This light bulb stays on even when the power is out

light bulb

By Dennis Clemente

Imagine if you had a light bulb that stays on even when the power goes out? Such a light bulb now exists, and stays lit, at least for 4 hours.

“This has never been done before,” said Shailendra Suman whose LED light bulb, SmartCharge, wowed audiences and the media at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last year.

The SmartCharge works just like any other light bulb, except that when the power goes out, the light bulb will keep working for up to 4 hours and will remember the last position of the light switch controlling it.

If you were not at home when the lights went out, you should still have 4 hours of light if nobody turned on the light switch.

The light bulb is also estimated to last 25 years.

Click to read more
http://www.rappler.com/technology/features/78559-smartcharge-led-light-bulb

For Wink, IOTs should be a no-brainer for your Mom; Fjord sees future in embeddables

wink hub

The Internet of Things (IoTs) should be a no-brainer for your Mom. Well, at least that’s how Jeff Bartenbach wants Wink to work not just for Mom but for the rest of us.

Bartenbach, head of experience at Wink, was one of two other presenters at the Internet of Things meetup last December 17 at General Assembly.

Bartenbach talked about how Wink works to connect you and the products you rely on every day in your home. It aims to ultimately become the single app for the array of big brands out there.

This was not always the plan. Initially, the app connected products Quirky+GE. Wink has since partnered with about 15 brands while also supporting about 60 products. For more information on its latest partners, the company suggests downloading its app.

To make his presentation more accessible to the audience, Bartenbach used his mother’s experience with technology—if the purpose is to make her life easier.

What would you do with this set of instructions if you’re not a programmer? “When robot detects window is open and outside temperature is less than 74 degrees and no one is in the bedroom, then turn off the air conditioner.”

While he said he could easily configure this on Javascript, his Mom would, however, not be able to figure this out. And that extends to the rest of us.

Weighing simplicity with flexibility, that is in a lot of ways our challenge now,” he said.

To solve this, Wink is looking forwarding to making more sense of how intelligence systems work for the rest of us. “You have to understand how to control a product, and once you understand then you can automate that product, then once you understand that then you’re in a position where the system can intelligently automate it for you,” he said.

When you describe that your company merges the digital realm with the physical world, it’s better to just demonstrate what you can do.
The next presenter, James Patten of Patten Studio, did just that when he showed a video of how his company worked on a project commissioned to them by Bjork: The Gravity Harp is a robotic harp consisting of four pendulums that slowly swing back and forth to play musical notes while they hang 25 feet in the air.

Patten also showed the Zebrafish Donor wall commissioned by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The wall showcases 425 unique 3D printed Zebrafish selected for its notable regenerative abilities.

Each fish features embedded LED lighting as well as capacitive touch sensors. By touching individual fish engraved with donor names, visitors are able to explore messages left by the individual donors on digital displays. In its ambient state, the installation illuminates in a dynamic, meditative sequence.

The next presentation moved to the speculative realm.

Andy Goodman, president of Fjord USA, said “wearables are old news” as he talked about how we should move to “embeddables.”

“Embeddables is a term still getting some traction. It’s an ambient world of sensors and input devices extending to your body. If you put that together, this is how we might interact with systems,” he said.

He said four technologies will enable this: genetics, nanotech, information (“interpreting what’s going on; contextualing what we do; guessing what we want”) and robotics.

Fjord has been around since 2001, but now it’s part of Accenture Interactive. It redesigns people’s relationships with the world. For instance, it transformed digital banking on the tablet with Citibank’s iPad app.

The meetup was hosted by Mitchell Golner.

Cloud is at critical point; adoption challenge is cultural

NYETM photo-12.11

“The cloud is at that critical point. We’re in for a major disruption,” Michael Liebow of Accenture Cloud said last December 11 at the NY Enterprise Tech meetup that included Randall Hunt of Amazon Lambda and Jonathan Fullam of Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

Liebow was talking about how many corporations can approach the cloud from the technical, commercial and cultural standpoint. Now, if only most of them can step out of their comfort zones and embrace it. If not, a disruption enabler is clearly needed–to bring some governance and make it easy to deploy services.

