December 15, 2010
Foursquare's Dennis Crowley on Managing Their Growth
Foursquare's Dennis Crowley talked to the massive LeWeb audience about Foursquare from its birth to where they are today. He says that many people think they're so much larger than they are, yet they pull off new feature updates and support with only forty employees.
Sadly, my Blackberry didn't seem to want to acknowledge that I was in Paris since every time I did a refresh, a system update and a reboot, Foursquare still had me listed in the Bay Area. I guess all that means in the short term is that I didn't become the mayor of some of the more quaint, boutique bistros and chocolate 'houses' in the less tourist areas of Paris. I am still the mayor of a cafe in Munich a year later so I guess they should get on the bandwagon and start doing promoting themselves to Foursquare users in Germany.
Oh yeah, and I challenged Dennis to a "text bake off" at a dinner - he on his trusty iPhone and me on my Blackberry and let's just say the "man" is FAST without a keyboard and he won, but I might add, only by one small word. I want a re-match :-). Perhaps at SXSW.
As always, I loved his energy and what they're trying to do. Location is hot and Foursquare is primed to take advantage of a very enthusiastic and passionate user-base, which is currently about 60% US-based and 40% international. Below is the video I shot from the front row.
December 15, 2010 in America The Free, Conference Highlights, Europe, Events, On Geo-Location, On Mobile & Wireless, On Technology, Social Media, Videos, WBTW, Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
The Top "Internet of Things" for 2010
ReadWriteWeb has a great round-up of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a term for when everyday ordinary objects are connected to the Internet via microchips. Technologies used include sensors, RFID and smartphone standards like NFC.
Companies ranging from HP and IBM to Nike and Pachube are launching products and apps using these technologies.
IBM's Smarter Planet - IBM's Smarter Planet campaign is about connecting objects to the Internet and applying intelligence and services on top of that. Like HP, IBM uses the central nervous system analogy."
Government Internet of Things: China & EU - The Internet of Things was a strategic interest for both the European Parliament and the Chinese government this year. RRW had a Parliament of Things post which covered the EU's resolution to endorse the development of the sector that is worth reading.
In the middle of the year, China announced a plan that will "fix a clear positioning, development goals, timetable and roadmap of the IoT industry." China plans to strengthen policy support of IoT, including financial and taxation measures.
DASH7 (RFID) - The amount of electricity it takes to power a trillion nodes, or things, that communicate with the Web is significant. Yet battery life and battery production costs have not declined at the same pace as processing power. RFID is well positioned to address this. Thing Magic's 100 uses of RFID campaign was an an effective awareness raising tool in the second half of 2010.
Emergence of the Smart Grid - In 2010 the more practical uses of IoT began to take shape, such as ways to conserve energy - a.k.a. the Smart Grid. For more including a full read on the above listings and the rest of the top ten, check out RRW's extensive round-up.
November 08, 2010
Using Ezetop to Instantly Top Up Mobile Phones
There seemed to be no shortage of new Irish start-ups emerging in Dublin or ideas in the works that were planning to emerge in the next six months to a year. Below are a few I connected with during my recent trip to Ireland for Dublin Web Summit and F.ounders:
Mark Roden with Ezetop explains how the service works over lunch in Dublin recently. It's a fairly straight forward and easy pitch and the aha moment is pretty immediate.
In a world where everything except for cash is growing in popularity as 'currency', why not have air time as something you can give away, offer friends, customers and/or your family if they live far away from you.
Using Ezetop, you can send a top-up instantly to a mobile phone.Think of it as the Western Union of mobile air time. Remember that air time is a currency and it has a value.Imagine the emerging world for a moment: there are more places than not who do not have unlimited calling plans nor do they have salaries that support higher-end mobile options.
For people who are working abroad but still have family in South America, Africa, Asia or other pockets of the world, you could easily and quickly top off air time for family and friends.
An easy way to send support instantly and cost effectively, friends and family can call you back whenever they want at their normal low calling rates.
Their coverage is extensive; currently they support 130 countries and have another 40 on the way. Take a look at the countries supported by their service today. Forbes' Quentin Hardy calls their service Smart Tech for the Working Poor.
October 10, 2010
Join the Land of Bubbalonians: Say What You Want, When You WantBubbalon demoed at the latest VatorSplash in San Francisco. More than just a rating site, you can give a 'score' in real time about people, places and things, as you experience them, including the ability to rate a venue, store, cafe or restaurant as you check into Foursquare.
You can even write a review about something. Bubbalon asks people to share their feelings, and gives them the ability assign an emotion in addition to a 1-100 point score. Bubbalon's “SMART CONNECT” feature is built to recommend "Bubbalonian connections", based upon similarities in ratings and feelings. Listen to the video below and Todd Hamilton and Alex Galkin from Bubbalon will tell you more.
