Marriage Matching Subscription Site
TechEmpower was eHarmony's acting-CTO and sole development team for its first four years. Initially, we were brought in to help figure out how to turn their concept for using psychographic models for marriage matching into a site that would scale to millions of potential users. We also helped eHarmony with all the other important aspects like subscription models, marketing spend analysis, conversion tracking, custom user-to-user communication, and other key functional elements.
We helped eHarmony scale from a few hundred early-adopters through to millions of users. After getting a $110M investment that would be used for large media buys, TechEmpower helped eHarmony transition all development in-house. eHarmony continues to be a profitable, successful business that accounts for approximately 5% of the marriages in the United States each year.
Controller software for radiochemical synthesizer
Biochemistry, like most industries, continues to evolve with increased automation. Sofie Biosciences builds machines that can precisely measure, mix, and react radiochemicals using visual scripts designed on tablet computers.
TechEmpower worked with SofieBio to design and implement the tablet software used by chemists and lab technicians to design, test, and run chemical reaction sequences on Sofie's Elixys hardware. Using a drag-and-drop scripting engine, sequences are created and configured. All attributes such as reaction temperature, stirring speed, pressure, and reaction time are easily adjustable and sanity-checked before production runs.
During runs, live video streams from the reaction chambers are visible on the tablet along with run time and ETA of completion.
Custom-fitting Apparel without the Custom Tailoring
MyShape allowed female shoppers to provide their measurements and fit preferences and be provided a personal store with off-the-rack apparel that would work fit them.
TechEmpower worked alongside MyShape to design the core systems and technology that took users through an easy registration and measurement process and resulted in a "personal shop" filled with products guaranteed to be a great fit. A combination of measurement compatibility and self-selected preferences were used to filter a catalog of products while still yielding a selection that encouraged browsing.
TechEmpower was instrumental in getting MyShape launched quickly and very successfully. After launch we helped transition day-to-day development to an in-house team.
Insight — Digital Asset Management
Having developed desktop image collection management software, Luna Imaging approached TechEmpower to create a web-based product that allowed searching of high resolution digital archives of prestigious universities and art institutions around the world.
TechEmpower and Luna worked closely together to understand the significant challenge of working with widely varied databases and turning them into a visually compelling system that includes both native and web-delivered clients. TechEmpower's work included the design of patented algorithms for executing field-level searches across multiple collections with disparate schemas and vocabularies concurrently.
Luna's Insight has become the leading software product in the category and is installed at most major art institutes and many leading universities. Among the over 200 clients are Museum of Modern Art New York, Art Institute of Chicago, Yale, and Cornell. In 2002, this program won the Webby for Technical Achievement, beating both Google and Sony. Today you can see it running the NASA Images site.
Optimizing Marketing and Advertising
Fed by a massive amount of data and research, MarketShare Partners created and then evolved a sophisticated algorithm to very finely optimize advertising and marketing spending for large clients such as Coca Cola and Electronic Arts.
MSP approached TechEmpower with a proof of concept version implemented in Adobe Flex. TechEmpower was able to take over development of the Flex version in the short-term while also building out a new more scalable version of the platform in HTML5.
With the new platform in place, MSP was able to keep up with a previously-overflowing sales pipeline and meet demand for their unique service.
Customized Search with Swag
The founders of Prodege envisioned a platform for popular music artists to generate money for good causes such as charities. Prodege would build co-branded search engines that give fans of the artist an opportunity to win the artist's swag (t-shirts, signed albums).
TechEmpower worked with Prodege to build the system from the ground up including integration with a web-search API, highly customized look & feels, a points system, user profiles, and commerce.
Prodege has sold branded search sites to dozens of high-profile artists and also tremendously grown their house brand, SwagBucks. With only two front-end servers hosting all Prodege sites, TechEmpower's web application platform gracefully services many million searches and e-commerce transactions per day.
World Shoe Association
Industry Product Database and Trade Show Sites
The World Shoe Association (WSA) is the principal trade organization in this segment of the huge fashion industry. WSA needed to engage with vendors for regular trade shows and wanted to build a worldwide catalog of millions of shoe product offerings.
TechEmpower built a variety of systems for WSA. The reusable trade show site incorporates an open source content management system. "The Shoebook" is a massive catalog of vendor's products for use by retailers during each season's purchasing cycles and by the vendors themselves.