Liebow came with CTO Paul Daugherty, also of Accenture, to announce and demonstrate version 3 of Accenture Cloud at NYET’s meetup at Cooley LLP.

The Accenture Cloud Platform (ACP) is a self-service cloud management portal, hosted and managed by Accenture and offered “as a Service.” ACP manages the virtual infrastructure of its public and private clouds. “We sell it as a service, (but) it’s a product within Accenture,” Liebow said.

Cloud-based, scalable, pay-as-you-go consumption of IT infrastructure services is now essential to delivering the business capabilities required by a digital business.

ACP allows digital businesses to get fast access to pre-vetted, quality cloud services through an extensible service catalog for IT governance and self-service provisioning of cloud computing services.

“It’s fully customizable. Through encryption and our solutions, you can create a secure design,” Liebow said.
ACP supports leading providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, Cisco, NTT Communications and others.

The next presenter was Amazon Lambda, a compute service that runs your code in response to events and automatically manages the compute resources for you, making it easy to build applications that respond quickly to new information.

AWS Lambda starts running your code within milliseconds of an event such as an image upload, in-app activity, website click, or output from a connected device. You can also use AWS Lambda to create new back-end services where compute resources are automatically triggered based on custom requests. With AWS Lambda you pay only for the requests served and the compute time required to run your code.

With AWS Lambda you pay only for the requests served and the compute time required to run your code. Billing is reportedly metered in increments of 100 milliseconds, making it cost-effective and easy to scale automatically from a few requests per day to thousands per second.

Hunt called Amazon Lambda “a zero-administration computer platform, because your infrastructure should not interfere with your life.”

Last presenter was Fullam of Pivotal Cloud, a new platform that converges both application developer and IT operator processes so that enterprises can quickly iterate on software while achieving built-in operator efficiencies.

Pivotal demonstrated how Cloud Foundry PaaS enables a developer to deploy an application in seconds and remove the complexities around application health management, updates, and scaling

Darabi talks about Zady, her ethical fashion brand/e-commerce site

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When Soraya Darabi speaks, you wonder if she can play poker. She has a soft, gentle voice and unassuming demeanor. The co-founder of Zady, the “ethically fashioned brand,” was at the Startup Grind last December 3 talking to host Peter Crysdale at the Pivotal Labs in midtown Manhattan.

Even over a year in her startup with co-founder Maxine Bedat, Darabi still feels like she’s just starting. “It feels bipolar. It doesn’t go away. I (may) wake up at 2 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep till it’s 4 a.m.” Is she bluffing us?

Having worked in a big organization like the NY Times and a small startup, drop.io, afterwards, Darabi likes to say that there are “no passive aggressive newsroom journalists,” but at the startup later where she was only one of two women, she smiles talking about how its culture likes to wear “hoodies.” She smiles briefly when telling this part of her life.

Nowadays, she focuses on being both a tech-savvy and eco-conscious fashion brand. “We want people to look at a product and know how it came to be.” She likes the process that goes into crafting fashion wear, equating it with luxury products and their craftsmanship.

Darabi also likes her clothes to be all made in the U.S., with 5 percent of proceeds going to charity. She admits that she cannot compete in terms of pricing. At the interview, she was wearing her wool sweater priced at $160. It’s reportedly made from all-natural materials, including wool from Shaniko, Oregon, a farm that uses a conservative management plan to make sure it has a positive impact on the environment.

Beyond price considerations, she likes how her clothes have important stories to tell in contrast to other garments. “Landfills are filling up with T-shirts.”

If you think you need to be very persuasive to be an entrepreneur, Darabi doesn’t show that. If you think you need to stick to your industry, like her being a digital marketer, think again. Neither Darabi or Bedat have fashion backgrounds—and yet, that’s where they are now.

