Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bringing Sky-High Technologies Down to Earth--Safely

By Jim

I was fortunate enough to get an introduction to John Secord, the COO of SouthSales Communications (www.southsales.com) located in Charlotte, NC. We met at a networking function last week and they are working on some pretty exciting data transmitting and storage technologies for “mobile resource management.”

I can't divulge everything we talked about, but it involves real time tracking and information gathering from basically anything that moves. And by moves, I mean stuff that moves really fast; aircraft to be exact. Everyone knows about the “black box” that holds the key to “what went wrong” any time an aircraft is downed. What I didn’t know before talking to John is that these new technologies are changing that paradigm faster than—well, faster than a speeding jet. Instead of locking all the information inside the aircraft, and deleting it before each new flight, now that information can stream directly to an off-board server, where it can be stored and analyzed in real time.

John is an interesting guy, a pilot and a military veteran, so he knows what he’s talking about. He’s actually personally made use of this technology. Orange County, California, not too far back, he and some friends were coming in at about 1200 feet, when the engine quit. No power, emergency situation. The story has a happy ending of course—they made it in safely, coasted in on momentum and the skill of a former military pilot (John himself, as a matter of fact). Thanks to their own technology installed in the aircraft, they analyzed the engine data over a glass of wine that night. Discovered the problem, transmitted details to the mechanic, got it fixed. Then transmitted the pertinent data to the engine manufacturer. Manufacturer used the data to find a flaw in the engine design, which they were then able to correct for future iterations of the same aircraft. Technology applied, lives saved.

And here’s what I can’t say much about but--They’ve recently completed some successful testing with Lockheed-Martin. Look for more about that soon.

John is himself an interesting individual with some great experience in varied industries ranging from movies and lighting, to software to communications. And of course, he’s a pilot and a military veteran (“We’re all aviators, and that’s what sparked this business,” he says). Being fairly new to the Charlotte area, he is on a quest to find out more about the businesses and opportunities we have here.

SouthSales has been in operation here for over twenty years and specializes in mobile data transmitting technologies for emergency services, hospitals, and governments. The company was founded by Tim Rock, who has now resumed his Sales leadership role within the company and working closely with John to develop new markets and products. Traditionally they have worked primarily within North and South Carolina, but are now moving to a national model with an emphasis on Government and the Military. They will do well because of their unique innovative leadership.

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