The Xconomy Mobile Innovation Showcase
On April 7, Xconomy will hold its first-ever Forum on the Future of Mobile Innovation in New England, an afternoon-long event designed to highlight the technologies and ideas that will lead the local mobile industry through—and past—the economic downturn. CEOs, engineers, analysts, and investors from more than 15 local companies and venture firms will be on hand at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center to share their insights and predictions and to tackle the audience’s questions. Tickets to the event are available here, but are going fast.
A few weeks ago, we put out a call for demos, inviting local mobile firms to show off their technologies in a series of quick “mobile bursts” punctuating the afternoon’s panel discussions. Time restrictions forced us to pick just five presenters. But so many companies expressed interest in demonstrating their technologies that we hated to turn them all away—so we decided to do the next best thing, and set up a showcase area here on the Xconomy website as a permanent online supplement to the April 7 event.
The companies listed below are pioneers in important niches of the wireless business such as mobile Web browsing, marketing and advertising, recreation and fitness, shopping-related mobile search, and mobile software development. They’re distinguishing themselves by raising capital, bringing out intriguing new products and services, and exploring new markets even as the recession slows investment and innovation in other sectors.
The descriptions below were supplied by the participating companies, with slight editing for length. We’ll be adding to this showcase over the following week. If you’d like us to include your company free of charge, just write to me at email@example.com.
Adva Mobile provides a software service that enables music artists to create closer relations with their audience through their mobile phones. The services that we provide include mobile messaging, mobile
presence (through mobile webpages), mobile content fulfillment, mobile commerce, and the ability for the fan to share this experience through existing social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Free to the fan
and free to the band, we make money through mobile ticket and merchandise sales, premium subscriptions, and advertising revenue.
Boston-area band Macalister Drive is an early user of Adva Mobile:
Aerva, Inc. is a pioneer in developing interactive mobile technology that integrates mobile applications with the web and digital display networks. Aerva’s dynamic mobile applications platform, MoApp®, allows you to create and manage applications that are compatible with all wireless carriers throughout North America and Europe. MoApp offers opt-in connectivity to subscribers through a variety of media including mobile, print, radio, television, digital out-of-home and more. Used along with Aerva’s AerChannel digital display platform, MoApp adds mobile interactivity to public displays. Founded by MIT alumni, Aerva provides the simplest to use, most powerful and most cost-effective solution to create small or large interactive display networks.
Screen shots of on-screen voting and advertising displays:
Interview with Aerva CEO Sanjay Manandhar
Ambient Corporation (OTCBB: ABTG) designs, develops, and markets Ambient Smart Grid™ communications technologies and equipment. Utilizing proprietary, open standards-based technologies along with in-depth industry experience, Ambient provides utilities with solutions for creating smart grid communication platforms and technologies.
The Ambient Smart Grid platform uses high-speed Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications over existing medium and low-voltage distribution grids as the “last mile” backhaul necessary for utilities to implement smart grid applications such as Advanced Metering Infrastructures, real-time pricing, Demand Side Management, Distribution Monitoring and Automation, and direct load control and more. When combined, these applications can offer economic, operational and environmental benefits for utilities, and ultimately the utility’s customers.
The Ambient Smart Grid™ communications platform is comprised of nodes that are configured to act as individual data processors, and collectors that receive and transmit the communications signal from other networked devices including other nodes, couplers or end-user devices. Ambient’s node can directly interface with any device with a serial or Ethernet port, and can deliver high-speed communications data using existing and developing technologies. Ambient’s latest communications node, the X-3000, has incorporated the ability to access Verizon Wireless’ EV-DO 3G network.
Bitstream (NASDAQ: BITS) is a software development company focused on bringing unique software products to a wide variety of markets. The company’s core software products include award-winning fonts and font rendering software, mobile browsing and messaging software, and variable data publishing and web-to-print software for personalized marketing.
On April 1, Bitstream introduced the Beta 2 version of its Bolt cross-platform mobile browser. Based on the Webkit open-source browser foundation, but with proprietary compression, navigation and rendering technologies, Bolt is optimized to conserve mobile phone battery life and data transmissions while offering unrivaled speed—consistently performing 25 to 50 percent faster than competitors.
The “search-and-click” paradigm has become the principal mode of information retrieval over the web. Search, while making information available, is far from making it usable. The goal of zooming user interfaces (ZUIs) is to make this information-glut usable as “knowledge” in a simple intuitive fashion. One of the simplest and most intuitive user interface paradigms in existence is that of exploring a map by zooming in/out for details/abstract. Cognika’s eXtensible Interface (XI™) offers the user a mechanism to iteratively access and develop a personalized compendium of the information desired. This customizable compendium—which Cognika terms a “View”—spans multiple domains, documents and media and self-assembles information contextually with which the user can iterate.