Come to think of it, though. Both founders are looking at this business beyond fashion; they aim to help consumers better understand the origin of their slow-fashion product line, especially with their own line.

appLOUD and youWare connect online and physical worlds

How much of the online world do you want to merge with your physical world? Two startups at the NY Tech Meetup last December 2 aim to remove this friction.

appLOUD, a live stream of fan-generated live music videos, allows you to give a tip to starving musicians out there, according to founder Cecilia Pagkalinawan. You simply watch 30 seconds of live music videos from street performances to concert halls and it will make sure the tips reach these artists. For artists already in the stream, the “tips” can be categorized in various ways–for rent, school tuition, even charity donation.

The other startup demonstration, Thinkyou, could be a business card killer. Its YouWare is instant social networking if you have one of its wearables. For instance, you can connect on Linkedin with someone you just met by the flick of a QR-coded wristband.). And we all thought QR codes were dead.

How does it work? When someone scans youWare with the youPass app, you become instantly linked based on the social network accounts you want to use for connecting with someone.

How is it doing? It’s fairly new. Founder Mike Juliano is currently running a Kickstarter campaign where he is currently raising $50,000 for it.

Not exactly a newbie since it was founded in 2009, but wireWAX left the crowd in awe as it demonstrated its taggable video tool. It allows you to add tracking tags to people and objects on video. To showcase its technology, a demonstration showed how it could track every person coming into the theater. Yes, we saw this in Minority Report the movie and even another company that presented in this same theater months ago.

Personal investing has gone social as well with Openfolio. It’s up to you, though, if you want to share your investments with Warren Buffett, though. The app allows you to stay private and choose the portfolios you want to see.

Another presenter, Celery, is not for vegetarians only. It’s a buy-and-sell bitcoin site. Reportedly secure, it allows you to buy bitcoins using your bank account. They can put your purchased bitcoins in storage.

Other startups showed how their startups or products can make our lives easier or productive: Kinvolved can check your kids’ school attendance; Bespoke marries discovery and utility visually, and showed.me offers enterprise peer-to-peer learning among employees.

The startup and the money, according to David Sorin

By Dennis Clemente

If you were to choose between going to a show-and-tell demonstration or going to a legal talk on equity and term sheets, we won’t be surprised if you choose the former. But if you know what’s best for you and you want your startup funded and protected, then you’ll want to listen to David Sorin, the head of the Venture Capital and Early Stage and Emerging Companies practice at McCarter & English.

At the Brooklyn Tech meetup held at the law firm’s office on midtown Park Avenue last November 12, Sorin talked in his lively and engaging way about his role being on both sides of the entrepreneur and the money.

“We probably represent more companies than the money, because I think it’s more fun to represent entrepreneurs. But I also think it’s important to represent the investors, so I can understand the deals. It’s helpful to our investor-clients that we represent lots of companies,” he explained.

Sorin spoke clearly and concisely about the legal matters pertaining to early stage capital concerns, terms and conditions of equity rounds.

If you’re looking for a lawyer who likes spelling things out, Sorin does it very well. “What is valuation? The value of the company money before the investment made by the investors. That’s premoney + new money = post money,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs always invariably think their idea is worth more than it really is in the marketplace and so it’s really important to manage expectations,” he said.

Sorin pummels this thought for everyone to get it loud and clear. “Until you can implement and you can prove your concept a) works b) there’s a market for it and c) you can do it on profitable basis, you have to think about what your startup is really worth.”

David Sorin

David Sorin

Sorin believes that even if you just have only have an idea in your head, you have to think of all the legal and financial or fundraising aspects of your startup. He is also a certified public account.

Why? Because you’ll have to think about the longevity or future prospects of your startup. “It’s really bad if you go to your next round and you get a lower valuation. You may not need a second round depending on how capital-intensive your idea is, but chances are you will need that additional round to make you cash-flow positive and profitable.”

