Tuesday, November 19, 2013

AnDevCon and GMIC Lead the 2013 Silicon Valley Tech Conference Season

The fact that Mobile technology has become the dominant sector in technology innovation was very clear this year in the Tech Conference scene as well - with San Francisco/ Silicon Valley hosting more than 10 large conferences related to Mobile Technology which were full of the same level of energy, enthusiasm and innovation as the Java One Conference used to be a few years ago (now folded into Oracle Open World). 

I was fortunate enough to attend a few of these as a VIP Invitee, including MobileCon by CTIA in San Jose, GMIC in San Francisco, AnDevCon at Burlingame and WIMA NFC & Proximity Solutions Conference at South San Francisco. Because of time constraints, I am going to cover two of these - AnDevCon and GMIC here. 

Even though AnDevCon is advertised to be an (Android) developer conference, there is
An exhibitor hands out "Freddy", the phone stand
with four fingers
actually a lot of useful information even if you are not a hardcore software programmer who develops code in Android for a living, but someone involved in the Mobile App industry. The 4 conference was held from November 12th  to November 15th in Burlingame near San Francisco Airport. In addition to numerous classes covering both broad topics such as Android Concurrency, Security, Cross platform development and Details of Specific sets of Android APIs such as those involving Image, Sound and Video handling, to very narrow and focused areas such as 3D modeling and Payment APIs for Paypal support; there were also several interesting keynotes by speakers from Google, Twitter, Qualcomm and Blackberry. There was also an "Android Business" track and
 a plethora of major companies exhibiting at the event, including Google (no surprise), Amazon, Sony, Adobe, and Intel, among others.

A YouTube Hosted Video for one of the courses at AnDevCon


MobileCon at San Jose was a bit disappointing - the scheduling and who can attend was ver confusing - for example, I got the conference pass for MobileCon for Free because I was invited by Good Technology, but I couldn't attend the Good Technology's one day leader ship summit because it was invitation only! The sessions I did attend were not too informative or revealing in terms of strategy, vision of direction. Despite the name "MobileCon" there barely any discussion of Apps or App Development. I I will most likely skipping this conference next week. 

Spreading Cheer and Joy at he Uber Booth at MobileCon

Global Mobile Internet Conference moved to a larger venue this year, to Moscone Center at San Francisco; it was held at San Jose Convention Center last year. It brought together more than 10,000 attendees from 60 countries representing innovative mobile start-ups, service providers, device makers, wireless carrier, individual developers, Venture Capitalists, Angel & Private Equity investors, and officials and speakers from large corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Box, UCWeb, Kabam, Tapjoy, Electronic Arts, Intuit and more

Sally A., a recruiter from HTC manages a Table at the hiring section at GMIC

In addition, two competitions were held. The first was an “appAttack” competition open to novel and innovative Mobile Apps which were introduced less than 12 months ago and were primed to be a global sensation. Among all the entrants, 100 were chosen and were given a demo booth at the conference. The other competition was the G-Startup competition, where 12 app developers were given the opportunity to present the business plan of their start-up to a judging panel. Members of the judging panel consisted of mobile industry leaders and investors including venture capitalists and angel investors from Silicon Valley and around the world.

In the conference portion of the event, Attendees discussed opportunities and trends in mobile applications and mobile web domain focusing on three areas: Innovation in mobile technologies and start-ups, global markets, and app monetization. Detailed comparisons were made between what percentage of money is made by selling apps v. the percentage made by in-app purchases and in-app advertising display.  There was also a "Global Stage" where 11 country or region specific panels and App show cases were held.

However, my favorite part of the conference was appAttack where 100 app builders showcased innovate apps hot out of the oven. Some of the more impressive apps I saw include (in no particular order):

1. Blippar™ . This app uses image processing technology for recognition and mapping. It works by having the user point the camera at photos from print media such as magazines and newspapers, or even actual products (like a beer bottle), and bringing them to life. In a product demo, the demonstrator pointed the camera at a still image of a synchronized swimmer from the Summer Olympics and the software “brought it to life” by looking up the image in its database on the mobile cloud and downloading the video. In addition, it could also help you purchase items--think about the mCommerce possibilities. You see a pair of shoes someone else is wearing and want to buy them too. You point your camera at a can of soup to see the ingredients or get a recipe. 

A Developer from NewzSocial Demonstrates the App on iPad
2. newzsocial not only gives you access to the news, but also allows you to curate, classify and organize news based on your preferences and keyword choices. You can personalize a dynamic news magazine and share news with your friends.

3. Vylinx allows users to organize their cloud video collection, which can consist of videos stored at various cloud locations. It automatically generates four 2-5 second long snippets from each video, which act like video indices. These are stored locally on the device. These help users to quickly browse through long list of videos and choose the interesting ones

These snippets are automatically created by using sophisticated image processing algorithms which detect change in scene and soundtrack, the speed of these changes, and the motion objects, people, and even change in people's facial expressions (like a smile).

4. AppKey is a new way of more effective mobile advertising by pooling in App developers and advertisers into the AppKey network and showing ads on users home screen. Users can keep using any App from the AppKey network for free as long as they install the AppKey widget. They see ads on their home screen instead of "in apps" advertising, and the revenue is shared with the app developers based on use of their apps. 

Yash at the 2013 GMIC Conference
5. The "Ultimate Food Fight" App - The name is a bit of misnomer; the app does not involve any food-throwing. What is involved is head-to-head competition among restaurants in a region where a dish can be pitted against the same dish at other restaurants in the same region. For example, users can locate the best burger in town, gourmet dishes at upscale French restaurants, preferred fro-yo shops, local breweries, or even food trucks. The highest ranking is determined by verified purchases. Participants enjoy reviewing the gastronomical delight up for debate and sharing photos. Sponsoring restaurants can chose to get the feed of user comments and photos and post them on their websites and social media pages.

Though the Global Mobile Internet Conference had been held in Beijing, China since 2009, this  was the second year for the conference to be held in US. 


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