Walking a mile in their shoes. Virtually.

Imagine experiencing the thrill of a zip line or skydiving while keeping both feet on the ground. Or gaining a deeper understanding of the Civil War by seeing it through the eyes of an infantryman. Or interacting with – rather than just looking at – dinosaur exhibits in a museum. Several DFW-area virtual reality companies are proving that no matter which alternate universe speaks to you, North Texas is a great place to innovate, connect, learn and play.

Paul Bettner, co-creator of Words With Friends and head of virtual reality (VR) powerhouse Playful Corp., prefers North Texas as the location for launching his company’s big ideas. Proximity and talent are two big reasons. Gaming giants like Ensemble Studios, Gearbox Software, id Software and other tech giants have created a market in the area. Oculus has its virtual reality division here. Educational programs including SMU Guildhall, one of the top graduate video game education programs in the country, are growing rapidly. (more…)

No Matter How Small

When Horton first heard the Who, he discovered an entire world that fit on the head of a pin. Luckily for North Texans, at universities across our region, researchers and their teams know how to leverage very small things to make a big impact in our daily lives.

Nanotechnology is the study of anything very small – a nanometer, for instance, is one thousandth part of a human hair. Dr. Samir Iqbal, associate professor in the electrical engineering department of The University of Texas at Arlington, and a team of colleagues use their expertise in small technology to tackle a very big problem: cancer. (more…)

Powering business, one byte at a time

If big data is big business, then managing big data is even bigger business. It takes a special mix of physical space, infrastructure, reliability, low cost of utilities, low tax liability, and proximity to users and talent to make data centers hum. All of these ingredients for success are right here in North Texas.

“This area has a large local market of Fortune 500 companies who like to have their data centers close,” said John Jacobs, executive VP of Economic Development for the City of Richardson, home of the Metroplex’s famed Telecom Corridor. “Because of DFW International Airport, we’re also an inbound market for companies all over the country.” (more…)

North Texas goes next-gen in managing water, energy and roads

Thanks to our warm climate – economically, culturally as well as meteorologically speaking – North Texas is the place to be. So much so that the North Texas population is expected to grow to nearly 17 million people by 2050.

That’s a lot of people watering lawns, turning on lights and driving on roads. So North Texas utilities are looking toward the future by innovating today, cleverly leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to keep our roads, energy and water flowing. (more…)

From the ground up: Smarter homes, smarter living

When we first saw George Jetson fly his aerocar across our living room TVs, we could hardly imagine a lifestyle as futuristic as his. Vehicles and buildings intuitively responded to everything he and his family needed. Hungry? Magically, the kitchen produced dinner. Time to get ready for work? The closet offered wardrobe suggestions. House needs dusting? There’s a robot for that.

The wait for smart homes is over, thanks in part to researchers and entrepreneurs in North Texas. They’re bringing to our region a new age of in-home technology that can make our lives easier, safer and more efficient. (more…)

Thank You NTC Members – February

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Welcome new NTC Member, American Airlines Center!
Thank you to our renewing members:
City of Waxahachie
Alliance Data
City of Frisco
Denton County Transportation Authority
Metroport Cities Partnership
MNK Infotech Inc.

Running on Full: Entrepreneurs hail North Texas as incubator of technology, opportunity

Why run on empty when you can run on full? That’s what two entrepreneurs recently asked themselves. And thanks to the power of connected devices and a business-friendly environment in North Texas, these two visionaries delivered two very different but equally useful answers to market.

As entrepreneur Brenda Stoner was driving up the Dallas North Tollway one day, she was considering ways to move some product from one location to another. Then an idea hit her: “I was staring at inventory, right there in front of me – all those empty truck beds.” Then and there, PICKUP was born.

PICKUP is an instant delivery service featuring pick-up truck owners — “Good Guys,” as they’re known within the company. Through an app, toll-free number and website, users can tap into a network of well-screened, reliable Good Guys who can help to haul items from one place to another.

The PICKUP driver pool is mostly made up of public servants – off-duty police or firefighters, members of the military and veterans. Of those who apply, only 15 percent make it through PICKUP’s rigorous screening process. “Our drivers are natural entrepreneurs and service-minded people,” Stoner said. PICKUP also verifies that the trucks meets high quality and safety standards.