Online Event Photography
While working in one of their founder's basements, PhotoZone engaged with TechEmpower to design an automated event photography system. PhotoZone had an existing site that allowed users to order a photographer for an event, review, and then purchase the resulting pictures online, but the process was entirely manual. They needed a cost-effective way to achieve automation.
TechEmpower built a system that included a photo-ingest application for photographers, an e-commerce web site for consumers, and fulfillment center software system that automated printing on high-end photo lab printers. The solution proved to be very scalable even with high volume and with large assets such as high resolution photos.
PhotoZone's business grew quickly to about $1 million per month before they were acquired in 2000 by the largest photography fulfillment lab in the country. The software was transitioned in-house by a development team and became the basis for that business' approach to online photography.
TechEmpower is now working with the founders of PhotoZone on their next startup effort.
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences needed to quickly and cost-effectively build functionality for their members on top of an existing static brochure-style site. The members-only functionality needed to integrate with existing code and systems used elsewhere in the organization.
TechEmpower proposed and developed an on-line membership database for the Academy's 22,000 members. This included the implementation of a security system to protect extremely sensitive profile information. It also included customized home pages, single sign-on, and message boards.
TechEmpower worked closely with the Academy's team throughout the process to design and develop a great solution. The site was up quickly and the Academy found that the new capabilities greatly reduced workload and provides significant value to their members.
Operations Automation, Intranet, Extranet, Corporate Internet
As a mid-size construction company, Rok processes hundreds of jobs on a daily basis. A business process management system provides automation for their key workflow, while extranets provide customers and partners access to service and project information quickly.
TechEmpower implemented a customized business process platform and built an easy user interface for customer service. A partner-facing extranet allows insurance agents to participate in the workflow on behalf of residential customers. Additionally, TechEmpower has designed and implemented other key systems such as project accounting systems and the corporate internet site.
The high degree of automation for construction-job processes provided by these systems has streamlined Rok and facilitated their rapid growth. Rok staff are able to address customer and partner inquiries quickly, increasing customer satisfaction. The systems and training have also helped ease the adoption of corporate practices and procedures as Rok has continued to grow by acquiring smaller construction firms.
Lieberman Research Worldwide
Online Survey and Reporting Tools
LRW needed a variety of online data analysis and reporting capabilities for their wide-ranging survey data. Most work was being done laboriously by hand or using legacy technology.
TechEmpower created a general purpose survey data importing and reporting framework in use across several LRW projects. In addition, many tools have been designed and implemented to assist with other previously-manual efforts such as analyzing the validity of data and generating reports.
LRW has successfully launched several online survey reporting tools for customers and sells the capability to future business opportunities. The variety of support tools have helped dramatically reduce the hands-on labor required to analyze and summarize data. This combination helps drive new sales while reducing ongoing costs.
Live Planet & Project Greenlight
Online Screenplay and Director Contest
LivePlanet, a hybrid production studio created by actor-producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, needed a way to conduct the online portion of their innovative crowdsourced film production contest called Project Greenlight. The contestants were aspiring writers and directors, and the contest's prize was a $1M budget from Miramax films to shoot a feature film.
TechEmpower developed a system that supported the entire process-from uploading script and short film submissions, to reviewing and scoring, to providing access to the crowd-vetted finalists. The site was a custom combination of asset and content management, e-commerce, and proprietary workflow.
ProjectGreenlight saw three iterations (accompanied by three seasons of a reality television show) and TechEmpower was proud of our part in the project. LivePlanet engaged TechEmpower on numerous other projects including another TV show, Push, Nevada. Through this work TechEmpower has worked alongside top brands including Ford, HP and Samuel Adams.
Semiconductor Distributor's Global Web Site
Memec is a leading international semi-conductor distributor that represents hundreds of semiconductor manufacturers and over 1.6 million different parts. They needed a complex, multilingual web site that could handle the multiple brands and the highly complex relationships in their distribution model.
TechEmpower integrated and customized content management, content search, and a semiconductor information system to create a truly unified site. Content experts in markets throughout the world keep content up to date. End customers find appropriate technical solutions via an easy to understand structure to a large and incredibly complex information repository.
Given an intricate business model, multiple brands and tremendous content management issues, TechEmpower was able to combine creative design, information architecture, and technical know-how to produce a site that extends the Memec brand and promise.
Specialty Property Web Sites
Several of the most distinguished Hilton properties had special needs in translating their brand and content onto the web. The existing corporate content management system was inflexible and the elite properties required a partner who could make the creative needs cooperate with the technical realities.