October 02, 2010
The Faces of Mobilize 2010
Joyent's Director of Marketing Nima Bradley
Intuit Dazzled Crowd with Cupcakes
Oliver Starr and Bubbalon's Todd Hamilton and Alex Galkin
The VC Panel
Sweden-based Rebtel comes over for the event
GigaOm's Mobilize: Mobile, The Enterprise & The Suits Meet The Cloud & Big $$
GigaOm's Mobilize was held in San Francisco this past week. On the heals of Techcrunch Disrupt, the vibe couldn't have been more different. A mile away and a day before, Techcrunch Disrupt drew start-up energy which means that the 'culture' of the event was all about entrepreneurship, early stage ideas and investors and product launches.
It also meant that the crowd was a lot younger and a helluva lot more informal. Translation: t-shirts, sneakers, jeans and the occasional segway flying by in the hallways. No dogs on or off leashes or pretzels and pizza laying around, but you get the idea.
Both events enticed "the money"; those interested in investing or learning more about new innovations and trends. And both events had heavy hitters and an incredible line-up; one more focused on consumer and B2B and the other on mobile and the enterprise, even though companies like @phonetell and @tango_me did on-stage splashes at Mobilize, both of which target consumers.
Many attendees at Mobilize actually wore jackets and the press in the audience showed that the panel discussions were about big corporate deals, i.e., Dow Jones, New York Times, Time, Forbes, Barrons and others.
Enter the focus of Mobilize, Om Malik's GigaOm event focused on the convergence of mobile computing and cloud-based services, which is already and will continue to unleash an entire new wave of product and market growth.
The success of touch based tablet devices is likely to see the addition of millions of new subscribers in markets already considered saturated. Then add to that base a new legion of machines as subscribers – your car, your fridge, your TV for example, and you have the makings of a vast new opportunity. What monetization schemes that will succeed short and long term?
Discussion Topics Include:
App vs. Web
What’s a developer to do? Should they go for a native app based approach to their proposition or go for a web based approach? How will Cloud Computing and new wireless speeds affect the balance? The core debate is exciting, important and could dictate the future of the mobile web. Join us!
The Internet of Things
The M2M or “Internet of Things” proposition opens up a vast new array of opportunity for carriers, entrepreneurs and consumer experiences. We look at some of the biggest markets out there – medicine, consumer goods, automotive and more. We ask what needs to be done to catalyze the opportunity and what returns these markets will yield.
Monetizing Location Services
We see a flurry of investments in the location services space. But what will be the business models that provide both a revenue stream and a return on investment? Will it come from the sale of the apps themselves, coupons, advertisements or from the middleware layers that make such services possible? We gather some of the people tasked with the job of making location services pay to talk about what’s working and what’s not.
With growing processor power and faster network speeds, handset virtualization is about to hit it’s stride. New services, user experiences and business models will be enabled by this technology. We examine what what new opportunity is being created from the intersection of higher bandwidth, powerful chips and handset virtualization.
Mobile Payments: Finally here?
Mobile payments have long been promised and indeed the potential is huge. Has its time for mass market success finally come? Are subscribers ready for mobile payments? Can app publishers use these new payment channels for new monetization models?
The VC Panel
Our annual VC panel will ask about 2010 investments and also ask what the 2011 investment plan looks like. Chips? Middleware? Apps? Media? Infrastructure? Find out as we ask 5 of the valleys finest investors where they are putting their money.
4G with 4 Wheels: The Automobile as an App Platform
Take an advanced car and add to it a powerful computer and display. Add fast wireless broadband and what do you have? A huge new rolling opportunity, that’s what! But it comes with an equally large number of questions: What new applications will this new platform support? What sort of consumer demand will it see? How will the market evolve? Who will have the dominant platform? What role will the smartphone play in the ecosystem?
September 28, 2010
Meet Blio: It Transforms e-Reading
Available immediately, Blio features a library of full-color, interactive media content and today’s bestsellers. Apps for iOS, Android and Silverlight platforms are apparently coming soon.
"By providing a full-color, flexible, and interactive experience, Blio redefines the boundaries of the e-book, opening up entirely new categories of multimedia content and, as a result, engaging new groups of readers of e-books," says founder and CEO Ray Kurzweil.
Through its partnership with Baker & Taylor, the world’s largest distributor of print and digital books, Blio will not only offer today’s bestsellers but also interactive rich-media, video, slide-show, and audio enhanced content from more than 100 top publishers, including Random House, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster.
Blio offers a library of more than 1 million paid and free titles, and is currently adding new publishers and thousands of new titles weekly. Currently, Blio supports English, French and Spanish, with Italian, German and Asian-language options to follow.