We illustrate this using an example of searching for a movie. As with most search engines the results are rendered with an initial summary. However, the user can then click on a result of interest to zoom-in further to view showtimes (based on location) and reviews (from selected sources). On zooming-in further, traffic or public transit information relevant to the closest theater is displayed. The user might then choose to include other facets such as tickets, nearby dining etc. Cognika XI™ also allows for inline expansion of concepts of interest. For example the user might choose to zoom-in further to learn about movies in similar genre by the director, or expand on the plot summary to learn about the context and story.
Cognika XI™ offers a novel, intuitive mechanism for Human Computer Interaction, especially in information-rich environments.
Enterprise Mobile provides professional (strategic) and lifecycle (end-to-end) services designed to help companies successfully support and manage mobility initiatives. For enterprises looking to streamline deployments and control the costs of mobility, Enterprise Mobile draws on its deep mobility expertise and best practices to procure and deploy mobile devices, manage them remotely, provide various levels of user support, and replace or repair inoperable devices.
Xconomy coverage: To Get Windows Mobile into Enterprises, Microsoft Turns to Boston Software Veteran, 2/21/08
Everypoint is the creator of Nemo, a unified software environment for creating, delivering and managing mobile applications that will run on any Java-enabled MIDP 2.X mobile phone. Nemo provides attractive graphics, full push-sync, multimedia transcoding, usage analytics, and much more. Mobile users simply download the Nemo Mobile Runtime client and get access to an entire catalog of applications through an application store.
Check out a live online emulator running Nemo applications such as a stock ticker, a blackjack game, and an Asteroids game (screen shot below).
Xconomy coverage: Everypoint Introduces Slick Mobile Apps for the Non-iPhone Crowd, 12/15/08
FitnessKeeper is the creator of RunKeeper, one of the most popular fitness-related applications for the Apple iPhone 3G. The software uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS chip to enable runners, cyclists, hikers, and walkers to track their outdoor fitness activities including duration, distance, pace, speed, and path travelled on a map. Users can see all of the routes for the activities they’ve track by logging into their personal Web dashboard at www.runkeeper.com. The latest version of the software includes audio cues that tell the user how far they’ve gone or how long they’ve been traveling without forcing them to look at the display. Full tutorial here.
Xconomy coverage: FitnessKeeper Is Making Its $10 iPhone App Free…For One Day, 1/14/09
Geocade is the world’s largest location aware social platform for mobile games, with communities in over 10,000 cities and towns worldwide.
Geocade enables publishers to create games that share scores and experiences within local and global game communities. By doing so Geocade helps publishers increase game downloads, create recurring revenue streams and enhance game play. For more information go to www.geocade.com.
Sample screenshot of Geocade’s global score updater is below; click here for a live demo.
Jumptap is a mobile advertising company that offers superior performance and premium advertising solutions that run across the highest quality premium mobile ad network. Jumptap leverages its search technology and operator relationships to deliver the most advanced targeting intelligence for advertisers seeking the highest return from their campaigns while helping publishers and application developers deliver a relevant user experience and obtain the highest eCPMs from their mobile properties. Global carriers maintain a profitable position in the advertising ecosystem by securely leveraging their data assets to build targeted user profiles.
Premium Mobile Ad Network and Ad Serving
Jumptap’s Premium Mobile Ad Network consists of top-grade operator and publisher inventory and developer applications (including iPhone) that Jumptap represents to advertisers and agencies. Advertisers can run ads across a comprehensive set of premium mobile channels including 10 different audience segmented packages including entertainment, finance, news, reference, sports, lifestyle, social networking, travel, and games. The network currently has 2.3 billion page views per month, 30.6 uniques and over 400 million monthly impressions.
White Label Mobile Search – the industry’s only operator-friendly, “made for mobile” search solution. Operators can maintain their relationships with their subscribers, instead of losing them to the direct-to-consumer experience of major Internet brands. Advertisers get high quality traffic and strong click-through rates, carriers monetize their sites from quality mobile search revenue, and the user sees relevant ads.
tapLink is a sophisticated platform for managing multiple ad network. It enables sophisticated targeting controls and builds and manages profile information. It is able to integrate operator and publisher data, including demographics and location, with proprietary real-time contextual targeting to deliver mobile advertising’s most targeted results.
tapMatch is a global self service mobile ad marketplace that marries search technology and contextual data with keyword and categories to maximize performance for advertisers and optimize yield for publishers while managing the content quality for both. Brand and performance marketers can bid on categories and keywords to run ads that appear above search results and on mobile web pages and in applications including iPhone.
Xconomy coverage: JumpTap Raises Another $26 Million for Mobile Search and Advertising, 8/26/08
Localytics’ mission is to help mobile application developers build better businesses. The company’s first product is an Analytics Engine that helps developers understand their products and users. By providing key metrics such as user demographics, usage patterns, retention and application reliability, Localytics’ software helps developers make better product design and monetization decisions.