TechEmpower worked closely with each hotel to understand their particular brand needs, information architecture needs, and custom functionality needs. We worked through a creative process that resulted in a custom look-and-feel for each property, with each still adhering to corporate standards. We integrated this visual solution with the back-end systems that allowed for booking.
The elite properties have been extremely pleased with the results. Each site truly captures that property's brand and provides a structure for continuing updates.
Universal Music Group
Digital Asset Management
Universal Music Group controls the rights to a million songs that are frequently licensed for use by artists, films, television shows and commercials, and in many other ways. Universal needed a quick way to find songs to pitch to potential clients. In short, they needed a means to capitalize their license assets.
TechEmpower designed a digital asset management program that allowed agents to search across the vast archive and preview tracks and song segments on the fly. Searches could be refined across a variety of dimensions such as genre, product fit, and tone. The system also acted as a customer relationship management system so that pitches could be tracked and transactions reported. A back-end distributed the songs around the globe to different locations based on usage patterns.
Universal Music rolled out the system to enthusiastic usage. They found that pitches take 50% less time and they now enjoy reduced legal exposure because the system audits where each song has been pitched. This has been a big success and is seen as a core application within their business.
HP needed to reduce time to market for new products by improving the product knowledge uptake of channel partners. They wanted to deliver information to partners in a timely way and reduce support costs on new products.
TechEmpower designed and created an information flow that consisted of high-level introductory courses about products and product lines that then launched channel partners into greater detail. We designed and built the HP Ed Channel to allowing HP to easily add, distribute and administer content. The Ed Channel tracked usage and provided an interface for channel partner support teams to help guide partners to appropriate content. When new information is posted, based on interest areas of the channel partners, the system sends personalized messages, with links directly into the extranet, about relevant products.
The system delivers information to 1.6 million users in 70,000 organizations around the world, and content developers use the system to rapidly update and push content. It was largely a precursor to what is now known as a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) - at the time it was simply an innovative blend of LMS and CMS functionality.
Project Manager Knowledge Management Intranet
TechEmpower initially consulted with IBM because their 30,000 project managers around the world were facing over 120 independent intranets that contained information about best practices in project management. At the same time, IBM was designing tool sets for Knowledge Management.
TechEmpower worked with IBM to arrive at a common portal for these sites and to provide simple access to Knowledge Management tools and their supporting systems. This portal was a common front-end to all that project managers needed. We then worked closely with IBM's Center of Excellence for Project Managers and Global Learning Services on a series of communications and e-Learning courses that help Project Managers understand the common portal, the KM tools and other important recent developments.
The portal served as planned allowing access by project managers across the varied web sites in a fast an effective manner. Five courses have been completed and these courses have been hailed by Global Learning Services as a great example of how e-learning should be done in IBM. Through the portal and the courses, project managers now can utilize the tools much more effectively.
Japanese Portal, Community and Market Research Site
Boook was a brand-new start-up that provided a shopping destination and community to consumers in the Japanese marketplace and provided market research to a wide variety of companies behind the scenes. The system needed robust content management integrated with mechanisms for conducting market research that would tie demographic data to consumer opinions and site usage relative to content and products.
TechEmpower built the core engine that allowed for fast searching of demographic information across the site, facilitating easy answers to precise questions such as what are 13-17 year old boys in a particular area of Japan saying about a particular brand? This kind of market research is not easily available through any other source and represents a novel departure from typical Internet panels.
Boook found an interesting niche in the marketplace that attracted several top name companies to sign-on. Out of this, they were able to sell the technology to a larger Japanese portal that now offers these services and has access to a larger community.
Auto-show and Dealership Kiosk
Lexus needed an interactive kiosk in their dealerships available by customers, salespeople, or both simultaneously. Additionally, they needed to outsource the kiosk fulfillment process and their ongoing support. The kiosks continued Lexus's "pursuit of perfection" into the service they provide their dealers. Each kiosk and the service provided to dealers had to match the high standards Lexus is known for.
Lexus selected TechEmpower as the one-stop-shop to meet all their needs, from the design and development of the kiosk application to the design of the kiosk hardware to fulfillment and on-going support. The application itself was built using Flash with a custom shell that controlled the platform, managed automatic updates, and allowed customization by the dealer.
Dealers have been extremely pleased with the simple order and set up process, the elegant design of the application, and how well the kiosk design integrates into the showroom environment. Anecdotal feedback points to an increased JD Power Sales Satisfaction Index and Customer Satisfaction Index at dealers with the kiosk.