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From time to time, companies ask me to interview their corporate thought leaders and additional experts to construct a story on a topic their clients will find useful. I love these projects, as I learn so much in the process.

In 2019, I had the opportunity to ghostwrite a few sponsored stories for my primary client Crain Content Studio. Take a gander:

Writing, Editing, Project Management – Experience OnStar

Being managing editor of Connected Journey (ExperienceOnstar.com) meant more than proofreading for grammar and punctuation. I collaborated with a team of writers, art directors and buyers, video production specialists, digital designers and developers, social media engineers, attorneys, clients and others to produce content that would win best blog gold at the 2014 and 2015 Pearl Awards.

In addition to helping produce and publish content, I participated in the strategic planning of the website and the migration of content from WordPress to Craft.

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Native content: Techstars Mobility Detroit connects automotive, startup worlds

Techstars, one of the top-tier business accelerators in the U.S., took the long view when considering where to launch a new platform. What better place to establish a next-generation mobility and transportation program than the Motor City?

Techstars’ mission is to connect the automotive and start-up worlds. “The eco-system in Detroit has all the right ingredients for startups,” said Ted Serbinski, managing director of Techstars Mobilityin Detroit.

Those ingredients are plentiful, said Paul Riser, director of Technology-Based Entrepreneurship at TechTown Detroit, a business accelerator that partners with Wayne State UniversityHenry Ford Health System and General Motors. “It all boils down to the density of assets in the automotive industry along with Michigan’s automotive history, universities, talent, capital and the dozens of connected vehicle projects going on, which show Michigan’s commitment to mobility,” he said.

Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark, a public-private economic development group for Washtenaw and Livingston counties, agreed. He said the state has the highest concentration of automotive research and development activity not only for domestic automakers but foreign companies, like Toyota and Hyundai, that are making vehicles for the U.S. and abroad.

“That research capability is further bolstered by universities. The University of Michiganis one of the leading research facilities in its field,” he said, noting the U-M Mobility Transformation Center. These capabilities, Krutko added, go beyond automotive to other mobility technologies as well.

On top of that, Riser said, “We also have a committed philanthropic community that’s invested in our success, and they recognize that mobility is a big part of that.”

Read full story here.

This story is sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Special section – 2016 Eureka Index: Breaking with traditional technologies

Telephones have evolved from tools that just make calls to mobile instruments that entertain, inform and help users complete myriad transactions. Medical products have become smart. “And people no longer buy cars for horsepower but for their electronics,” said James Malackowski, CEO of Ocean Tomo LLC.

For this reason, he said, automakers and suppliers are consolidating their technologies and outnumbering life science companies on this year’s Eureka Index, Crain’s annual look at the top 25 most innovative companies. Crain’s worked with Ocean Tomo, a Chicago-based intellectual property valuation firm, to rank 2015 patent portfolios for companies in Southeast Michigan.

Rankings are based on patent quality, the projected ability to bring the patents to market, and whether patent owners keep their patents or make them public domain. In 2015, there were 4,182 patent awards in Southeast Michigan, which for this report includes Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, St. Clair and Genesee counties, up from 3,957 in 2014. Total patent awards in the U.S. last year dropped slightly to 325,979 from 326,032 in 2014.

Read the full intro story here.

Five patent holders worth noting:

Find the entire special section here.

Special section – Surfing the Internet of Things: Industry still sorting out complex network

Defining the Internet of Things is like describing a platypus: a complex, highly adaptable animal.

Ask experts and you might hear, “The Internet of Things is a model that uses networks of Internet-enabled devices without human intervention.” Or: “The Internet of Things is manufactured things connected to the Internet.”

From desktop telephones to handheld smartphones to heart signatures that unlock smartphones, IoT is not new.

But the rapidly evolving uses for smart sensor technology and the abundance of data being generated is making the Internet of Things increasingly part of the worldwide lexicon.

It is exemplified in chairs that monitor vital signs. It’s used with sensors that predict when machines, buildings and bridges will require maintenance. And IoT is involved when chips enable companies to remotely track products from assembly to delivery — or homes that will allow people to age in place.

The biggest IoT players are large brands headquartered elsewhere: Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc., General Electric, Medtronic Inc., IBM Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., and Microsoft Corp. However, many major Michigan-based companies — Ford Motor Co., Dow Chemical Co., Herman Miller — and state-based start-up firms are vying for a slice of the IoT pie.

Read full story here.

Michigan Innovators in IoT: These four companies have made notable Internet of Things innovations:

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