Cruise ships combine all the amenities and systems of high-end hotels, restaurants, amusement parks, performing arts centers, casinos, and shopping malls – and they are built to withstand the trials of intercontinental ocean travel and even arctic exploration. Developing the software to run such a complex operation is a daunting task. Imagine designing a calendar system for reservations where the time zone can change up to three times a day and ship time isn’t actually even related directly to a time zone. That’s exactly what Tampa Bay technology and innovation company Sourcetoad did with their flagship product Cruise Director, a platform for synchronizing and managing guest and crew systems. Now Sourcetoad has been featured in the latest edition of INNOVATE Tampa Bay, the luxurious coffee-table book dedicated to celebrating the innovators and entrepreneurs of this great city.
Sourcetoad is specialized in delivering software and development services for the cruise industry. “That’s the kind of engineering challenge that’s really fun for us, is rewarding, and keeps us engaged,” says Greg Ross-Munro, founder and CEO. “There are always lots of new projects, especially working in the cruise and ferry niche. We work best as small teams in a startup-like environment to deliver on projects that really have a massive reach. We’re working on solutions that are out on display for the world to see and to enjoy on their next cruise.”
Time zones are not the only challenge. “Cruise ships are extremely complex floating cities, without the usual crutch of a constant Internet connection,” comments Ross-Munro. “If you want to build a basic app for passengers, you need to talk to restaurant booking databases, weather systems, GPS trackers, Wi-Fi portals, and guest services. On one ship alone, we pull and push data to over 20 subsystems and make the whole experience seamless, even when there isn’t a stable web connection.”
The beauty of Cruise Director is that it can be tailored to meet clients’ individual needs. Once all the data from disparate systems has been streamlined through Cruise Director, Sourcetoad helps clients use it to power other applications.
“The most exciting aspect of Cruise Director for me is that we can add custom modules to it,” says Justin Weber, CTO and partner at Sourcetoad. “We’ve built modules to allow our clients to run their digital signage systems, interactive TV interfaces, and mobile apps. With everything streamlined, we can build apps that would have normally taken a year to make and launched them in three months.”
Since starting up as a relatively small consultancy in 2008, Sourcetoad has grown into a 30-employee organization ranked number 1,523 on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies. They have an additional office in Perth, Australia, but Sourcetoad remains deeply rooted in Tampa.
“Tampa is an exciting hub for startups and small businesses like Sourcetoad to thrive,” says Nick DeMelas, a Sourcetoad partner and Director of Projects. “Tampa offers a convenient airport, a supportive community, great weather, and traffic that you don’t want to commit suicide in – those are all contributing factors as to why Sourcetoad can attract such good talent.”
Attracting and retaining the right talent is a key ingredient of Sourcetoad’s success. They do this by keeping it real. As Ross-Munro says, “There are a ton of people who have a computer science degree and impressive technical backgrounds, who don’t want to work in a cubicle for a huge company, cranking out disembodied code every day for the rest of their lives. They want to work for a company of maybe smaller repute, but one that encourages them to think critically, to solve real-world problems, and to contribute meaningful work toward true innovation – and that’s what Sourcetoad is about.”
By going beyond the conventional and designing software for complex systems that would make most software engineers give up in despair, Sourcetoad has displayed the spirit of innovation that is typical of Tampa Bay. As a result, it is only fitting that the company has joined 180 innovators and business icons in the pages of INNOVATE Tampa Bay Volume 2, a 350-page coffee-table book showcasing the top innovators in the Big Guava.
INNOVATE Tampa Bay is Global Village Publishing’s latest edition in the INNOVATE series, which captures the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems of cities around the world. What makes the series unique is that it is not a pay-to-play model; participants must first be nominated and interviewed by a publishing partner before they are accepted into the books’ pages.
“With every INNOVATE book, we’re trying to celebrate everyone who makes a city awesome,” CEO Sven Boermeester says. “We take our research process seriously, and everyone who goes into the book was judged and found to be amazing.”
A hybrid of modern-technology marvels and hard-copy charm, INNOVATE Tampa Bay is AR-video-enabled, allowing readers to scan images throughout the book to bring its pages—that is, the city’s most innovative organizations and thought leaders—to life.
INNOVATE Tampa Bay is available through Amazon and on the Innovations of the World website.
Global Village Publishing produces high-end, tech-enabled coffee-table books that feature cities around the world. Its series include INNOVATE—which celebrates the innovators and innovation enablers that make a city awesome—and the BEST OF series, each book a snapshot of the people, places, and businesses of different global locales. By teaming up with publishing partners on the ground in the cities featured, and by ditching the pay-to-play publication model, Global Village Publishing captures the ecosystem of a place and sees the world as an ever-growing tribe of entrepreneurs, colleagues, and friends. Learn more at globalvillage.world.
Release ID: 527930