav, together we can provide valuable data to the utility marketplace, enabling them to better operate and drive bottom-line results.”
AOL’s board officially approved layoffs of approximately 7,000 workers (about 1/3 the company’s total workforce) yesterday. The company had announced the layoffs previously, but this was the first official act by the board since AOL became a separate company from Time Warner a few weeks ago.
The news pushed AOL’s stock higher in the NYSE this past week, however, AOL faces a number of challenges as seeks to stand on its own two-feet.
Namely, AOL was the only top 5 web property in the US to have year over year declines in visitors to its web sites. In fact, AOL has suffered a 28% year over year decline in its subscriber base.
Despite the layoffs and some declines in subscribers, AOL continues to adapt and reshape itself. A recent Wall Street Journal report noted that the company was in talks to sell its ICQ instant-messaging service in a deal that could inject some fresh capital into the company – ranging from $175 million to $300 million.
BoxTone, a Columbia, Maryland-based company that develops software for smartphone device management, announced it has established a public sector unit designed to serve federal, state and local governments as well as other public sector organizations and the military.
The Company, which recently surpassed 500,000 enterprise-connected BlackBerry smartphones that are being managed, tracked and controlled by the BoxTone software suite, has over 230 businesses and government agencies as clients. In addition to supporting BlackBerry users on an enterprise level, BoxTone also supports the ActiveSync platform, which features iPhone, Android, Palm Pre and Windows Mobile devices.
With the rapid growth of smartphone deployment through the government and public sector, BoxTone has seen the need for a mobile platform that supports emergency communication, mobile applications and other critical needs rise. Already the provider for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Capitol Police, General Services Administration, and state and local government clients, BoxTone sees the rollout of a public sector unit as a logical step to help provide enhance services and support.
In a recent press release, BoxTone vice president for the public sector practice, Brian Murphy, confirmed as much, saying, “With an existing client base of top-tier federal, state and local governments and military organizations using our software to harden their mobile platforms, BoxTone is now launching our Public Sector Practice to focus increased resources on the support and success of all mobile government professionals.”
Centrifuge Announces Hire of Vice Barrett as VP of Business Development and Promotion of Chris Walton to VP of Intel Operations
Centrifuge Systems, a leading provider of business intelligence software and interactive analytics based in McLean, Virginia, announced Vince Barrett and Chris Walton had joined their senior management team.
Vince Barrett has joined Centrifuge as Vice President of Business Development and is responsible for growing the company’s partner relationships and commercial market penetration. Barrett was with QlikTech, a business intelligence company based in Pennsylvania with over a dozen offices globally. Barrett has more than 15 years experience in marketing, business development and building alliances. In addition to QlikTech, Barrett has worked at SAP, Mediaguide and Siebel Systems, and oversaw development of mission-critical systems for the B-1 and B-2 aircraft as a US Air Force officer. Mr. Barrett has a BS in Economics from the US Air Force Academy, a Master’s in Public Management from University of Maryland, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
In addition to Barrett, Chris Walton was promoted to Vice President of Intelligence Operations. Walton has been with Centrifuge for 3 years as Director of Professional Services, handling deployments for government clients. Walton will now manage all operations involving Intelligence markets for state and local governments, as well as the US Government. Walton also has a military background, flying surface surveillance, counter narcotics and antisubmarine missions for the US Navy. He has a BS in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy.
It’s the holiday season. For many, it is a time when people are supposed to be at their most charitable, and friends and family get together to share in holiday cheer. This does not apply to the newspaper industry, however, as yet another publication announced serious cutbacks in staff and printing.
The latest victim is the Washington Times. Earlier this week the Washington Times announced that on Sunday, December 27th, it will publish its last Sunday edition. The paper will shift focus instead to Monday through Friday coverage, and contain a higher percentage of opinion content and other kinds of distinctive news stories.
Though most in the Washington, DC area (well, most of the people I have known at any rate) never really considered the Washington Times to be a serious newspaper, there always has been some valuable content and perspectives that you just do not find in the Post. For example, Bill Gertz is probably one of the best national security reporters in the country. And while much of that will continue, it is concerning to see the changes at the Washington Times (reductions in staff and shifting format).
While I am glad the Times will continue to press on (enhancing its online and multimedia components is an excellent strategy, btw), one cannot shake the feeling that the Washington Times, like so many other newspapers and print publications, is fighting a losing battle against the digital world.