On dividends, he had this to say: “You’re not paying dividends. Every dime you get will be used to build the company.

“But your preferred investor will build into the transaction a dividends obligation that will accumulate every year. So once there’s an exit of some sort, the investor is due back what they invested plus the accumulated dividend.”

Sorin also tackled liquidation preference, board composition and other areas of negotiation between entrepreneurs and investors such as anti-dilution and redemption rights, the control of the company through voting and protective provisions, as well as the vesting of founders’ stock.

How can your board composition or selection affect you? If you own 60 percent of your company but there are five other board members, you only have one vote. They are five. It’s definitely something to think about.

In terms of sourcing capital, he agrees with the usual route—friends and family first; accelerators; government grants and programs; early stage venture funds; and even angel investors “who have fewer restrictions and conditions.” They run the gamut of high net-worth individuals who know your industry, and those who are professional investors.

Thinking of the future, he says your choice of an angel investor now may be in conflict later with an investor’s portfolio.

What can you do on Day 1 of your startup idea, even before you have product out there? “Start a cap table (but not a years-long plan). Create an equity investment plan. Get an accountant.” And even if investors tell you there’s no way to protect your business through intellectual property, Sorin thinks otherwise. “There’s licensing, contracts, trade secrets.”

Smart tech in Kinsa thermometer, Augmate eyewear, Drop baking, Birdi monitor

Kinsa

Kinsa

By Dennis Clemente

The most common medical device, the thermometer, just got smarter, thanks to Kinsa. The FDA-approved smart thermometer can track temperatures and symptoms all right, but it does that by connecting its nifty wand to a smartphone’s earphone jack where–having downloaded the app– one can determine temperatures and symptoms. Over time, it hopes to gather better data and work with the public health sector in determining where illnesses are spreading.

Available now in some US retails stores such as CVS, the FDA-approved smart thermometer is the brainchild of Inder Singh, the former executive vice president of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Singh was at the Hardwired NYC meetup last November 11 at Digital along with three other presenters.

Clearly, Kinsa has thought of everything in its water-resistant wand and app. When it’s plugged in on a smartphone, a visual display of bubbles pop out for kids to enjoy the process of getting their temperatures checked.

Singh provided some tips and takeaways for those looking into retail:
• Go international early to get pre-payment + marketing support
• Go to Apple first and tell everyone Apple has stocked it
• Test in the “fake stores” some retailers have
• Rule of thumb: Wholesale price should be at least 4x your COGs, ideally six times,
especially if you have significant customer support costs
• Start packaging early. This is hard to get right. Retailer want to see your product upfront
• Get merchandising equation instead of going big fast
• Selling in is easy for very novel products.

The other presenter of the night was Pete Wassell of Augmate which has found effective applications for smart eyewear in enterprise, especially in agriculture, automotive, aviation, construction, manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical. Think bar code scanning, medical operations, professional care for animals. And yes, its platform works with wearables like Google Glass.

Ben Harris, founder and CEO of Adaptics and Mark Belinsky, founder and CEO of Birdi also presented their startups. Adaptics is the maker of the Drop, an iPad-connected kitchen scale for baking while Birdi is a smart air monitor. It monitors the air quality of your home, tracking dust, soot and other health dangers plus warns you about emergencies.

Drop Kitchen – Connected Scale and Recipe App from Get Drop on Vimeo.

With Drop, you can be a baker right away with its app and Bluetooth scale. How does it work? If you need to bake anything, put a bowl on top of a Bluetooth scale with its heat-resistant silicon top and use it to gauge and see your progress in the iPad app, as it gives you visual cues if you’re using the right recipe or amount of ingredients.
Tim Chang, partner at Mayfield Fund, spoke about the early stage VC firm’s investments and experience in the tech hardware space.

On tech hardware, he pointed out how startups in this space have more to think about when creating their product. “They have to think of the software and the hardware and how they need to connect with each other.”
Matt Turck of First Mark Capital hosted the meetup.

