5×5: Five Cities, Five Big Tech Ideas Coming to Boston on Dec. 8

10/27/10Follow @gthuang

For entrepreneurs, sometimes the next great Twitter app or IT software package just isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to build something that takes longer than a few months to design and test. Sometimes you need to think big—really big.

What are the biggest ideas in technology, and where are they coming from? How will they rock your world? And, most importantly, how are startups and investors building viable businesses around them? Rather than looking only here in New England, Xconomy decided to canvass its five-city U.S. network for some of the most potentially transformative tech ideas—across mobile, software, hardware, energy, robotics, Internet, and other fields—and select a few intriguing companies that we think can best answer these questions.

Now, on December 8, we’re convening a special afternoon forum called “5×5: Five Cities, Five Big Tech Ideas” in downtown Boston. The half-day event (see lineup and registration info here) will be held at the state-of-the-art Fidelity Center for Applied Technology. We’re doing everything we can to make this a can’t-miss opportunity for anyone interested in the future of technology, and the companies (and strategies) that will lead the way.

Here’s how it will work: One potentially disruptive company will be on hand from each of Xconomy’s five metro areas-Boston, Detroit, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle-to make feature presentations in highly interactive sessions. We are also planning a few bonus appearances and demonstrations (see below). At the root of each company, and each speaker, is a seriously big idea—but even more important, a way to turn that idea into a real business that could change the world.

Bill Taylor, the co-founder of Fast Company and bestselling author of Mavericks at Work and the forthcoming Practically Radical, will kick things off with a few words of inspiration—and some ways of thinking about business problems that will have you seeing things in a new light.

Then we will have a series of compelling talks from our featured companies:

Kiva Systems (CEO Mick Mountz), from the Boston area, will present the latest in warehouse robots that could help transform retail, distribution, and manufacturing.

On-Ramp Wireless (CEO Joaquin Silva), from San Diego, will discuss its technology for wireless monitoring and data tracking to make the electric grid and water supply more efficient.

TerraPower (CEO John Gilleland), from the Seattle area, will talk about its approach for reinventing nuclear power production, and fundamentally changing the energy landscape. (Yes, you heard it right, nuclear power.)

Arbor Networks (chief scientist Craig Labovitz), whose roots and tech base are from Detroit/Ann Arbor, will discuss the future of mobile and Internet security, and a unified system for keeping data and networks safe. (He might also tell you about how the company saved the Internet from hackers on multiple occasions.)

CarWoo (CEO Tommy McClung), from San Francisco, will present its approach to helping consumers buy cars online without the hassle of negotiating with dealers.

We will also have bonus presentations from stealth startup Scio Security (from Ann Arbor, MI) and Prysm, a next-generation laser display maker (based in San Jose, CA). A few more bonus appearances are on the way. Stay tuned for further updates to the program…

We’re really looking forward to convening the New England innovation community around these big ideas, speakers, and business lessons. You can register for the event here (we’ve created a special low price for anyone at a startup company); see you on December 8.


Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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