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Los Angeles' Silicon Beach Becoming Like Silicon Valley

America's high technology industry is centered in northern California. The area, known as Silicon Valley, is a short drive from San Francisco Bay. Silicon Valley is home to Google, Apple and other industry leaders. But smaller tech start-ups can be found further south in and around the city of Los Angeles. Some people are now calling this area "Silicon Beach," a play on the name of the rival Silicon Valley.

The company VNTANA is one of the many technology start-ups near Los Angeles. The company’s name comes from the Spanish word for "window." It is based in the seaside community of Santa Monica. VNTANA creates holograms -- three-dimensional images -- for education, marketing, and entertainment.

Ashley Crowder works for the company.

"It takes two people less than an hour to set up the screen, and it can be shipped anywhere in the world."

The system is interactive, requiring communication between people and computers. It can produce "live" remote appearances from sometimes distant, faraway places and virtual, computer-aided concerts. Users are able to control the projected images with hand movements.

VNTANA makes use of its closeness to Hollywood, the home of America’s movie industry. Ben Conway also works for the company. He says Silicon Valley is more concerned about technology, while Silicon Beach deals with entertainment.

"We have a focus on interactive and on content. And that's something that the entertainment community really understands."

But the technology sector is diverse. Matthew Goldman is with Wallaby Financial. His company advises people on which credit cards to use, based on interest rates and awards from the stores they visit. Mr. Goldman says the company has designed application software for wireless phones.

"The phone locates you and it communicates with our servers that make up these recommendations and do the intelligence and send back the results to your phone, in virtually real time."

The Los Angeles tech industry spreads from the city to surrounding communities and the Pacific Ocean. Experts say its size is hard to measure. But Silicon Beach is home to many hundreds of tech start-ups and continues to grow.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA’s Mike O’Sullivan wrote this story from Los Angeles. Jonathan Evans wrote it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.


Words in this Story

diverse adj. made up of different people or things

rival n. a competitor or opponent; a person or thing that tries to be more successful than another

sector n. an area or part of an economy

start-up – n. a new business

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