This week I attended another great Mass Innovation night in Cambridge, Boston. The Xconomy Mobile Madness event was still happening when we got there so we snagged a free beer and poked around at what was going on there. Have to admit that when I got to the whoopie stand though I became a bit distracted! The Chococoa Bakery had some really decadent mini whoopie pies! I only had the chocolate with chocolate ganache, but I did have 2 of them – yum! I tried not to feel too guilty as they only use organic ingredients…
I did finally manage to drag myself away from the chocolate whoopies, and caught up with a few people. Then the presentations started in the main Microsoft NERD center room. A few of the products/services caught my interest including VoKnow. This seems like a really useful idea for anyone who doesn’t have time to sit and read the news or events that interest them, i.e. commuters. VoKnow is like Pandora for news – you sign-up and create customized channels covering topics like news, weather and even your Twitter stream – and VoKnow will read them aloud to you. Better than listening to the radio because you decide what topics you want to hear about, pause, rewind or fast forward – they have a growing list of channels to choose from. When asked about costs we found out the service is free and the app is free – can’t beat that! Business model is based on infrequent ads playing during the audio stream. I liked the idea so much I just signed up!
Plug is another mobile service that really got me interested. The idea is to connect more deeply with events you are attending – network with people with the same interests as you, get a direct Twitter stream of the event you are attending, complete surveys during the event sent by the organizer. Plug integrates with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn bringing in limited profile information to help match other event attendees. For event organizers, they can have all information about the event and attendees in one place. They can share event agenda, update information in real-time on the event ‘wall’, share location maps and directions and gather analytics such as the number of connections made at the event, amount of interaction and feedback from attendees. Mobile is the future and this is a great step down the right path of where things are headed and it is free for the app.
Lastly, I couldn’t help but stop by the Hello Ladies table. Ever since I saw they were coming to this event I have been following them and receiving the daily headlines. They gear themselves as the online magazine for smart, busy women. The articles they have are not the junk trash from the grocery checkout nor are they too highbrow to disengage you. They cover stories and blogs on topics that most professional women can read, enjoy and discuss further by commenting on the articles.
Interestingly, QR codes were a big feature of the evening with each table getting their own QR code. QR Codes are those black and white fuzzy looking boxes you see around places more and more. By scanning it with your phone, a tweet was created about the product automatically! The tweet can be edited before it is sent, so overall I think this is a neat idea. It would have been even neater if I hadn’t left my phone charging on the kitchen table when I left the house! Felt quite naked without it.
The after party was at the Za bar round the corner. Hadn’t been there before, but I did sample their pizza and I can testify that it was rather good. Had a great evening talking to everyone there, and very surprisingly for me, I didn’t get home until after midnight. It was worth it though!!!
Looking forward to the next Mass Inno night on April 13th at another new location!!!
See you there…