Highlights From the 2017 Apple WWDC

Apple held their annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in San Jose, CA on June 5, 2017.  Tim Cook, Apple CEO, kicked off the keynote to 5,000 developers  by declaring this will be the biggest WWDC (I had to chuckle because he says this every year).  Here are the things I found interesting in the two hour and half hour keynote.

 

Apple HomePad

As predicted, Apple announced, HomePad, which directly competes with the Amazon Echo and Google Home.  They positioned it as a cross between a high end wireless speaker (specifically comparing it to Sonos) and voice assistant (aka Amazon Echo).   They spent a lot of time focusing on the quality of the speakers and it seem like the voice assistant was more of an add-on.   I think they did so to justify the $350 price tag to differentiate it from the other voice assistants which are substantially less expensive.

 

VR Support

I have to admit, whenever they do the hardware demo at the keynotes, I usually find it cliché …wait for it…it’s the most power Mac ever (duh).  What was interesting was their demo of a Star Wars virtual reality scene being developed by Industrial Light and Magic.   Apple is not known for being a gaming platform but they’ve beefed up the iMac Pro to accommodate VR development .

 

Send and Receive Money with Apple Pay

In demoing the updates to iMessage, Apple showed the ability to send and receive money through Apple Pay.  Wait a second; that sounds like Venmo.  Looks like the Peer-to-Peer payment space just got a big competitor.

 

ARKit

One of the more interesting and exciting things I saw as developer is Apple’s announcement of ARKit .  This allows developers to make Augmented Reality apps for the iOS.  For those of you unfamiliar with AR, Pokemon Go is an example.  It will be interesting what developers will do with ARKit.

 

watchOS 4 features Machine Learning

One of the faces of watchOS 4 is that it will use machine learning to display relevant info to the user.  Pretty cool, but I still don’t plan to wear a watch any time soon (why do I need a watch when I already have an iPhone).

There was actually a lot more stuff announced at the keynote.  This was just  the things I found interesting.  To see the entire keynote, just click here.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

2017 UC Davis Big Bang Competition Awards

UC Davis Big Bang Competition is the biggest startup event in Davis.  This year, 70 companies participated in the 8 month program that started in October 2016 and concluded with the final pitches held on May 25th.   Personally, I was impressed with the final presentations.  Here are the award winners of the competition:

1st Place ($10, 000) 

Raydiant Oximetry has developed a low-cost, noninvasive fetal pulse oximeter that keeps mothers and babies safe during labor and delivery. The device is intended to reduce medically unnecessary c-sections that can create health complications to millions of babies and mothers each year and increase healthcare costs.

 

2nd Place ($5,000)

Chromatiscope aims to boost students’ scientific literacy by combining four specialized laboratory devices—each of which costs thousands of dollars—into a single, easy-to-use device that costs just $40 to $70. The result: more students can have the experiences necessary to excel in STEM.

 

People’s Choice ($2,500)

This award was voted by the audience.

AthleticOutlook:  A web-based platform that connects high school and college athletes with NCAA-experienced coaches for evaluations, feedback and resources.

 

Gowan / AGR Challenge Award ($10,000)

Two teams tied for this award and split the cash prize.

FloraPulse is building a data service for growers that provides water stress data for their crops in real time. This could replace current technology (pressure chambers) that dates back to the 1960s and that is slow, expensive and often inaccurate.

ReNew Foods is developing great-tasting, healthy snacks from high-quality rescued fruit and vegetable pressings.

Biomedical Innovation Award ($4,000)

Oomni Inc. is developing a drug called Oomnicoxib. When combined with current chemotherapies, the drug will improve cancer treatment.

 

Global Poverty Alleviation ($3,000)

Reach 1600 Foundation has developed a free, adaptive SAT prep program for students from underserved communities.

Innovation in Food & Agriculture Award ($3,000)

WISRAN identifies operation logistics inefficiencies in real-time for growers to capture profits.

1st Place Food + Ag Innovation Pitch and Poster Contest ($1,000)

Global Water Farms is working on developing solar powered desalination plants.

