Technology & Biotech

Voices in the Cloud

Eric Crawford is well familiar with the advantages of a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone system. As many business owners have discovered, the cost savings of switching to a VoIP system can be considerable, which has many of them taking the leap from the old-school, static phone grid into the wild world of the Web. But it’s the flexibility VoIP offers that really won over Crawford, the founder and partner of Milwaukee’s Bright Blue Alliance, an executive search recruiter for the water industry.

Beyond the Twitter of Social Media Apps

Now that mobile phones have made the entire world "app crazy," there is growing business interest in social media applications beyond Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ because so many of them offer real business value. The same tools that have been used to spread consumer and voter revolts also are being used to solidify brand loyalty, a process that is taking on a more proactive dimension.

IT: Personal Devices in Business Environs

Actively managing employees' personal devices within the corporate environment falls on companies large and small. The failure to police employees, even oneself (think sole proprietor) can expose a business to legal issues and inhibit business growth, so not only do entrepreneurs have to be mindful of how they communicate with clients and vendor partners, they must put some thought into who should get access to what data, and how to comply with industry regulations.

The future of digital marketing: Don't panic

In this brave new world of digital marketing, it may seem daunting for business owners to sort through all the options they have for getting their message out. And with new technology emerging at a breakneck pace, the future of marketing might seem uncertain enough to prompt more than a few desperate tweets about upset stomachs and anxious nights.

From dot-com to dot-whatever: Website naming options take another giant leap forward

"Dot-com" is such an integral part of the language these days, it's easy to forget just how novel the word is – and how quickly the Internet itself has changed since bursting onto the scene in the '90s. (Remember the good old days when it took 20 minutes to load a sketchy Geocities Star Trek fan page and AOL sent you enough CDs in a month to re-side your garage?)

For those whose favorite music CDs are merely collecting dust these days in deference to MP3s, iPods and other techie toys, there's hope on the horizon.

Securing Computer and Office

You're on the verge of launching your business, and whether you have a home business or are leasing office space, you must take certain security measures for your computer and office facility. Two of the common mistakes made with either computer equipment or the data contained within is the failure to back up important files (when various vendors can make it easier) and the lack of technology savvy associated with putting bank account information (or Social Security numbers) in e-mail transmissions.

Firms Not Being Left to Their Own Devices

Wisconsin production may be in good shape, with two major metro areas – Madison and Milwaukee – in the nation's top 10 for medical devices, but that doesn't mean there aren't worry lines forming on the faces of area company executives who manufacture medical devices.

SnowShoeFood: Scanning the globe, one salad at a time

Even in the most benighted backwaters of our energy-hungry nation, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn't at least somewhat familiar with global warming and climate change. And by now, most people have at least heard the term "carbon footprint." But ask people to estimate what their daily carbon footprint is or, indeed, why it's important, and you'll likely be met with the blankest of blank stares.

Bio Formulation: Lack of "VC" Limits Growth

Wisconsin's biotech industry is one of the state's few growth areas, but the lack of venture cash is still holding it back. Area experts weigh in on proposed capital infusions.

Women in Business

Judy Faulkner, Laurie Benson, Toni Sikes, Sharon Chamberlain, Jan Eddy, Gail Ambrosius ... Madison's roster of female business success stories would be the envy of many communities, and there are, no doubt, many more chapters to be written.

Net Plus? Will FCC Regulate or Run?

The FCC's recent decision to reclassify broadband service is meant to provide protective regulation, but skeptics say the current regulatory approach works just fine.

Executive Profile: Bryan Chan on Spam, Lies and a Greener Grid

Bryan Chan, 42, president and founder of SupraNet Communications, Inc., Madison, hopes one day to visit all the U.S. National Parks, but there's one problem: He keeps returning to his favorite four — Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Zion. With the vastness of each park promising endless possibilities, perhaps it follows logically that Chan's fascination would translate into a career in another type of expanse — cyberspace.

10 Tips for a Better Web Site

Area companies sent IB their Web sites for a formal review by judges. Here are peer samples of "best practices" in design.

Raven Software: Gaming Ground

(MUSIC RISES – pulsating sounds emit excitement and... danger!) VIDEO: Camera flying quickly through office spaces, swinging sideways down hallways, crashing through a set of double-doors that hide a critical game secret... VOICE: This is Raven Software. Taking gaming into the future and beyond...