Pick Up
Booster Fuels

Since its founding in June 2015, PICKUP has grown quickly and now serves residential, retail and commercial clients in North Texas and Houston. But for everywhere PICKUP goes, Stoner credits North Texas with her business’s continued success. “It’s the velocity we have been able to gain with this business with this community of like-minded start-up people. You can accelerate a business like crazy here. Everyone seems to care.”

Booster Fuels also benefitted from a community that was open to the idea of innovation. Incubated at AllianceTexas two years ago, Booster Fuels provides full-service fuel delivery on the campuses of large companies – such as Frito-Lay, Galderma Laboratories, DynCorp International and Hillwood – as an employee benefit that the company doesn’t have to administer or monitor.

Through a smartphone app, users order a “boost,” pop the fuel door and go on with their day. Booster comes to the vehicle in a special truck, fuels the vehicle, and emails the user a receipt. The cost is competitive with prices at local gas stations with no delivery charges or subscription fees.

“Having that vision and forward-thinking to say, ‘Hey, do this in North Texas,’ is important,” said Frank Mycroft, co-founder of Booster Fuels. “What we saw with [Fort Worth] Mayor Betsy Price and the Fort Worth Fire Department, is that they are open to this type of innovation. They have a keen focus on safety while also trying to find ways to work with new ideas like this. That willingness to be open allowed us that seed to grow.”

Read more about the stories behind Booster Fuels and PICKUP in the latest issue of NTX Magazine.

North Texas Commission’s 2017 Legislative Priorities

The 85th session of the Texas Legislature began less than three weeks ago, and rather than the typical flurry of activity, there’s been a blizzard. With over 2,200 House and Senate bills filed for consideration so far, our elected officials have a big job ahead of them to focus on what really matters to Texas. Fortunately for North Texans, there’s one organization whose advocacy is rooted in individual know-how from business leaders, chambers of commerce, economic development experts, city and county government officials, and higher education institutions throughout our region.

The North Texas Commission (NTC), a regional, public-private partnership, focuses its advocacy efforts in Austin on pro-growth state tax and regulatory policies that will grow our economy and attract investment. Through this investment, innovation can flourish and fuel additional job growth and business expansion. (more…)

NTX | Crossroads of IoT

Can you guess what was the best-selling item during the 2016 holiday season?

Hello, Alexa.

According to Forbes, the Echo and the Echo Dot blew the doors off of Amazon, the world’s largest Internet-based retailer. Amazon Echo, a hands-free speaker you control with your voice, connects to the Alexa Voice Service to instantly play music, provide information, news, weather and more.

Echo is just one example of how the Internet of Things, or IoT, is becoming as commonplace as the kitchen sink. And North Texas sits squarely in the center of this next information revolution, thanks to its decades-long commitment to building a community of forward-thinking, technology innovators.

When Texas Instruments chose Richardson for its corporate campus in 1956, it was the beginning of what would eventually become the Telecom Corridor, known world-wide for its ecosystem of highly talented people, research-oriented universities and savvy investors.

Kenneth Lowe, an IoT specialist with Gremalto, says that this regional connectivity is driving the next generation of technology innovation.

“Everyone knows people from TI, Northern Telecom, Ericsson. That’s where the network of people was built in the 1970s through the 1990s,” he said. “The start-ups in the ‘90s were telecom companies…  These guys are the angels now, investing in new IoT technology that is changing the direction of the conversation.”

Today, the North Texas region is one of the largest technology centers in the United States with global leaders in telecom, IT, biomedical and nanotechnology. The Telecom Corridor alone employs 230,000 scientists, engineers and architects, all who are shifting the way our everyday lives will play out.

To read the full story on IoT, check out the latest issue of NTX Magazine here.

Thank You NTC Members – December

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Welcome new NTC Member, Harmony Public Schools!
Thank you to our renewing members:
Bell Helicopter Textron Inc.
Children’s Health of Texas
City of Fort Worth
City of Southlake
DFW Airport Marriott
Tarrant County College