On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, OLC attended New York Tech Meetup's monthly tech demo event. This particular event was delayed due to SXSW, but the presenters were still lively and engaging as ever. The presenters for this event were Aviary, Birdseye, Clarity, Foursquare, iRescU, Moveline, Ontodia, Shutterstock and Yext.
The first demo of the night went to Ontodia. It was developed through wondering about using metadata as a launching point for searching. "What you need isn't findable using metadata," Joel Natividad, co-founder of Ontodia said. "You need to use different visualization tool to look for it. We built all these things so you can slice and dice through the data, but you need to work on it. We wanted to be the Bloomberg of open data," he said. "We're building a data community surface." Pediacities is building communities. It mashes up data sets as per the questions asked. We aim to give developers answering data interface and that the question gets a question ID for developers to manage," Natividad said.
Clarity was demoed by a team of developers. First, Michael Denton of CampInteractive introduced Diego Vicente. "There's a big problem at school," Vicente said. "Everyone speaks English, but when I go home, my parents don't speak English to me. So I have to translate for them," he said. Clarity is the answer to this problem presented by Vicente. It translates school performance and evaluations by teachers for parents with ease. First, the teacher logs into Clarity using the school email and it automatically logs their roster. Through the dashboard, teachers can manage student behavior and exam scores and send parents pre-written messages that are directly translated for them. The messages can be sent through SMS or through email. A video chat conference between a teacher and parent can have an interpreter present real-time. The point of Clarity is to keep parent-teacher interaction easier and smoother.
Dennis Crowley of Foursquare presented next. "Foursquare is finding a new way now to find awesome things," Crowley said. "We gave personality to utility. We're figuring out how to flex the data that we have now. Our top level stats are three billion check-ins, 30 million users, 50 million places and 40 thousand developers. We also spread out our API and you can see it used on Instagram location and Vine locations—they're all powered by Foursquare." Crowley demoed the "new" Foursquare app, promising the iPhone users that the new UI will be rolled out in the upcoming weeks. "The UI is different, the search is at the top and you can see what your friends are doing. It's getting better at calling attention to get users to do things that might be interesting. Foursquare data takes signals from users and recycles it back to other users. Search goes through hot locations and popular datasets," he said. "Foursquare can predict your movements and inform users what popular venues are when users are in certain locations," he said.
iRescU is about open data and gamifying and social good. It's also about public health and saving lives. iRescU is currently in its initial concept phase. There is currently no database available to display where public health locations are. iRescU uses open data and crowdsourcing to add data into the database to help users if they are in an emergency. The phone uses its GPS to gather data and can find the nearest defibrillator. It can even determine if the responder is performing CPR correctly. iRescU engages citizens to direct their phones to upload an AED to the database.
Moveline reasoned that hiring a moving company is a very complicated process. They called it broken and inconvenient. In turn, Moveline was built to counter the complicated process and turn it into something easy. Moveline is an app where it builds the inventory for the user. The user chooses a room from the app and films it one by one. The film is uploaded onto a secure server, which creates an itemized inventory for the user. It also provides an estimate of the move and the number of boxes needed. As the final step, the user is given a list of moving companies with a quote. Users can easily add and remove items from the inventory. The moving companies are pre-screened and gives users an educated chance to be a confident consumer.
Birdseye is built for tablets from the ground up to replace the old email apps that were developed for desktops. Birdseye uses the touch feature on mobile and tablets to let users drag and drop emails. Emails are displayed depending on content and attachments and users can zoom into the email, zoom out, jump right into emails or delete emails using a quick action. Users have the option to archive users with a flick of a finger and a single button allows for easy unsubscription from annoying emails.
Jon Oringer demoed Shutterstock and explained, "most of our time is spent on search. Our database has over 25 million assets. A problem we hear a lot are from designers—people who are trying to tell a story visually. How will they find the perfect image? It's a lot more complicated than just keywords," he said. He introduced Labs, adding, "We think we've figured it out." In an instant, Shutterstock indexes their database with the results and provides related searches. "Ten or more discovery paths. It's in endless browsing too. It's an exploration-based search," he said. "With Spectrum, we've used a color slide to the search function. People can still search for things, but the color slide adds another level of specificity and a better chance to search without keywords," he said.
Aviary is a service that has grown to have over 3,500 partners, 3.5 million users and over 3 billion photos. It is launching a Windows 8 SPK today. Aviary makes editing quick and simple. Its app has multiple options to choose from to fit the photo on a mobile screen or a tablet screen. It comes with 12 preloaded special effects—filters. The team at Aviary plan to roll out new content. Currently, stickers as well as text can be added to photos and users can draw on the photo itself. Aviary is focused on content and hoping users interact with one another through it.
Yext explains that a lot of information on the web, especially on search engines are outdated. Using a location-based software, Yext is able to change addresses, hours and add photos almost instantaneously. For businesses with hundreds or thousands of branches, they need to manage their stores. Through Yext, they can bulk edit stores—hours of operation, name of the store, and so on. It can also pull out information from spreadsheets using its smart importer and the information is immediately updated on Yext. It can take pictures and videos and upload them on to the location-based properties. An extended search is included with Yext to include bios, products and services and structured calendars for events.