Nir Eyal talks about his latest book, ‘Hooked: How to build habit-forming products

Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal

By Dennis Clemente

How do you like some structured thinking to go with your startup brainstorming?

The New York tech meetups happening in the city every night are wholly unstructured. It’s just a channel for startups to quickly demo their product and, even in some cases, get feedback from startups, right on the spot. Some presentations may do better in the on-the-fly, off-the-cuff talks, but there’s always no guarantee. What’s guaranteed is how you get the chance to watch a startup founder talk about a work in progress.

Last November 4, structure came to the Alley NYC Meetup when Nir Eyal launched his book there that day called “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.” Eyal certainly gets my nod for being one of the most lucid presenters in the NY tech meetups this year and it’s perhaps on account of how he has formulated a clear basic framework on the subject for a couple of years now, which was evident in his presentation.

It also helps that he has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. His writing on technology, psychology and business appears in the Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today. Nir blogs at NirAndFar.com.

The book is a must-read if you are designing a new startup or leading a product development team, as it talks about behavioral uses of technology, apps and social media while also leaving room for us to tackle the hard ethical questions on forming habits. His basic framework is as follows:
1. Trigger
2. Action
3. Variable reward
4. Investment

Triggers: (Internal and External).
Do you know your user or customer’s internal trigger? Find out your user’s itch. People always look for associations, solutions and patterns. It cues the user for the next action, telling what the user what to do next. Look for associations. Ask yourself, when you are bored, what do you do? You go to YouTube? Do you know your trigger? Do they fear missing out on something?

Action.
It is the simplest behavior in anticipation of a reward. Once you have them using your app, what can they do to get a reward of some sort? He cited Facebook’s “Like.” That is a powerful reward that makes people keep coming back to the social network.

Variable reward.
This is social validation among friends or personal gratification. For example, there are 5,000 questions answered daily on Stackoverflow, which indicate how people like to share their knowledge without asking for anything in return, contented as they are that it makes them feel good helping people. People also like feeling a sense of self-achievement or mastery, consistency and control.

Investment.
Users invest for future benefits. Investments store value, improving the product with value. Unlike a chair which depreciates in value, your startup should appreciate in value. The more followers you have for example, the better your value.

Also check out his blog, nirandfar.com

Tiggly, Dweet.io among standouts at NY Tech Meetup demo night

nytechmeetup114

By Dennis Clemente

How do you pack in 12 startup demos in two hours? Last November 3, the NY Tech Meetup did it again with Tiggly and Dweet.io among the standouts of the night at Skirball Theater at NYU.

Every parent sees their kids using digital devices more, which also means less physical playtime for them. Recently funded for $4 million, Tiggly has found a way to merge both physical play with the digital world in its tablet app. It has developed game apps and physical objects used in tandem with tablets to help educate kids using conductor silicon. The startup has clearly found a sweet spot between a toy and an app.

CEO Peter Semmelhack presented dweet.io, a Twitter for things. You dweet, say, a public swimming pool temperature or air quality in a city. It’s Twitter for machines, sensors, devices, robots and gadgets, enabling data to become easily accessible through a web-based RESTful API.

Built from day one for commercial and enterprise deployments, a dweet payload can reach up to 2,000 characters. It’s public by default but you can make dweets private by purchasing a lock which are then applied to thing names. Each locks costs $0.99.

It only holds a thing’s last 500 dweets for up to 24 hours, then it’s history. But you can build a connector to your data store of choice such as Dropbox, AWS and Tempo-DB.

Next presenter, Admitted.ly positioned itself like how online dating works. It is a free platform that helps high school students find their dream colleges and universities, connect with mentors, and get accepted.

A “graduate” of ER Accelerator, Admitted.ly works as an outreach for high school students and guidance counselors but in a fun, engaging way. It even has walkability directions among other useful guides when choosing a school.

