Irish drinking water and Canadian arrest reports might appear to have about as much in common as German mass transit and Louisiana hurricane conditions, but in actuality these are only four examples of a Huntsville software company’s truly global reach.
“It’s an exciting time to be a global technology player, and, while we want to remember our humble roots, we also want to be very aggressive in the marketplace, ” says John Graham, president of Intergraph Corp.’s Security, Government & Infrastructure division.
Founded in 1969 as M&S Computing Inc. to help put a man on the moon, Intergraph has reinvented itself repeatedly over the past four decades, leveraging its expertise to create tools that improve efficiencies for everything from real-time missile guidance and computer graphics to offshore oilfield monitoring and complex project management.
Graham says the company’s vision is simple: to help organizations see the world clearly.
In simplest terms that means engineering software solutions that help governments and businesses alike make “better, faster operational decisions, ” by allowing them to increase productivity, accelerate projects and gain a competitive edge, he says.
“Through superior software and services, we enable our customers to organize vast amounts of complex data into understandable visual representations, ” Graham says.
So, whether that means generating intelligent maps, dispatching emergency responders, operating more efficient ships and plants or managing assets and infrastructure more cost-effectively, Intergraph’s geospatial software already has been deployed in more than 60 countries, with demand continuing to mount, Graham says.
In October 2010, Intergraph was acquired by Stockholm-based Hexagon AB, a leading global provider of precision measurement technology systems. As a wholly owned Hexagon subsidiary, Intergraph now operates both the SG&I division, as well as its Process, Power and Marine division. The former creates and dispatches geospatial solutions for the public safety and security, defense and intelligence, government, transportation, utilities, and communications industries. The PP&M division provides enterprise engineering software for the design, construction and operation of plants, ships and offshore facilities.
Intergraph’s nearly 4, 000 employees represent about one-third of Hexagon’s total global workforce.
“We’re very proud of our Alabama roots and always will be as a company, but the reality is our oil and gas segment is a global business from Asia and the United States to Europe and the Middle East, ” Graham says.
And every country, he says, needs to be concerned about emergency preparedness, because, while the events themselves might be locally unique, maintaining and promoting public health and safety is a universal responsibility.
Achieving a global presence, however, means entrenching local teams in each country that are attuned to the unique culture and needs of each region. Maintaining those local presences is instrumental, he says, in ensuring the company can coordinate for global implementation when the need arises.
In turn, the company’s acquisition by Hexagon has allowed Intergraph to maintain its fundamental strategies while capitalizing on the new markets and resources the parent company brought to the table.
“Not only does it allow us to piggyback geographically and move into regions that are new territory for us, Hexagon offers capabilities we can integrate with our own to do things we hadn’t thought of before, ” Graham says.
Specifically, he says, Hexagon’s agricultural concentration now allows Intergraph to target large-scale companies in a sector in need of geospatial solutions.
For instance, Milton Rural Landcare, a group of Australian residents and landowners committed to improving the sustainability of farms, uses an Intergraph application to not only track and manage existing infrastructure and natural resources, but also to secure enhanced funding from local government agencies.
Other applications include:
- A mobile responder program for Canadian law enforcement that allows smartphone transmission of unit status, dispatch reports, incident updates and emergency requests. The app also allows officers in the field to access local police databases in real-time, view event details, interact with dispatchers, participate in real-time chats and verify locations via GPS tracking.
- A management system designed to optimize response to an estimated 70, 000 events per year by some 3, 600 French firefighters of the Hérault Fire Brigade and Rescue Service. Specifically, the program is designed to improve information sharing and command orders between the command-and-control room and 75 response centers, mobile command posts, service partners, equipment and staff.
- An outage management system in Lafayette, La., that improves grid reliability and customer service for Lafayette Utilities System. The electric, water and wastewater provider serves more than 62, 000 electric customers and 828 miles of distribution lines.
- A forecast and alert system for the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies in Colombia, to generate and distribute disaster information and manage the sustainable use of the country’s natural resources.
- An efficient management system for the Greater Dublin Region Water and Drainage Steering Groups that will also provide group members accurate information on the location, nature and condition of the system’s infrastructure.
- A geospatial transportation asset management system to help one of Germany’s largest public transportation organizations better manage its stops, switches, common crossings, expansion joints and track system.
- A program to assist the Russian State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology in processing data related to infectious diseases. The app also conducts risk analysis of biologically hazardous objects and allows the center to process and analyze satellite imagery when assessing environmental impact factors.
Kelli Dugan is a freelance writer for Business Alabama. She lives in Mobile.
By Kelli M. Dugan