11 Apr 2012

Event Round Up - 2nd April - Demo Night Returns!

In partnership with ICT KTN, Demo Night made its return on the 2nd April ... to yet another packed house.

We're very grateful to all the demoers who presented their interesting ideas, and we're only sorry that we had to turn down so many others. Thanks also to the many attendees who gave feedback on the event, by all accounts it was enjoyable! And now on to our Valentina Ciolino (@MissFog) who tells us more about the serious side of the event.

Did you miss April’s Mobile Monday London demo night? Too bad - more than a show and tell, more than a pitching event, it’s where the audience discovers what’s cool in the mobile industry. The format is simple: entrepreneurs and others show their work or pitch their idea in three minutes, get asked questions by their peers, find partners and most importantly, realize what to change, tune or improve in their project!

In fact choosing between tons of submissions is very difficult, so there’s a good chance of a “second round” later this year … not to mention that things will have moved on by then, there will be more new ideas and you still have a chance to be on stage with your demo.

In the meanwhile, I can safely say that the trend this time was “social and local on mobile”.

For example, if you are 60+ years old, you may want to login on to Go-myLife. Launched out of a European action research project, it is an online social networking platform, with a focus on privacy and usability, tailor-made for older people. It will work on computers, but it will be particularly easy to use on smartphones. People can sign up and try the prototype service on gomylife.eu or check the official Facebook page; the testing just started in UK and Poland.

Sooqini is a reverse mobile marketplace - the buyer (not the seller, hence "reverse") posts a request for goods, services or information, on their phone or the web, and multiple sellers bid for it. A map displays requests in your area, or one can search per category or price. PayPal or bank payments are supported and there’s a small fee on each transaction. 2500+ people are already using it.

Or, if you are into writing (and reading), you can visit Movellas, a new, social, community platform for creating, discovering and developing stories whilst identifying talented authors. Young adult authors can share their work, get feedback and become read by thousands of readers from all over the world. It’s free right now (in the future, they will ask for a 70-30 split on incomes), and it has already reached 200k+ comments from the launch.

KO-SU is an innovative mobile learning platform open to everyone who wants to teach and learn via mobile devices. It allows subscribers to create interactive activities optimised for the mobile screen. Activities are created from templates that support text, images, audio, videos, multiple choice, free text questions and even drawing tasks. The only thing user won’t ever be able to do is to print on paper, as KO-SU was also created with the intent to avoid waste and save trees.

In the same way that Social speaks to e-commerce, Mobile speaks to location-based services, and the companies at the Demo Night had some good ideas about that.

LocalSocial, by Rococo Software, is a retail engagement platform that makes it easy for merchants to create offers, loyalty points and more that only unlock in-store. The service uses NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as "beacons" to support and trigger retail interactions. You could watch their demo video or try it yourself: a trial was just launched in Dublin - and the UK will be next. The team is currently actively looking for partners and investors. One can reach them on twitter or at their blog.

For travelers, Pearson presented LangAR, a location-based, Augmented Reality talking phrasebook for English speakers that suggests nearby points of interest and provides contextual phrases (written & audio) in Spanish that a tourist will need to know to get by when travelling abroad. The prototype currently runs on Android and iOS and combines language learning, location-based services and Augmented Reality into one useful and fun application which is a first to my knowledge.

But it’s not all about social and local. We were introduced to many different ideas based on new technologies.

Tone Push is the prototype for an app that allows you to set your ringtone on someone else's phone.  There's a one off download and once the app is installed onto your device, then you can upload MP3’s directly from any browser (no Wi-Fi or USB cable required) … or, for a bit of fun, you can upload to your friends phone as your ringtone. While copyrights issues will be avoided by “passing” them to users, money will be made by licensing and/or selling original ringtones or with a subscription system. A public alpha is available, and if you’re interested enough in the project, you shall contact Richard he needs a co-founder to join in!

And if are not into ringtones, but like videos, Six3 Video Messenger lets people send each other short, private video messages using smartphones, PCs, tablets and other connected devices. The video streaming is especially speed-optimized, but video messages can also be sent via e-mail. You can watch a video (of course!) of the product.

D-touch markers are visual markers which are easy to design and user friendly. While it was already an open-source project for PC, Intellidzine has developed the D-touch mobile library for Android. Simple images can trigger links, videos, software and pictures, just like the one of Jo Rabin at the side. Better than QR codes! This library is useful to create mixed reality applications; it is free and available on github. Volunteers needed for porting to iOS.

Or if you need secrecy for your personal messages, why don’t you encrypt them? Enigma simulator is a simulator of the WWII Enigma machine for Android, intended to raise funds for the Bletchley Park Trust. Private messages can be sent via the app, and 1200+ people are already using it.

Last but by no means least, Dan Lane has come up with Impossible Telecom, a new MVNO based on the values of innovation, customer service and transparency. Dan’s taking the extraordinary step of offering things that customers might want, for example the possibility of sharing the same number on different devices, using two different numbers on the same SIM card, and sharing the same bundles (for text, voice, data), between different numbers. The network won’t be the cheapest one, but wants to be the most innovative. You can sign up to be an alpha tester.

Many companies who have demoed in the past at MoMoLondon have gone on to widespread recognition and increasing success, so good luck to all these people for their projects, I hope that being at Mobile Monday will be the first step on a successful journey for them too!

And we'll be featuring some of those journeys in future demo nights ... thanks to Terence Eden for giving us an impromptu update on the QRpedia journey since presented at the April 2011 Demo Night - it's going places!