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Hackers Work Together to Help Israeli Tourism

The Israeli American Council hosted nearly 200 Israeli, Israeli-American and Jewish-American students last month for the IAC Eitanim Summer Hackathon. The event culminated on June 28 with a Demo Day in which the students presented at the American Jewish University in the Sepulveda Pass their products developed to use inflight experiences to educate and engage passengers traveling to Israel about the country. Shoham Nicolet, chief executive of the council, said that a commonality among the products developed by the 17 startup teams was creating a personalized experience. “It starts with the inflight experience and continues outside as you go on a trip in Israel,” Nicolet said. One of the top products as chosen by the judges was a repackaging of food as way to teach about the diversity of Israel; another was a virtual reality experience that is custom made for the flight passengers about the country’s culture and history, Nicolet said, adding “you have a (virtual) tour guide with you the moment you go on the site.” The top winning product was an app for inflight video seat-back programming to connect passengers to opportunities with nonprofits across Israel. Judges included Nicolet; Danna Balas, co-founder of Menchies Frozen Yogurt in Encino; David Gonen, an investor with expansive knowledge of technology trends; and Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit with a goal of sending spacecraft to the moon. The intent of the five-day program was to teach about both Israel and technology but to do it in a way that puts the students in the driver’s seat, Nicolet said. “You create an immersive learning experience that is life changing for students versus just putting them in a classroom and teaching them,” he added. Utility Tech Contractor Integrated Telemanagement Services Inc. has been certified as a woman-owned enterprise by the California Public Utilities Commission. The Simi Valley provider of telecom and internet services went through a rigorous certification process, including verification of the firm’s operational stability and fiscal health and a thorough review of the majority owner’s qualifying characteristics. Chief Executive Sharon Woods, who bought the company in 2004 from the founders, said receiving the certification from the commission was a milestone. “When I took over the management and ownership of ITS, the telecommunications industry was a male-dominated industry. A woman president was quite unique,” Woods said in a statement. “Today there are many more women in technology and I hope to inspire more women in the future.” The commission has certified women and minority businesses since 1988 through its Supplier Clearinghouse, which audits and verifies the status of those businesses and maintains a database accessible to both the commission and participating utilities. ITS is one of 58 women-owned technology companies certified by the commission. “By achieving this certification, we look forward to providing California utilities options to help them meet their diversity requirements while speeding up the contracting process,” Woods added in her statement. Lustre Acquisition DataDirect Networks Inc. has acquired the Lustre File System business and related assets from Intel Corp., the companies announced last month. Terms of the June 25 deal between the Chatsworth computer storage company and Intel in Santa Clara were not disclosed. The assets include the Lustre open-source file system that provides high-performance systems for computer clusters ranging in size from small workgroup clusters to large-scale, multi-site clusters. The technology is used in high-performance computer systems in the health care, energy, manufacturing, financial services and academic research sectors. DataDirect will operate the Lustre team as an autonomous division within the company. It will be run by Senior Vice President Robert Triendl, who has helped grow the company’s involvement in Lustre over the past decade. The acquisition of Intel’s Lustre file system capability is a move that combines the most advanced file system technology with DataDirect’s already substantial high-performance computing, analytics and cloud product portfolio, according to the company. Chief Executive Alex Bouzari said he was excited to bring on the experienced software development team with the acquisition. “Over the next few years, we are going to invest significant resources to enhance usability and to broaden Lustre’s capabilities and feature set in the direction of flash-enabled performance, analytics, enterprise and hybrid cloud,” Bouzari said in a statement. IV Monitor PDC Healthcare has launched a new monitoring system for intravenous tubing. The Valencia developer and manufacturer of identification and patient safety products uses an innovative color-changing technology on its TimeAlert IV reminder labels to provide visual cues for when IV tubing needs changing. “Working with our hospital clients, we developed TimeAlert IV to make it easier for time-strapped caregivers to get a visual reminder plus added accountability and convenience,” Heather Hudson, marketing manager for PDC Healthcare, said in a statement. TimeAlert IV comes in 72-hour and 96-hour formats to support the most common IV tubing change protocols used by health providers. The indicator includes fields for caregivers to record the IV start time and date, change time and date, and initials for compliance and accountability. PDC Healthcare is a division of PDC, a manufacturer of identification products for the leisure, animal health and law enforcement markets. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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