 

It will be interesting to see how the startups that participated in the competition turn out.  Sierra Energy can trace their roots as a past Big Bang People’s Choice Winner.  If you are interested in participating in next year’s Big Bang’s Competition, check out their site around October.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

 

2017 Google I/O Keynote Highlights

Google hosted their annual developer’s conference, Google I/O on May 17 in Mountain View, Ca.  CEO Sundar Pichai broke down the latest insight on Google’s activity and how their focus will be further defined later on this year.  Here are some of the highlights of the 2017 Google I/O Keynote:

2 Billion Active Android Users

Google’s Android OS continues to stake its claim in the tech industry with 2 billion active users and Pichai threw out even more impressive quantitative data; they have nearly 1 billion active users on Google Drive per month along with 500 million users on Google Photos accumulating 1.2 billion uploads on the daily.

Google Assistant & Google Home Updates

Google Assistant is now not just exclusive to Android but will be available on iOS as well. In addition, Google Home is allowing users to make phone calls directly from the device with a blocked number as default or your personal phone number. For now, they’re only allowing outgoing calls to prevent issues with privacy. But that’s not all, Home can now become a Bluetooth radio and interact with a plethora of apps like Hulu, HBO Now and Soundcloud. Lastly, its debuted “visual responses” can communicate with smartphones, smart TVs etc. enabling your requests to be displayed on preferred outputs.

The Google Lens Puts Life into Perspective

Now with the aid of your smartphone camera and the company’s own AI software, Google Lens, can more accurately perceive the environment around you. Their newly announced “Google Lens” interprets what is detected through their screen while connecting related information useful to its users. For instance, by scanning a Wi-Fi’s network login, Google Lens will automatically sync the data with your Android.

Android O Beta

Although this isn’t the official name of Android’s latest OS, they released the beta with previews of their newest features such as notification enhancements, pic-in-pic abilities etc. It’s recommended to try it out with a compatible Pixel or Nexus device.

Google’s TPU Chip

Acknowledging that AI is the future of Google’s innovation, their new Tensor Processing Unit could effectively merge AI and Cloud as one. This specially designed machine learning chip will operate with the TensorFlow platform in hopes of making Google the leader in AI-based hardware and software.

Android Go

This entry-level device is intended to close the gap between them and 1 billion more users. Google intends to offer more while still using less than 1GB of memory. Aimed at multilingual demographics with lower access to connectivity, Android Go wants to provide users with a quality smartphone experience free from limitations.

 

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Impact Venture Capital Entrepreneurs Showcase Accelerator

EOH

Impact Venture Capital (formerly Velocity VC) is taking applications for their Entrepreneur’s Showcase Accelerator.  The most promising technology startups from Northern CA are selected to engage in 8 weeks of intensive education and mentoring sessions in order to refine their business model, hone their pitches, and prepare to take the stage in front of investors on Demo Day. The Entrepreneur’s Showcase was a recipient of the City of Sacramento’s RAILS Grant.    Apptology went through the program in 2013 and we highly recommend the program.

Application: http://impactvc.com/showcase-accelerator/

Benefits include:

  • 30+ hours of intensive coaching, mentorship & peer review
  • 6 months of access to co-working space
  • Free Office hours – including legal, sales, business & marketing
  • Promotion via web, social & events
  • Opportunity to present to investors, customers, mentors at Demo Day
  • 50 company Alumni Network

Applications Due: 2/20 Accepted Companies Announced: 2/23

Please contact info@impactvc.com with any questions.

*Sessions will be Tuesday nights (6:00-9:00pm) at 801 K Street, ste 2800, Sacramento 95814

Margaret Mackenzie Empowering Female Entrepreneurs: Seeing is Believing

Margaret Mackenzie was interviewed at Startup Grind Sacramento at the Urban Hive last September and enlighten the audience with well-needed entrepreneurial wisdom. Currently serving an executive role in Astia, Margaret also consults several early-stage startups with a specialty in finance, IT and artificial intelligence. She served as CFO at Paymo (now Boku) and JustInvesting along with being CEO to 3 financial market corporations. Her focus has been identity, digital/mobile transactions, and FinTech.