With its ability to reproduce the color, layout and original fonts as in the print version of a book, Blio brings to life a large selection of books that are not available with E Ink devices. Categories such as children’s books and lifestyle books, encompassing travel guides, cookbooks, and textbooks, finally have an e-reader that can deliver the experience to the reader that was intended by the author.
Blio has a host of functions that make it smart, fun and easy to use. Highlights include:
- Blio mimics a book’s printed format like no other e-reader, with files presented in XPS format, which allows digital books to stay true to their original print version. Blio also supports the more limited ePub-formatted books.
- Blio is powered by the most advanced text-to-speech technology, using the Nuance Vocalizer, which allows readers to download two lifelike voices (“Samantha” and “Tom”) for hands-free use. To facilitate reading and learning, Blio provides unique synchronized highlighting of the words being spoken.
- Blio’s full-media functionality allows users to insert notes into digital pages, highlight sections and even look up references on websites, without leaving their e-book.
- Downloaded Blio titles are stored in a personal virtual library, enabling flexible access to content. This library can be accessed easily from numerous devices, allowing users to begin reading their book on a home PC, then pick up where they left off on a netbook or laptop. Future Blio versions will also support tablets and mobile devices and iOS, Android and Silverlight platforms.
September 15, 2010
VoiceBase's New Voice Communications Platform: Search, Share, Store & More
Today, at DEMOfall in Santa Clara, CA, VoiceBase unveils a new search, share and store voice communications platform, which will allow users to easily access and organize meeting and conference content from any web-enabled device.
The goal of their new web-based service is to make voice communication as efficient and effective as e-mail communication. The new service offers storage, search and retrieval, as well as discussion and sharing of voice communications, through any Web-enabled device. Recorded content is uploaded to VoiceBase servers, where a time-synchronized transcription – human or machine – is added to the recording prior to its post to the participant's VoiceBase personal Webpage.
Basic use of the service is free. Content will be stored for one year, after which subscribers can purchase additional storage hours.
Video of their presentation and demo at DEMOfall below:
September 14, 2010
More New Mobile Technologies Launching This WeekZappli's founder says of myShopanion at DEMO today, "we put an end to buyer's remorse." MyShopanion is a social shopping application for the iPhone, making it easy for people to cross-check products while you’re shopping around. You can either scan the barcode of a product using the iPhone’s camera, or enter the product’s name. The application then populates a list of products matching what you’re looking for, letting you sort by relevance, ratings, or price, and see what’s on offer elsewhere.
Check out the CEO's funky and creative pants below. Impressive.
Range Networks' goal is to ensure that everyone has access to affordable wireless communications services. Sustainability is a big part of their pitch; says one of the co-founders on the DEMO stage, "we provide the world’s lowest cost, sustainable, full featured GSM infrastructure."
To-date, they have shipped over 100 systems based on their OpenBTS software stack, software defined radio and Internet protocol-based VOIP core network. He says, "we have broken through the low cost cellular barrier so that those in developing countries living on $2-3 a day can now have access to cell phones." Note: their website needs work; there is barely any content there.
Particle Code is all about platform fragmention, which CEO Guy Ben-Artzi on the DEMO stage says, "is the single most challenge facing app developers." Particle Code is an open and extendable cross-platform IDE that automates the porting process, enabling developers to create native applications using fully powered programming languages.
By allowing developers to more efficiently create and maintain their apps through the use of a single code-base, Particle enables teams to focus on more innovative cross-device experiences. Free to developers, they can customize the look-and-feel of every app easily and quickly and no longer need to focus on any one single app store. He ends his presentation with a humorous and endearing pitch for recruiting new developers for their Palo Alto based location. Looking for new engineers, he says, "Facebook isn't the only place with coconut water in their fridge. If you're fired up about the app economy, consider making us your new home."
Parallels Launches Their Mobile iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch AppParallels world-premiered its Parallels Mobile iPad, iPhone and iPod touch app on the DEMO stage today, which enables customers to remotely access their Windows applications on their Apple mobile device from anywhere, any time and on any network. Users can download a free trial of Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac here and then get the complementary Parallels Mobile app from the app store and experience Windows, IE, Firefox and more from their Apple mobile device.
The app and service allows users of Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac and Parallels Desktop 6 Switch to Mac Edition, to use their iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch to access and utilize Windows applications running on a Mac from any network, from anywhere, at any time.
The Parallels Mobile app, a client and a service built upon the MyParallels services platform, is complementary with either edition of Parallels Desktop 6 and can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store after 12:00 p.m. noon PT today.
With Parallels’ new mobile app and MyParallels service, people can freely perform tasks that have been unavailable or limiting to iPad users such as printing, viewing Flash-based websites and full use of productivity applications like Outlook.