Top Southern California Technology Trends for 2004

For those hardy souls working between the Christmas and New Years holidays, will be offering a few observations on the top technology trends and we've seen here developing throughout the year, and some of the companies who are tapping into those trends. Today we're looking at some of the top trends in companies for 2004.

Open Source software gained a lot of attention this year, with Santa Monica-based Gluecode Software, Santa Barbara-based Versora, and Woodland Hills-based Metapa among the many Southern California companies leveraging open source software to build their own application suites or to otherwise build startup businesses. Gluecode is developing an open source Java application platforms, including an application server, database, and more built on the open source Apache Software Foundation components. Versora is tapping into the move towards open source software by helping companies migrate from Microsoft-based software to Open Source Linux web applications and databases. Metapa has created a high performance, clustered database built on open source components targeted at data warehousing applications.

Business Process Management was another area of activity, with several variants on the theme. Santa Monica-based Digital Evolution, Calabasas-based Oak Grove Systems, and Santa Monica-based CrownPeak are all taking advantage of user interest in managing their business applications and communications with business partners. Digital Evolution's XML VPN appliance helps companies manage their SOA management, provisioning and security of SOAP/XML-based data exchange using Web Services standards. Oak Grove Systems' Reactor business process management (BPM) software allows business users to manage business process workflows through a drag and drop interface. CrownPeak's CMS software allows companies to manage web site content through an easy to use web interface.

Online Advertising continues to be a hot area for Southern California; Google Inc.'s IPO has spurred interest in this area, with companies like Santa Barbara-based FastClick (filed for a recent IPO), Westlake Village-based ValueClick, and Overture (now Yahoo) all trying to claim their own piece of this lucrative market. On a very closely related trend, Search Technology saw lots of activity Southern California, with Pasadena-based X1, an Idealab startup, signing a recent deal to provide desktop search for search engine leader Yahoo; Google acquiring another Idealab-based startup, Picasa, which provided image-based cataloging and search tools for the desktop; and former employees of Santa Monica-based Applied Semantics (now Google's Southern California R&D center) seeing their own piece of the Google IPO.

Companies across the entire spectrum of Wireless continue to garner interest. Companies in both the hardware and software space are looking to tap into the newest trends towards ubiquitous wireless access. Investors this year saw promise in San Diego-based SKY Mobile Media, Irvine-based Networks In Motion, Santa Monica-based Sendia, and San Diego-based Digital Orchid. On the semiconductor side, Irvine-based Wispry, San Diego-based companies Peregrine Semiconductor, Staccatto Communications, RF Magic, Figure 8 Wireless and Sequoia Communications, are just some of the many companies who saw funding this year for wireless-related components and chips.