Vice President Eder Holguin cofounded the company in New York City five years ago. Originally from Columbia, Mr. Holguin previously worked in online advertising, designing marketing campaigns and techniques to drive traffic to his clients. The problem, however, for traditional advertising always has been how to measure customer response to campaigns.
IronTraffic and Mr. Holguin have taken advantage of the Web's interactive potential and built a more solid bridge from company to consumer. Using a variety of incentives and potential prizes like ipods, vacation getaways, or even cash, the firm induces consumers to participate in online surveys. The interactive survey, Mr. Holguin said, operates as a vast filtration system. It poses question after question until it identifies an interest the respondent has in purchasing a specific product, whether it is a diamond ring, a degree as dental technician, or a trip to Jamaica. This information is relayed immediately as a potential lead to a client company's call center.
To develop his product, formulate IronTraffic's business plan, and plot his innovations, Mr. Holguin drew on years of experience and an intense knowledge of the Internet. The company grabbed an interactive Web-based technology that was previous used by market researchers. Then, with the assistance of a slew of Israeli computer programmers, it was reconstructed to act as a sorting mechanism to generate sales leads.
IronTraffic's expanding client list, said Mr. Holguin, includes Hewlett-Packard, GEICO, MasterCard, and a host of smaller firms. Founded in 2002, its revenues grew from $0.8 million in 2004 to $4.2 million last year.
JM Fiber Optics, based in Chino, California, has been in the business of fiber optic communication cables for almost 20 years. But lately, CEO Kenneth Rivera has fashioned a suite of new products, all derived, but significantly departing, from his traditional expertise in cable technology. These innovations in communication and transportation are designed to capture "new niche markets and enhance the safety and reliability of existing technological solutions."
Last year, Los Angeles County Mass Transit Authority contracted with Mr. Rivera to replace the subway and rail system's outdated public information system. JM Fiber Optics designed and installed a state-of-the-art communication network known as TransitVUE. The network employs newly developed computer software and 350 large-screen monitors throughout the 62 Metro stations, all connected to a command communication center via fiber optics cables. The system permits the immediate transmission of emergency instructions, along with more routine passenger information.
The next JM Fiber Optic innovation off the production line was FibrMat, which is an intrusion detection and warning system for commuter rail and subway systems. Using a combination of fiber optic and infrared technology, FibrMat detects any tampering or suspicious activity near train and subway tracks. The LA Transit Authority has scheduled installation for this month.
At JM Fiber Optics, as with IronTraffic and ACTI, a sophisticated understanding of the market and its emerging niches drives the hunt for technologically innovative products. Mr. Rivera explained, "You have to stay in tune with the needs of the end-user, service providers, and consultants and with technology trends in the industry." An innovator, he said, uses that information, along with extensive technical knowledge built up through years of experience, to create new products or improve existing ones. As more Hispanic entrepreneurs grasp the vast potential of this type of innovation and its adaptability, they will continue to emerge as a driving new force in the American economy.
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