Check out an online demo at http://www.localytics.com.
Demo screen shot (click for larger version):
MocoSpace is a leading mobile Internet company dedicated to revolutionizing the way people make friends and stay connected on their mobile devices. Our team is passionate about our mobile community and believes in the game-changing potential of the mobile Web.
Founded in 2005 by mobile industry veterans and long-time best friends, Jamie Hall and Justin Siegel, MocoSpace was the result of what the co-founders saw as three emerging trends: the mobile web, social networking and mobile advertising.
Since its founding Siegel and Hall have focused their mobile industry expertise and passion for great mobile products on building a high caliber team and developing MocoSpace into the most compelling and engaging community experience on the mobile web. People use Moco to stay in touch with friends and also meet new people. Common activities on the site include building a custom profile page, uploading and sharing photos, bloging and staying in touch through chat and messaging. MocoSpace is free and available to anyone with access to the mobile web.
Xconomy coverage: MocoSpace Passes 2 Million Users, Collects $4 Million, 1/29/08
Get “press and speak” access to mobile applications and services with Nuance Voice Control 2.0.
Nuance Voice Control 2.0 (NVC 2.0) provides users of any mobile handset with speech-driven access and control of on-device features as well as popular connected services like search (Web, music, etc.), messaging, and navigation. Users can simply use their own voice for a quick and easy access to applications and content.
Nuance Voice Control 2.0 is a comprehensive and customizable framework for operators and other service providers that enables the use of speech to access and utilize mobile handset-based or network dependent features, applications, services and content. Speech input allows users to offset the challenges of cumbersome keypads, complex menus and seemingly endless clicks.
The Nuance Voice Control 2.0:
- Provides quick and easy (“Press & Speak”) access to features and services
- Enables intelligent access and informed launch of applications and content
- Leverages the Nuance VSuite embedded framework and utilizes Nuance’s industry leading Nuance recognizer 9.0 for network recognition and Dragon Naturally Speaking for dictation.
- Extends the ability to customize voice commands allowing carriers significant branding, promotional and advertisement opportunities.
With NVC 2.0, Nuance can provide operators and service providers with the opportunity to offer speech-enabled services to their customers. Nuance Voice Control is a hosted solution that utilizes Nuance VSuite as an embedded client solution. VSuite is available for all feature phone and smartphone platforms and is already utilized by most device manufacturers and many mobile operators.
Please click here for a video on the unveiling of Nuance NVC 2.0.
Pongr is a mobile search company focusing on consumer shopping. The company offers a variety of mobile applications and touch-points that leverage its back-end systems experience in image search and text search. For mobile shoppers, Pongr provides a fun, easy service that handles product search, price look-up, store location, and sharing items with friends on social networks. For brands and advertisers, Pongr provides turnkey mobile marketing solutions that include analytics, highly targeted mobile ads, print media interaction, and more. Pongr is at the forefront of the next generation of mobile search technology, and offers a unique value proposition for carriers, device makers, advertisers, users, and retailers.
Pyxis Mobile is the leading provider of innovative wireless applications that drive productivity and accelerate growth. Pyxis Mobile provides a collection of award-winning wireless business applications, a library of exclusive third-party content, and a best-in-class Application Studio that empowers the creation of highly specialized mobility configurations to fit any need. To date, Pyxis Mobile applications are in use at over 200 firms including 28 of the top 50 global asset managers and 6 of the top 15 “Fortune 500.” Pyxis Mobile’s customer list includes such companies as AIM, Blackstone Group, Deutsche Asset Management, Pioneer, Manulife, New York Life Investment, AXA Financial, Henderson Global, Sun Life Financial, and OppenheimerFunds.
Left Screenshot (below)—Advisor Dashboard: Pyxis Mobile for Financial Advisors brings together the most important data from across the advisor’s desktop to create a completely mobile experience for managing clients’ portfolios.
Middle Screenshot—Real Estate Sales: Pyxis Mobile’s platform, along with their Application Studio, allow the configuration of complex, multi-user applications quickly, without the need for code development.
Right Screenshot—Exploding Rows: Pyxis Mobile makes the most of the smartphone’s features and functionality by allowing integration with GPS, the camera, the phone, and other features.
Quattro Wireless, mobile’s largest premium publisher network, leverages sophisticated technology and exclusive premier partnerships to create unrivaled reach, consumer engagement and efficiency for today’s marketers and advertisers. Quattro is dedicated to delivering service excellence and turnkey solutions to optimize digital performance across all channels (mobile web, SMS, applications, video) and platforms (iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Symbian). Fortune 500 brands and direct marketing leaders seek Quattro’s global reach, dynamic targeting, advertising innovation and transparent practice. Category-leading publishers leverage Quattro’s proprietary platform to realize the economic power of the mobile web.
