Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NMITSA IT Excellence... & Games

I don't know if you've taken a look at the NMITSA IT Excellence Awards Finalists for 2007, but this year's nominees include some of the key people and organizations behind our media industries' continued growth. Eric Witt and the NM State Investment Council are among the nominees -- and we were also surprised and happy to see many key players in our local International Game Developers Association on the list (GPS/Abalone Studios, Sandia National Laboratories – (Adaptive Thinking and Leadership Simulation) and Novint are all recognized -- and I'm honored to be nominated as well).

While much of the concentration -- and success -- of the Media Industries Strategy Project has been with film making, working with the community represented by the New Mexico Information Technology & Software Association (NMITSA) is extremely important to our continued growth. While we can argue whether game play will become our society's dominant form of entertainment, having a feel for the game development process (which they share more with making and publishing software than with producing film). As forms of media converge their definitions blur, electronic games are still considered part of the software family, and share much of the software development process.

The importance -- or potential importance -- of Game Development was really brought home last Thursday night when we had a great talk from Radical Entertainment President Kelly Zmak at the IGDA membership kick-off meeting (many of the folks listed above were there, btw). 

Talking on what it takes to build a viable & sustainable game industry in north America, many of his points were familiar to at least a few of us there in the audience; most are addressed in the Media Industries Strategic Plan.

We'll be posting more information on the Albuquerque IGDA site, but here are some quick highlights for now.


This was, to me, the through-line of his talk, drilling down on the importance of the following:
Talking through some of his personal experiences with each group or topic, the bottom line was that all of these must be present -- and working in concert -- to create the conditions for success.


As part of the "Talent Base" topic he highlighted the shared set of skills and interests of the following groups:
People working in each of these areas often have an interest in the others, and vice versa, and while not all the skills in a field may be transferable, having these kinds of people (and jobs) creates a bigger talent pool to draw from.  Since New Mexico is already pretty strong in technology-related fields, and our capabilities in entertainment media are growing stronger, we have good basic conditions to take advantage of this convergence (but we still need to do more to build both personal and professional connections between these groups).


To me, this was the key point.  Discussing Vancouver's 13 (16?) year journey to becoming one of North America's centers for media development (including 131 game production companies -- and a giant like EA), he noted that Vancouver had fewer specific strengths going for it when they started than New Mexico does now.

Taking the long view (and broadening the idea a bit) emphasizes the need to have students learning the tools they'll be working with as early as possible. As the length of time elementary school kids spend on games surpasses time spent watching movies and TV, we can use this to encourage a more active role for our youth, as participants and creators rather than as passive audience members.  To mix metaphors a bit, including principles of digital literacy early is essential to having a sustainable industry. 

There's more, of course, so one final note for the moment. Revenues for the digital entertainment industry are expected to double in the next three years, from $32B to $65B with the game sector leading the way. Choosing how we allocate our various resources will decide whether we share in that growth or not.

On 10/26/07, Webb Johnson <> wrote:
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NMITSA Announces 2007 New Mexico IT Excellence Awards Finalists


[Albuquerque, NM, OCT 26, 2007] – The New Mexico Information Technology and Software Association (NMITSA), the state's largest advocacy group for IT & software related business, announced today the finalists for this year's IT Excellence Awards.  Companies from across New Mexico took part in this year's competition, which seeks the best and most successful implementation of an IT or software solution, across several categories, produced by a New Mexico-based company or organization.  Solution Awards will be presented in eight categories:  Commercial Software, Custom Software, Innovative Research, Integrated Systems, IT Infrastructure, IT Support, Hardware and Embedded Systems, and Internet Solutions. In addition, four achievement awards will be presented to individuals and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to industry leadership, support, and promotion of IT in education throughout the state.


Sponsored in part by the New Mexico Business Weekly, News Radio 770 KKOB AM, and Sandia National Laboratories, the third annual IT Excellence Awards will be held in Albuquerque on November 15th, 2007 at the Embassy Suites, from 6 to 10 PM.


The leaders of New Mexico's information technology community will join for a gala evening to recognize and celebrate excellence and technical achievement in the New Mexico IT industry.  Jim Villanucci, comedian and host of the most listened to radio show in New Mexico will host the evening. Jeff Barr, web services evangelist from will keynote the event.  NMITSA has made tickets available on its website at


NMITSA – 2007 IT Excellence Solution Awards Finalists:


Commercial Software

·        ABC Coding Solutions –

·        Avistar – Wireless Substation Monitoring

·        Ultramain Systems – efbFlightLogs


Custom Software

·        Infotech Support – Wesstcorp Microenterprise Support Tool

·        New Mexico State University – UNO Project: Changing the Culture of a University in Three Years with an ERP Project

·        POD – Public Education Automated Budget Management System (ABMS)


Innovative Research

·        ABC Coding Solutions –

·        Sandia National Laboratories – Adaptive Thinking and Leadership Simulation

·        WESST Corp – ezSEO


Integrated Systems

·        Game Production Services, LLC dba Abalone Studios – Future Combat Systems Mobile Demonstration Trailer (FCS MDT)

·        Lumidigm – Unified Development Platform for Multi-Sensor Integration

·        POD – Public Education Automated Budget Management System (ABMS)


IT Infrastructure

·        Blue Jay Enterprises – Santa Fe Public Schools QMOE Project

·        Sandia National Laboratories – Collaborative Conference Rooms

·        Technology Integration Group – SNL Razor Cluster


IT Support

·        First Community Bank – Virtualization of the Corporate Desktop Using Softgrid and Citrix

·        Pat Campbell Insurance – A Business Ready Network

·        Sandia National Laboratories – Internal Web Redesign


Hardware and Embedded Systems

·        Avistar – Wireless Substation Monitoring

·        Lumidigm – Venus Series Embedded Processing for Performance and Security

·        Novint Technologies – The Novint Falcon


Internet Solutions

·        ABC Coding Solutions –

·        New Mexico State University – UNO Project: Changing the Culture of a University in Three Years with an ERP Project

·        Ultramain Systems – efbFlightLogs



NMITSA – 2007 IT Excellence Achievement Award Nominees:


Industry Leadership

·        Andrew L. Baca, President and CEO, Abba Technologies, Inc.

·        Eclipse Aviation

·        Gigablast

·        Eric Whitmore, Program Coordinator, UNM ARTS (Art, Research, Technology & Science) Lab


Nominees for Achievement in Industry Support

·        New Mexico State Investment Council

·        Jane Pelz, Webmaster, Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union

·        Technology Ventures Corporation

·        Eric Witt, Director of Media Industries Development, NM Governor Richardson's Office


Nominees for Achievement in Information Technology in Education – Organization

·        The Ibero-American Science and Technology Education Consortium

·        Sequoia Solutions

·        The Uptime Institute


Nominees for Achievement in Information Technology in Education – Individual

·        Michael Hites, Vice President and CIO, New Mexico State University

·        John Phaklides, Technology Director, Santa Fe Public Schools

·        Tom Ryan, Executive Director of Technology, Albuquerque Public Schools

·        Jonathan Wolfe, President, Fractal Foundation








New Mexico Information Technology & Software Association

Post Office Box 4125

Albuquerque, NM  87106

(505) 615-0250


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For more information about NM Media-related Events, visit:

Eric Renz-Whitmore, Program Coordinator

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