SST Wireless took second prize in the 2004 New Ventures BC competition for a tire-pressure monitoring system for passenger cars.
Since then, the company has gone on to design and manufacture advanced tire-pressure monitoring systems for large industrial fleets such as mining haul trucks and transit and commercial vehicles. Company president Graham Schnare says his system’s durability and precise measurement capabilities have proven a good fit for this market segment.
“We can design specialized applications that generate significant financial benefits for the user,” he says, noting that the systems now also deliver data directly into central customer-fleet management systems.
According to Kal Tire Ltd., SST’s joint venture partner since 2007, an SST system at a single mine can produce between $5-10 million in annual savings.
“Systems for much larger transit fleets can provide more extensive benefits,” says Schnare. “What’s more, SST transit systems can reduce greenhouse gases by about two tons per vehicle per year, enough to make a significant environmental difference even in a city the size of New York, with its 3,000- bus fleet.”
In addition to its customers in North America, SST has developed clients in Sweden, Chile and Australia.
SST is based in Vernon BC, and also has an engineering facility in Delta BC.
Schnare anticipates that sales will double in 2010 and redouble in 2011. SST shares are currently closely held by a small group of private investors, but the company tentatively plans an IPO in 2011 if market conditions permit.
BMO Bank of Montreal First Prize Winner
Vectis Technologies, a North Vancouver company with a new lithographic plate processing technology for the $50 billion North American offset printing industry is this year’s winner of the BMO Bank of Montreal $60,000 first prize package in the TELUS New Ventures BC competition.
The technology was developed by Douglas Manness of Vectis Technologies. Manness new plate processing technology improves printing quality while reducing costs. It uses fewer chemicals, is self-cleaning and improves etching control for more consistent plate development.
Second prize Winner
SST Wireless Inc.
Winner of the $40,000 second prize package is SST Wireless Inc. of Kelowna for its new tire pressure monitoring system. Based on break-through radio frequency technology, the system alerts drivers when their tires are not at the optimal tire pressure. The technology is built into a tire pressure valve and will be distributed as an after-market product.
Third Prize Winner
Aquassure Bath Products
Aquassure Bath Products of Kelowna won the $20,000 third prize package for an elevated bathtub with a patented, waterproof sliding door. People using wheelchairs or walkers or who have disabilities can simply transfer into the bathtub and sit comfortably submerged with their legs extended.
Everyone loathes spam email, and while the quantity of it continues to increase over the years, it has become less of a problem due to continued innovation by companies like MailChannels, based out of downtown Vancouver. A New Ventures BC competitor in 2004, MailChannels has quickly become a world leader in email spam filtering. Their software is designed for enterprise level customers: ISPs, large companies, governments and educational institutions.
Selling anti-spam software to large enterprise customers can be tricky, since the open source Apache SpamAssassin software is free, effective, and widely used. Rather than compete directly, MailChannels’ Traffic Control software works with SpamAssassin to provide an extra layer of filtering. When receiving email from a questionable source, the software deliberately stalls the connection; legitimate mail servers will be patient and wait to finish sending, but spam bots will usually give up and move on. This technique alone blocks 90% of spammers.
Company CEO Ken Simpson says MailChannels is in its second profitable year with annual growth of 500 percent. This level of success has allowed them to give back to the community. They recently donated infrastructure to support the SpamAssassin project, and the Traffic Control software is free for non-commercial users that receive less than 10,000 connections per day.
While the once frequently prophesied dream of the paperless office still isn’t a complete reality, the majority of new business information exists in the digital realm. While digital documents can be infinitely copied, the lifespan of digital storage media is often shorter than that of analog media. Despite technological advances, the need for proper archiving remains, and is often required by law.
Datawitness, a fourth round finalist in 2004 based out of Richmond, provides a robust data retention solution for small to large business, education, and governments. In addition to archiving documents in their secure data center, Datawitness also transfers those documents to microfilm, creating an analog copy suitable for long-term storage. Documents are digitally fingerprinted to guard against tampering. On top of this platform, they provide a “Mailwitness” service that tracks delivery and receipt of sensitive email, along with archiving.
The service has been approved for use by the governments of British Columbia and Ontario. In 2006, they won an “Investor’s Choice” award at the 20th Angel Forum in Vancouver. In 2007, Datawitness received “Eligible Business Corporation” status, allowing investors to receive a tax credit under the New Media Venture Capital program. Also in 2007, Datawitness launched an API, allowing third party developers to plug in to their service.
Datawitness’ innovative technology, competitive pricing, and attention to legal requirements has rewarded them with pleased customers and stable growth. As more of the world’s data is converted to digital form, and data retention standards become more strict, demand for Datawitness’ services will increase into the foreseeable future.