Quick facts on Quattro Wireless:
- Mobile’s largest exclusive and premium publisher partner network
- Thousands of Publishers and Advertisers from Fortune 500 brands and leading Direct Marketers
- 25 million average monthly unique users on the network
- Billions of quality impressions served globally across mobile web, in-application and video
- Mobile’s only fully transparent network
- Industry leading predictive mobile targeting technology
Sample screenshots of Quattro Wireless iPhone Ad Units:
Xconomy coverage: Quattro Wireless Hits “Hockey Stick” Growth, Raises Additional $10 Million, 3/16/09
ROAM delivers valuable business and commerce applications to mobile professionals’ own cell phones, as-a-service, regardless of what device, or which carrier, or payment processor they use—so they can leverage mobile to sell more, with less effort. ROAM is in the unique position of combining powerful technology to extend Business functionalities like Order Entry, Inventory lookup, CRM and much more, with a true payment gateway that allows convenient transactions, all done as a fully hosted service. ROAM has launched its services to the direct sales industry (think Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Amway, etc.) as well as to merchants of all kinds who need a convenient and cost effective way to accept credit cards wherever they go. What differentiates ROAM as the only mobile application service provider with full payment gateway capabilities comes down to these 4 areas:
1. Unlike traditional client server applications which has to be built and deployed one application at a time for each specific device platform, ROAM’s patent pending technology allows rich and secure applications to be written once, and run seamlessly across various mobile devices (iPhones, Android, WinMobile, Blackberries, J2ME, Brew, etc.), as well as PCs.
2. Unlike mobile browser based solutions, ROAM is designed for ease of use and high security; payments are fully built in; offline capabilities allow transactions while out of coverage; and interaction is supported with peripherals for voice-to-text and card-swipe accessories for rich usable applications. Even alerts and promotions can be pushed to mobile users for one-to-one marketing and commerce.
3. Unlike embedded or mobile device development tools, ROAM’s platform and development tool require no device programming experience. They abstract complex features like security, payments, voice-to-text, etc. to allow entry level programmers to easily build and quickly deploy all sorts of applications for any device ROAM supports. Extending business and commerce functionalities is very straightforward.
4. Unlike tools providers or systems integrators who help develop applications but expect enterprises to service their own users, ROAM provides full end-to-end services to manage application access rights, versioning, and provisioning, as well as help end-users manage their entire mobile experience, from application download, to reporting, training, support, and more.
Skyhook’s hybrid positioning system (XPS) is a software-only location solution that allows any mobile device with Wi-Fi, GPS, or a cellular radio to determine its position with an accuracy of 10 to 20 meters. Unlike other hybrid location solutions, XPS uses land-based Wi-Fi access points, GPS satellites, and cellular towers to determine location information. The XPS platform provides a fast, accurate and reliable location source to mobile applications and services by leveraging the strengths of each underlying position technology. Skyhook’s positioning technology is built into the Apple iPhone 3G, the Eye-Fi wireless camera memory card, the Geode location plugin for the Firefox browser, Skyhook’s own location-enabled plug-in, Loki, and many other systems. Flash demo here.
The following image compares location-finding precision on the iPhone without Skyhook’s technology (left) and with Skyhook (right):
Xconomy coverage: Steve Jobs Sprinkles a Bit of Magic Apple Dust on Boston’s Skyhook, 1/17/08
WHERE™ is the award-winning location-based services application from uLocate Communications that connects people to the world around them. WHERE allows consumers to quickly launch a mobile experience that puts the people, places and things they look for at their fingertips. Local content available through WHERE includes everything from the weather, news, and restaurant reviews, to the closest coffee shop, cheapest gas, traffic updates, movie show times and more. WHERE also enables brands and advertisers to reach a local audience. WHERE has achieved widespread distribution through partnerships with leading carriers such as AT&T and Sprint and handset manufacturers such as Apple, RIM and Nokia.
Xconomy coverage: Where Do You Want to Go Today? uLocate Can Help You Decide, 11/02/07
Vlingo builds voice-powered user interfaces that unlock access to mobile phone wireless data services. Vlingo for iPhone and vlingo for BlackBerry smartphones allow users to speak into their device and have many popular applications carry out their respective functions. This includes dialing your phone, sending an email or SMS, creating and saving a memo or task, opening a web browser and performing a web search, composing a social-networking status message, and more. With vlingo, instead of triple-tapping on a small keyboard, users can now simply speak to their mobile phones to enter search terms, addresses or any other text.
Xconomy coverage: Vlingo’s Latest App Gives Blackberrying Thumbs a Rest, 6/25/08
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