Born in Stockton and raised in Sacramento, Margaret founded her first startup named Paymo with the model that customers would be charged for their digital transactions on their phones rather than their credit/debit cards. Feeling that the idea was ahead of its time for the states, she raised most of the funding in the UK where it was already being practiced. In order to effectively acquire a user base, they targeted online and mobile gamers who were mostly too young to own a Visa but old enough to have a cell phone.

“If you can bring women up to the level of equality in business relations, we would add $25 trillion to the global economy.”

She co-founded Astia in 2008 as a nonprofit in San Francisco providing networks and capital to women who are managing or involved with high growth tech startups. After seeing the clear challenges for women to raise funds in the industry, she was compelled to help make it easier. Not only did it make sense morally, but from a financial standpoint, she feels that women can contribute a lot to the global economy but are largely underfunded. Astia offers free and low-cost services to female entrepreneurs and now have offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, London and more. She discussed how female entrepreneurs tend to underestimate their qualifications in favor of a man. This hinders the amount of examples that young women look up to and gain confidence in their abilities.  In regards to the value of programs that promote women and minorities, Margaret commented:

“Regardless of your gender or color, in order to believe it, you have to see it.”

Despite the obvious and not so apparent reasons why women struggle in the tech industry, Margaret understood that the difficulties of an entrepreneur remain gender neutral. The grueling task of working for little to no pay along with constantly trying to beat the odds are true regardless of your reproductive organs. She also emphasized the importance of a team and how significant it is for the well-being of a company.

Sacramento’s $10 Million Innovation Fund

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On June 21st, the Sacramento City Council unanimously approved a $10 million Innovation and Growth Fund.  The purpose of the fund is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship within the City of Sacramento.  As Mayor Kevin Johnson states, “A more diverse, more entrepreneurial economy means a stronger Sacramento: more jobs, more innovation, and mostly a better quality of life for all of us.”

The fund is one of the largest of its kind.  In comparison, Los Angeles’ Innovation Fund only has a $1 million.  In addition, the fund will continually generate $2 million annually.

Currently, $1 million dollars has been earmarked for the RAILS (Rapid Acceleration, Innovation, and Leadership in Sacramento) with Grants (ranging from $10 k – $250 k) being given out in these three categories:

Acceleration Grants:  Given to accelerators and incubators supporting Sacramento Startups

Innovations Grants:  Civic Tech companies and organizations that foster the innovation community

Leadership Grants:  Educational programs that help train entrepreneurs in technology and Leadership.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, you can do so here.   The deadline is July 22nd.

$500 K has been earmarked for the Economic Development Department to attract technology companies to move or expand in the area.  According to Ash Roughani, Program Manager, “Sacramento is also exploring venture fund investments to increase access to capital for area startups and put Sacramento on the map. “

“Sacramento is truly starting to become a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship and technology and it’s something I’m really, really proud of,” stated Mayor Johnson.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

 

Winners from the 2016 Apple Design Awards

As part of Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) currently being held in San Francisco, 12 talented developers were recognized as having the best designs. The Annual Apple Design Awards has been in effect for nearly 2 decades and it seems that each year gets better and better. Below are highlights of the winners. If you didn’t see Apple’s product announcements on the first day of WWDC, read that blog first to get the latest.

Exclusive Medical App: Complete Anatomy

This one of a kind anatomical app, 3D4Medical Complete Anatomy, generates quality 2K and 4K resolution displays of the human body internally and externally. Currently available on iPad, this hardware renders 3D anatomy managing the CPU and GPU to eliminate lag and offer accurate visuals for medical scholars and professionals.

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Lifestyle Management App: Streaks

Essentially a digital regimen platform, Streaks encourages its users to become more organized and develop productive habits. Complete with intelligent timing, customized complications and set notifications, this app is perfect for time and life management. Only available for iPhone and Apple Watch.

Fitness Training App: Zova

This app is for the exercise fanatic or workout wannabe complete with training instruction and crisp video. In hopes of motivating users to establish a healthy routine to stay and/or keep in shape, Zova is available for iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.

