Mesa Systems International, Inc., of Warwick, R.I., designed a product development portal called MesaVista® specifically for engineering organizations in industries subject to strict regulatory compliance, such as aerospace, telecommunications, and medical instrumentation. This web portal technology offered engineers a new way to collaborate in the development of complex products and systems. MesaVista technology, together with expertise won from a decade of consulting in process management, put venture-funded Mesa ahead of the market. The company's potential customers needed to understand how they could benefit from structured collaboration and process management.
ImpactXoft, a startup in San Jose, Calif., was ready to introduce pathbreaking software to the crowded and rapidly changing market for digital product definition and collaborative product design. Players and prophets had been contributing new definitions of this market, along with matching acronyms, for over a year by the time ImpactXoft debuted the concept of Simultaneous Product Development in the spring of 2001. The company needed to define itself and its IX SPeeD technology quickly. The next step was to build on initial positive response from industry observers. Not only was ImpactXoft presenting next-generation software for digital product modeling — they were also proposing an entirely new approach to product development.
Graduate student programs, particularly in the applied sciences, require support from private industry in the form of money and research information. Having established a graduate program in 1985 at the University of Rhode Island with grants from Ford Motor Company and IBM, the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) wanted to reach out to American industry.