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This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets and made possible by JPMorgan Chase. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.
“Are Qualcomm layoffs a disaster for San Diego….” asks Jeff Belk, founder and chairman of Velocity Growth, in a recent Xconomy article. “I don’t think so. Even though this will be very hard for those laid off and their families, it could end up being a watershed moment on a community level.”
Qualcomm’s layoffs – although numbers are unknown for the San Diego region – potentially mean that thousands of “…highly skilled employees across a broad range of disciplines are going to re-enter the job market.” These employees can fill positions at tech companies in San Diego looking for engineering and programming talent. These employees can reapply their skills and work in the life sciences and biotechnology industries assisting in genomic sequencing. These employees can start their own companies and create new technologies that shape the way we interact with our surroundings.
Although he was not laid off, in the case of Erik Bjontegard, former corporate R&D executive at Qualcomm, he did just that – launch his own company, Total Communicator Solutions.
Total Communicator Solutions (TCS) develops innovative, fully integrated mobile marketing communication platforms and customized applications to help clients connect with users, customers and future users in meaningful and measurable ways on mobile devices. Utilizing state-of-the-art beacon technology, TCS’ marketing platform, SparkCompass, enables the delivery of customized and relevant content for real-time consumer engagement.
“San Diego is an important base for us as we are still recognized as a telecom hi-tech innovation center,” said Bjontegard. “If we leverage this, focus on the differences between Silicon Valley’s software focus, and leverage Qualcomm's recognized global leadership in MOBILE - we may be able to put a flag in the sand and capture a leadership role in mobility.”
The success of the hi-tech industry’s small- and medium-sized companies is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, made possible by JPMorgan Chase, companies such as Total Communicator Solutions received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.
Total Communicator Solutions (TCS) currently operates in Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. By using the MetroConnect funds, TCS hopes to expand its technology across Europe and Asia. It recently completed a proof of concept installation at a EuroCup qualifying match in Oslo, Norway. Due to the successful display, the Norwegian National Soccer Federation is showcasing the reports and videos with many international soccer federations. TCS hopes to have partners in Manchester, London, and Barcelona.
“We are targeting Europe first because their advanced use of mobile smart devices and smart city initiatives,” said Bjontegard. “Barcelona is the world leading Smart City, London has its Tech City, Manchester has MediaCity and in Norway the whole country is going mobile by digitizing their national broadcast network and abolishing all POTs (Plain Old Telephone) lines next year.”
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