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Video Creation and Critique App: Frame.io

This beautifully crafted video collab platform, Frame.io,  allows groups of people to work together and seamlessly handle the filming process. Its phenomenal visual design, motion effects, supportive auto layout and 3D touch quick actions work hand in hand with Swift while effectively facilitating Final Cut Pro X. Presently on iOS.

Writing Wizard App: Ulysses

Available for Mac, iPhone and iPad, this cutting-edge text editor, Ulysses, is in perfect alignment with demands from creative authors, students and journalists. It comes with a handful of nifty features but the most exciting are its device handoff and iCloud synching capabilities.

Engaging Videogame App: Chameleon Run

Developed by Noodlecake Studios, Chameleon Run is an eye-catching auto-running videogame that is easy to use yet difficult to put down. Compatible with 8 different languages, Chameleon run works with the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

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Classic RPG App: Lara Croft GO

Currently on iOS, Square Enix Inc., Lara Croft Go keeps the tomb raiding character alive with a modern look while maintaining some traditional elements. Utilizing Metal to render, it’s compatible with Game Center and iCloud that both offer highly responsive playability.

Truly State of the Art App: INKS

INKS is a unique app effectively blends vintage pinball with paint. It starts out as any digital pinball game would but the as the ball collides with its surroundings, explosions of hues mix with the trailing colors that follow. This gives a whole new meaning to the term “paintball.”

Music Production App: Auxy

With more than 5,000 5-star ratings, Auxy offers a high quality music creation experience completely integrated with Core Audio for its users. Written with simplistic Swift coding, Auxy’s user-friendly nature and contemporary appeal gets people composing in no time.

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Disc Junkie App: Djay Pro

Djay Pro incorporated over 70 iPad Pro Keyboard shortcuts, cloud content synching, enhanced multi-tasking abilities with even more mix/master functions via desktop. This expansive platform comes with full VoiceOver compatibility.

Puzzle Processing App: Linum

Linum’s smooth UI allows users to quite literally connect the dots through an engaging layout while gradually increasing its level of difficulty. Moreover, it effectively uses standard system technologies such as StoreKit and CoreData.

Retro Arcade App: Dividr

This 2D arcade game makes players guide illuminated squares around obstacles while racking up points in the process. With such a simple concept, Dividr is actually very intriguing.

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By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Image Sources: Digital Trends 

Apptology is Recognized by the California State Legislature as a 2014 Small Business of the Year Finalist

Apptology a Finalist for Small Business of the Year

Apptology a Finalist for Small Business of the Year

Apptology, an award-winning mobile applications development and mobile marketing company based in Folsom, was recently awarded as a 2014 Small Business of the Year Finalist by Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan (ninth assembly district) and the California Small Business Association.

Honoring outstanding leadership and exceptional service within the community each year, Assemblyman Richard Pan partners with the California Small Business Association to honor a “Small Business of the Year.” This year, Apptology was selected as a finalist “for their hard work and commitment to providing valuable services that has significantly contributed to the well-being of our region, thereby benefitting all the people in the State of California.”

“I believe that entrepreneurship and innovation is what makes America great and we are humbled to receive this recognition. This award is a source of great pride to all of us at Apptology,” said Rich Foreman, Apptology CEO and founder.

According to Foreman, in the past two years, the app market has “exploded.” In less than nine months, the Apple store reported over a billion downloads then doubled the number in half the time. The app craze has now spread to Android, Blackberry, and every other mobile market under the sun. Apptology has been serving clients for over four years and is unique in their service offering because they are the only company to offer a comprehensive suite of ReadyBuilt affordable solutions for the mobile applications industry for the SMB, according to Foreman. Their management team consists of entrepreneurs and industry pioneers from Silicon Valley and Fortune 500 companies working in mobile, interactive and new media technologies. Apptology also has a team of nearly 100 developers who have created hundreds of applications for various companies around the world on all mobile platforms.

On Jan. 24, 2014, Apptology was awarded the 2014 Small Business of the Year Award by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce at the 21st Annual Installation and Awards dinner.

California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg described Apptology as “a company that exemplifies technology in the 21st century.”

For more information about Apptology, visit www.apptology.com or call 877-990-APPS (2777).