Information technology has transformed our lives during the past half-century. It has eliminated thousands of boring jobs in places like the back rooms of banks, where rows and rows of clerical workers once manually entered millions of financial transactions. And it has enabled a new generation of entrepreneurs, who take full advantage of such basic tools as word processors, spreadsheets and the World Wide Web, to launch new, trailblazing businesses.
But as incredible as the progress has been, IT’s power continues to spread by reaching more people across the globe with new devices like sleek smartphones, wireless networks and web-based applications.
One of the great joys of covering business in Washington state is to see how our computer-savvy talent translates daily into new technologies, new services and new business models in industry sectors ranging from health care and education to retail and clean energy.
We launched the Tech Impact Awards this year in cooperation with the Washington Technology Industry Association because we believe it’s important to honor the innovation emerging from IT companies in the region and to recognize the impact they have on business and society.
We received more than 100 nominations from Washington companies in a broad range of industries. These kinds of decisions are invariably subjective, but we had a great panel of judges, including prominent members of the IT community such as Bharat Shyam, Washington state’s chief information officer; Sujal Patel, the president of EMC Isilon, and Ed Lazowska, chair of the University of Washington Department of Computer Science & Engineering.
They and their fellow judges evaluated nominations based on the companies’ impact on business and society. Award winners come from across the state. They include a tiny firm that makes life safer for insurance adjustors by enabling them to estimate the size of a roof by using aerial images. But they also include the well-known software and e-commerce giants of our region.
We’ve undoubtedly missed many important companies and technologies. We depend heavily on nominations sent in by employees, accountants and others familiar with the sector. If you know of a local business or technology we’ve missed, go to seattlebusinessmag.com and enter a nomination for next year. We want to make sure our program reflects the full breadth and diversity of the exciting things happening in IT in our state.