Visualization companies leading the way
As part of the visualization community, I have always believed that it is not sufficient to develop new techniques and present/publish them at the Visualization conferences. The strength of the techniques has to reach out to the people with the data. Companies that polish those techniques and take the effort to showcase their abilities to a large audience are the true leaders who reveal the power of visualization to a common user.
Here a few companies that I have always been impressed with and have been following for some years:
Tableau software – With an exceptional group like theirs, what else could you expect? Tableau software came out of Stanford university, with the guidance of Pat Hanrahan and the vision of Chris Stolte, this software company was formed. They now have a phenomenal team of researchers, academics, managers and software developers who are doing some great work. It is particularly exciting to see Jock Mackinlay on their board. He has always been an ardent believer in the ability of visualization as a whole. [His blog and some of his papers]. I am sure you can find much more information on their website.
I was really happy to hear that they secured $10 million in series B funding from New Enterprise Associates, Inc. (NEA). I read a few blogs to find more about Tableau, and came across this blog entry “Is Tableau the next Google?” I sure hope so :)
Stamen Design - The group at Stamen seem to come up with the most effective, visually appealing visual representations of data. They seem to just ‘get it’. Their projects page shows a small sampling of the talent that the company houses. Recently, I was excited to see that MSNBC was using their visualization to show the progressions of hurricanes through the Atlantic. Click here for MSNBC’s storm center developed by Stamen.
Spotfire/TIBCO – Spotfire was another great company that got acquired by TIBCO in Summer 2007. Spotfire has been developing some great software for business professionals and is putting in a lot of effort in getting their software into the hands of users. Their wide range of products fine-tuned based on industry or application make their products versatile and accessible. Their acquisition by TIBCO implies the need to incorporate data visualization into the toolbox of business professionals.
Kitware – How can one ever forget Kitware in a list of visualization companies leading the way. Under the excellent and brave leadership of Will Schroeder this company, which started out as a open-source visualization toolkit company, has grown in leaps and bounds into a huge scientific visualization (and now infovis) powerhouse. They have continued the development and support of the Visualization Toolkit (VTK), and Insight Toolkit (ITK) which many of us have used widely to get our feet wet in the field of visualization and image analysis. The notable and applaudable fact about the company is their commitment to the open-source community. They have been contributing, helping and supporting the endeavors of open source projects in fields as diverse as oil exploration, medical imaging, geographic data visualization and many more. They have a wide variety of products that are well supported and extremely useful. And in case, any of you are looking for a job, they are hiring too at the moment.
If you know of other visualization companies that are out there working hard to get visualization techniques to the masses, please feel free to add their names in the comments section.