The 2012 Sunday Times Tech Track 100 is in some ways a dispiriting read. Tucked away at the back of the Business section (the guinea-pig bedding material part of the paper for many readers, one suspects) but available without pay-wall here , this index of rising private firms features disappointingly few of the bleeding-edge companies that make the sector so fascinating. Filled out with digital marketing agencies, telecoms operators, system integrators and online comparison sites and retailers, this is an index that most interested observers will skip-read as it blurs the lines between innovators and those who employ technology for everyday business services. To be fair to the Times, this year it made an inspired choice in finding an expert guide. Autonomy founder Mike Lynch’s quotes provide sound guidance to some of the more interesting, R&D-dependent organisations that appear. CamSemi is a designer of energy-efficient chips at a time when making devices run for a long time and stay cool is, well, hot. Think of that shining light of British brilliance, ARM, a former Tech Track company that is now our greatest tech success story. Clean energy suppliers like Evance, Bowman Power and Intelligent Energy a re also very interesting, zeitgeist-y and welcome on the Tech Track, even if that segment can still sometimes appear to have something of the Wild West about it. I don’t frankly know enough about Lab21 and Cambridge Cognition but it is heartening that medical technology companies can still prosper in this country. Their work is not just laudable but life-saving. As for Wonga.com , still multiplying in size and at number three on the list, the ethics might be questionable and the marketing brash but the quality of technological execution is admirable. This is a company that is based on an algorithm and low-latency operations and is as much a technology success story as a moneylender for these straitened times. Shazam is also a very welcome sight and still in something like hyper-growth despite a plague of imitators. Shazam’s future will be predicated on its ability to branch out in content recognition and the recent announcement of the ability to identify TV shows (with actors and episodes too) suggests it knows this very well. Of the rest I like email management firm Mimecast very much: a company with strong management, a clearly communicated vision and differentiation. Also, I was intrigued by P2i which develops liquid-repelling coating for mobile phones and the like, as a large part of Britain’s future in tech is surely in discovering niches. Apparently this coating is very thin: one-thousandth the breadth of a human hair, it says here – quite a job for the man with the ruler and tape measure… One more point: this year’s list is horribly London-centric. About half of the 100 list the metropolis as home and many others are within comfortable commuting distance. What a shame that young companies in the technology sector – which really should be location-agnostic – still feel the need to be so close to the capital to sell their wares.