The World Economic Forum today announced the 30 companies selected worldwide as "Technology Pioneers" for 2004. Company nominations are made by the international venture community and members, constituents and collaborators of the World Economic Forum. Candidates are reviewed and evaluated by an external Selection Advisory Committee.
The Technology Pioneers 2004 are profiled in a report being published today by Apax Partners and the Economist Intelligence Unit entitled "The Next Big Thing?"* The emergent technology trends represented by the Technology Pioneer companies selected are: ubiquitous computing, nanotechnology, biotechnology and energy technology. Ubiquitous computing will become the fabric of everyday life by integrating computing and communications power into almost everything, from fridges to clothes to door-handles to wallpaper. Nanotechnology, by integrating nanoscale components with conventional electronics, is now in the stages of creating nanotech products. Biotechnology is making rapid progress in the understanding of computer data which has led to new approaches in drug design and discovery. Alternative energy technologies are beginning to switch to a "hydrogen economy" which involves using hydrogen as a medium for the storage and transmission of energy.
"It is probably too early to say if those companies chosen as Tech Pioneers 2004 support a new trend in the sorts of areas that are providing breakthroughs in technology, but the companies we have selected as Technology Pioneers exemplify the ingenuity and drive that underpin life-changing innovation and, just as important, their discoveries are now reaching market readiness," said José María Figures, Co-Chief Executive Officer of the World Economic Forum. "Without a doubt four key fields have emerged as the area to watch since the demise of the Internet bubble."
The programme is run by the World Economic Forum with guidance from Apax Partners and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Technology Pioneer 2004 companies include:
- Nanomix from the United States which is manufacturing "nanoelectronic sensors" produced at small size and lower power consumption for a market where competing products cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per installed sensor. The technology could be used for leak detection in oil refineries, indoor air quality sensing in offices and chemical detection in drinking water.
- CK Life Sciences, the first nominee from China, which works in the sustainability of food production and development. The company has developed an "eco-fertilizer" that provides high yields and increases farm income, but does not cause pollution.
- mnemoScience in Germany which is working in "shape memory" technology. The technology is particularly useful in the medical field where shape memory polymers respond to body temperature to change to a different shape. Possible uses of this technology include coronary stents to prop open arteries or scaffolds to grow new organs.
- Regeneration Technologies, also in the US, which is working in the field of human donor tissue with a sterilization and viral inactivation process that ensure tissue safety. The company’s new process is able to inactivate the most resistant organisms that could lead to serious infection and could hinder recovery from surgery