Another presenter, BugLabs, is a software company that focuses on providing easy enterprise application development tools for the Internet of Things.

Keezy’s presentation was perhaps the first unspoken one in NY Tech Meetup’s decade-long history. The demo showed how the music software works using two if its music apps, Keezy and Keezy Drummer for iOS, easily that even kids can play around with them. You can record different sounds on Keezy but the Drummer is just one kit.

Not all presentations are crowd-pleasing but some marketing people listened intently on how Offerpop works to create marketing engagement platforms for today’s social and mobile consumers—and how it helps the best brands, retailers and agencies in the world connect, engage and convert consumers.

Launched last September 29, Parcel offers off-hours delivery service in New York (not including Queens) for only $5 (not heavier than 30 pounds, no higher or longer than 2 feet). You can select a one-hour delivery window.
Other presenters include Simple Machine, crafter of gaming experiences and stories like The Outcast as well as SquareSpace which now integrates Getty Images in its CMS platform for people to buy photos to use directly on their sites.

Waywire Networks talked about how its curating all the videos to make it easy for everyone to find the videos based on their interests. Each channel is authored and “highly niched.” It hosts content and is currently looking for curators
The Hacks of the Month were Calcash, an 8-bit online arithmetic battle game that makes learning and solving problems fun, accessible, and competitive; NewsFeel, which graphs the New York Times articles on any topic based on sentiment and lastly, Nodeflow, a just-in-time synchronous Javascript compiler that makes Node.js development easier.

UK’s Simon Laker discusses US move to EMV, Apple Pay with NFC

nycmobilepayments pic

By Dennis Clemente

From the United Kingdom, Simon Laker of Consult Hyperion, a payments consultancy firm, has since called New York his home since May, especially as he gears up for what is happening next year. The United States is adopting a more secure credit card, EMV (Europay Master Card Visa).

This was the talk last October 23 at NY Moble Payments at the ER Accelerator office in midtown Manhattan; Cardflight CEO Derek Webster served as host.

It’s a timely issue as 80 countries are also in various stages of EMV chip migration with issuers including chips in bank cards and merchants moving to EMV-compliant terminals to increase security and reduce fraud resulting from counterfeit, lost and stolen cards.

The U.S. is one of the last countries to adopt the technology, because of the required payment system change for banks and the astronomical migration costs. Once it rolls in the States, startups may be quicker to react compared to big companies.

“In U.K, we have to 5 to 10 banks with 10 to 15 issuers. In the U.S., you have(hundreds) of banks with gazillion issuers,” Laker explained.

The traditional magnetic stripe card costs about $0.25. The chip card can cost $1.25 to $2.50, according to ROAM, a provider of mobile point-of-sale readers and software.

The US move to EMV can mean big changes on a global scale. “US payments represent 25 percent of the total payment (in the world) with 50 percent of fraud (incidents) also happening in the States,” he said, referring to how it’s been the target of hackers recently.

What can EMV do? Prevalent in Europe, it can reportedly prevent the card thefts that happened recently in some chain stores. “Once the US (migrates to it), then the use of magnetic stripe (credit cards will go away),” he said.

Magnetic stripe cards are easy to replicate.

Laker also talked about the anticipated growth in the use of NFC (near-field communications) –enabled mobile devices for mobile contactless payments, especially with Apple Pay making use of it.

Asked 3 years from now what role will Apple and NFC play, his nonchalant response drew chuckles. “Apple Pay will still exist. Apple knows how to do things well.”

Laker is excited about his company’s HCE Bootcamp on November 19 this year in New York. Visit http://www.chyp.com/what-we-do/hce-bootcamp

The agenda will include:

• Status update on proximity payments from front-line experts;
• Technical architectures for NFC transactions;
• Using NFC for payment transactions in physical stores, online, in-app and for transit
• Understand HCE and the ways that it can be exploited;
• A detailed, practical walkthrough of a working prototype application for iPhone and for Android

Reporting New York's startups and personalities