Facebook changed the way that you keep in touch with your former high school friends, but how significantly did it impact your day-to-day life? While Silicon Valley gets all of the attention, Orange County is churning out radical innovations ranging from life-saving medical inventions to sustainable technology. It’s a thriving technological landscape that just might make a real impact on your life – if it hasn’t already. And yet, if Orange County technologies were a category on Jeopardy!, how well would you do?
Let’s find out.
Orange County is at the forefront of the medical technology field, and is home to an industry leader: Edwards Lifesciences. These heart valve experts are leaders in critical care monitoring and develop products and services to treat those suffering from cardiovascular disease, helping the nearly 300,000 patients around the world that need heart valve procedures each year. Edwards developed the first commercially available heart valve more than 50 years ago, and continues research and development on life-saving new products and procedures in their Irvine facilities to help improve patients’ quality of life.
Edwards is just one example of the eye-opening technologies coming out of Orange County. And speaking of eye-opening…
Laguna Beach-based Strōma Medical Corporation is on the brink of releasing a visionary new technology that could forever change the fate of Van Morrison’s brown-eyed girl. A leader in aesthetic ophthalmic innovation, Strōma is developing a non-invasive aesthetic technology that will turn brown eyes blue in less than 20 seconds without any anesthesia, and little to no recovery time. Don’t tell Van.
Orange County isn’t just about changing lives with medical technology, it’s also home to a burgeoning cleantech industry. Anaheim-based Fisker Automotive released the Fisker Karma into production in 2011, introducing to the world a ground-breaking luxury plug-in hybrid that combines comfort and style with environmental responsibility. The sustainably-sourced materials and EVer™ technology take the Karma from zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds with 403 horsepower and 54 MPGe, enticing even the most environmentally elite celebs, including Jay Leno, Matt Damon, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber.
Because Orange County is in the heart of southern California, you know we have to talk about entertainment, specifically television. VIZIO is an Irvine-based company and visionary in entertainment technology. It brings you the Real Housewives of Orange County and Bieber Fever in 3D on the highest rated LCD HDTVs. Founded ten years ago with just three employees, VIZIO has transformed into a household name and leader in consumer electronics with entertainment solutions in home audio systems, HDTVs, personal computers, tablets, blu-ray players, apps and more.
And now, for the final Jeopardy! round, the category is Orange County-based Fortune 500 companies.
It’s unlikely you’ve made it through your day without the use of Broadcom technology. The Broadcom Corporation is an Irvine-based company founded in 1991 and was named Fortune’s “Most Innovative Semiconductor Company.” With key markets in bluetooth and VoIP technologies as well as mobile communications, wireless networks and GPS (to name a few), this company’s IP innovations are changing the world by “Connecting everything.” Most of Broadcom’s system-on-a-chip (SoC) products and software solutions are what help us connect across networks and devices daily and around the globe. Broadcom estimates that 99.98 percent of Internet traffic crosses at least one Broadcom chip, and the latest results from a teardown by iFixit/Chipworks suggests that Apple’s iPhone 5 is using Broadcom’s dual-band combo connectivity (WiFi, bluetooth, FM) chip.
Orange County is producing some of the world’s leading technologies in every field, and production is only growing stronger. With international reach, OC-based companies are adding new jobs, impacting the world with life-changing and life-saving medical developments, and changing the way we connect with increased productivity and efficiency. With new start-ups emerging daily, Orange County will continue to thrive as a hub for imaginative ideas, informed research and inventive solutions. In case you ever are on Jeopardy!, be sure to know your Orange County companies. I am fairly certain Alex Trebek has been reading my letters.
Matthew Jenusaitis is the CEO of OCTANe, an Orange County startup accelerator whose mission is to connect people and ideas with capital and resources.