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Tech and business news from around the region. CIO hiring plans up locally

A net 17 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) in the Seattle/Tacoma area expect to hire information technology (IT) professionals in the third quarter of 2006, according to the most recent Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. Twenty percent of executives surveyed plan to add staff during the quarter and 3 percent anticipate reductions in personnel. The net 17 percent hiring increase is up six percentage points from the area’s second-quarter 2006 forecast and seven points above the national average.

The local results reflect a two-quarter rolling average based on the responses of 200 CIOs from a stratified random sample of companies in the Seattle/Tacoma area with 100 or more employees; 1,400 executives were queried for the national data.

Vaestro starts voice-powered message boards.

Sequim-based Vaestro announced the open beta of its voice community Web site which allows people from around the world to talk to each other using voice-powered message boards.

On Vaestro, user comments are recorded via microphone and instantly uploaded into threaded discussions within different voice channels. Visitors to the site can listen to and participate in these public discussions at their convenience. To help find topics of interest, users browse the channel directory or perform a search of topic titles and descriptions.

The boards can be accessed at

Gaming to generate $60 billion by 2011

According to a report by BCC Research, the value of worldwide shipments of the electronic gaming industry has reached nearly $36.5 billion in 2006. Shipments are projected to grow in value at a 10.5 percent average annual growth rate to reach almost $60 billion by 2011.

Games and software control the largest share of the total gaming market. Worth more than $20.7 billion in 2006, this industry will grow sharply to $33.6 billion in 2011. Gaming products command the second largest share of the market, worth $13.9 billion in 2006, growing to $22.1 billion 2011. Equipment and services, although the most specialized sector of the industry, will be the fastest growing sector of the market, reaching almost $2 billion by the end of 2006. It will reach $4.3 billion in 2011.

IT workers generally happy with salaries

Compared to the general work force, IT workers are more satisfied with their compensation. In fact, nearly four out of five (78 percent) of them are very or somewhat satisfied with their cash and benefits, compared to 72 percent of all workers.

The findings come from Hudson’s Transforming Pay Plans: 2006 Compensation and Benefits Report, which surveyed 10,000 workers across all sectors, examining employee attitudes about traditional and non-traditional pay and benefit programs.

IT professionals also anticipate making more money in 2006 than in 2005–57 percent indicate they will earn more. Only 41 percent of overall workforce believes that to be the case.

Inrix adds six new markets

Kirkland-based Inrix is delivering real-time speed and flow information for 36 metropolitan markets, making the company the broadest nationwide coverage provider of real- time flow information. The company launched six new metropolitan markets today including Dallas, Hartford, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and Orlando.

Combined with twelve markets launched last quarter–including Austin, Boston, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Richmond-Petersburg, San Antonio, Tampa and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton–and previous market data aggregated from road sensor networks, Inrix now provides the broadest market coverage of any provider in the United States.

Morrow new Vertafore VP

Bothell-based Vertafore Inc., a provider of specialized software solutions for the insurance industry, named John Morrow senior vice president and general counsel. In his role at Vertafore, Morrow will drive legal strategy as well as mergers and acquisitions activities.

Morrow was most recently a partner with Heller Ehrman LLP.

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