Magazine article Security Management

Gentlemen, Start Your Technologies

Magazine article Security Management

Gentlemen, Start Your Technologies

Article excerpt

THE DEMAND for homeland security technologies is insatiable, and that serves as an incentive encouraging companies to try to meet that demand by developing new security products and services. But some would-be innovators may need a push beyond that provided by the free market.

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That's the thinking behind two recent competitions that challenged entrepreneurs to develop new technologies in the aid of homeland security and rewarded them with a cash prize and the opportunity to court venture capitalists for funding.

Late last year, The Global Security Challenge, a competition organized by a group of M.B.A. students at the London Business School and sponsored by Smiths Detection, awarded the top prize among 30 contenders to Ingenia Technology and specifically its Laser Surface Authentication (LSA) technology.

LSA uses a laser to read the surface of paper, plastic, and metal. From the reflected laser, microscope "signatures" of the surface are captured. These signatures can be used to authenticate and track goods and documents ranging from credit cards to components of aerospace equipment.

The $10,000 prize won by Ingenia was mostly a symbolic gesture, given the huge cost of starting up a business. "The visibility, the 'stamp of approval' by our judges, and the networking with government buyers, venture capitalists, and industry leaders are the main benefits for the finalists," notes Simon Schneider, an M.B.A. student who helped spearhead the competition. …

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