Recap: 2009 Georgia Technology Summit

In January I mentioned that I was invited to come aboard the selection committee for the Technology Association of Georgia's Top 40 innovative companies competition. As part of the 15-person committee, gave my perspective and thoughts on the applicants as well as provided my evaluation of how each company's technology was innovative. The month and a half of judging, meeting with applicants, hearing their pitches and providing them presentation feedback wrapped up with today's Georgia Technology Summit.

This was my first GTS and damn, I had no idea how huge this event was.

2009 Georgia Technology Summit
Dennis Zakas addressing 700 people at the 2009 GTS.

It attracted tons of venerable attendees, companies and speakers. The morning started off with famed author and journalist Thomas Friedman's keynote speech about how American can lead the green revolution. While it started off a little slow, Thomas brought in solid numbers and statements that really help put things into perspective.

Then Ron Clark spoke. He was awarded Teacher of the Year, had a movie made about his story, has been on Oprah twice, wrote a best selling book and has a remarkable school in Atlanta with an interesting, technology-heavy teaching style.

You try taking a picture of Ron Clark. The guy is never still! He's standing on a table in this picture.

One heck of a presenter; jumping on tables, flailing his arms about.. very inspiring. Here's a clip of him in action:

Starts off with him singing an order of operations song to the Rihanna - Umbrella beat.

The Top 10 innovative companies got the chance to present to the audience for 3 minutes. These companies are listed below, and details can be found on David Cohen's live blogged post.

  • Acculynk - use a pin with your debit card online
  • Asankya - web acceleration
  • CCP North America - EVE Online game
  • NanoLumens - flexible video displays
  • PlayON! Sports - affordable video streaming
  • Pramana - invisible captcha
  • Purewire - security software (SaaS) sits between company network and the Internet
  • SecureWorks - leading security as a service provider
  • Suniva - high-efficiency silicon PV cells
  • Unicoi Systems - embedded devices & software

NanoLumens stole the show with their flexible OLED displays. I had the chance to checkout their display during their TAG Top 10 audition and this thing is the real deal.

NanoLumens flexible video display
To my understanding the box to the left is pretty much just a laptop providing video signal and some power to the display - a real implementation would not need such a large device attached directly to it.

However, it is important to note that NanoLumens is building these displays primarily for large-scale advertising/etc purposes. That being said, if you go up close to one of these displays, the resolution is not comparable to your typical laptop screen. It's only until you start getting up past a 100-inch display that it can be considered HD. Regardless, when was the last time you saw a light-emitting color display you could fold?

NanoLumens: Top 10 and Winner of People's Choice - Coolest Technology and Breakthrough Technology

CCP North America:Top 10 and Winner of People's Choice - Best Presentation and Best Display

There were other parts of the Summit that I left off, like Tino Mantella's State of the Industry Report, and are better read in detail here.

Thoughts? I want a NanoLumens display for my entire bedroom ceiling so I have something to watch before going to sleep.. they (jokingly) said it could be mounted with velcro.