(Originally published on Blogcritics.org)
SXSW V2V, a four-day (July 19-22) educational event in Las Vegas for startups and entrepreneurs, featured a wealth of new products and services. Its Startup Spotlight Event gave attendees a chance to see demonstrations and talk one-on-one with innovators. The V2Venture Competition enabled early-stage startups to pitch their products and/or services to industry experts and investors. Ten applications particularly impressed me.
YouRoam, from Austin, Texas, tweaks technology to let you make and receive calls on your cell phone from anywhere in the world while avoiding high roaming charges. Even better, the app lets you do this using your own phone number. This is achieved with a proprietary technology which builds on voice-over-IP. The app also enables users to place calls in areas with poor reception.
Besides the basic benefits, YouRoam provides a graphic interface which identifies callers and helps avoid telemarketers.
Unlike similar services, YouRoam does not require app-to-app calling. The application is free to download for both iOS and Android and comes with 100 free minutes. After that, it cost one cent per minute. The company’s site also features a travel blog.
Mixing It Like the ’80s
The 1980s were the original era of mixtapes – custom collections of music, sometimes captured off the radio, on cassette tapes. I kept a bunch in my glove compartment and they made great gifts. Now, Mixette has given a 21st-century spin to this phenomenon with an app that is visually charming, easy to use and fun.
To create a gift mix, you go to mixetteapp.com. You pay for the songs, choosing from over 19 million tracks, and then are able to add things that never fit into an old-fashioned tape. Along with the Mixette, you can include a note that appears handwritten and photos.
The person who receives your gift can download the songs. Just for fun – and that after all is what this is all about – the recipient can change the look of the digital cassette player in which the tape appears to play.
Mixette recently create a specialized variation on its site aimed at wedding celebrations:https://mixetteapp.com/wedding.
Yep, Yep, Yep
Yeplive uses a map-based interface to enable you to discover, stream, and share video of events as they unfold. You can share anything from waterfalls to birthday parties to breaking news. With this tool people who read or hear about an event can locate it on a map and zoom into whatever video is available.
The spokesman for Yeplive at SXSW-V2V claimed that it is superior to its obvious competitor, Periscope, because of its multi-platform capabilities, and that sharing is not limited to Twitter. He also said they were working on plans to revenue-share with people who provide valuable content to the platform.
The Magnificent Seven
Seven more applications deserve mention.
Monday Envelope is a community-building platform for schools and parent and teacher organizations. It offers ways to volunteer, give approvals, promote, pay fees, and manage calendars. It impressed me because of its ability to provide a single calendar for a parent with children in multiple schools. The software recently received a favorable review in Fast Company.
Dear Diary, remember to check out JRNL.com. Like Mixette, this company puts a modern tech spin on an old tradition. People kept diaries because, according to the JRNL.com slogan, “…life is worth recording.” Not only can you record your thoughts, you can work on projects with one or more relatives or friends. If the project has a logical conclusion, you can then have a book printed from it to share. It will go into a beta test this year.
Launched in May, Dashburst.com aims at making your online activities easier to manage. It allows you to queue multiple posts per day (the dropdown goes to 48) and select the time you want them to go out. I spoke with Dashburst CEO Daniel Zeevi at SXSW-V2V. He said the purpose was to be able to post to one location on the web, then distribute to other social media networks from there. This potentially could be a great timesaver.
Last year at SXSW-V2V, 3D printing was still cutting edge. This year low-cost printers are moving it into the mainstream. Helping consumers get the most from this technology is the mission of Pinshape.com. Billing itself as “iTunes for 3D Printing,” it is both a community for people with printers and a platform for designers to sell their models.
If all this is making your head spin, perhaps you need to meditate. Don’t worry, there’s an app for that. On August 15, Stillgoing will debut on the iOS App Store. It will allow you to connect to a live professional though your phone who will lead you through your mediation session. Users will also be able to access pre-scheduled group meditation sessions. Find out more atwww.stillgoingmeditation.com.
I’ve already written about the Unaliwear Kanega wristwatch and the WithMe app, but they deserve mention here as well. The Unaliwear Kanega wristwatch is a companion for seniors that does not require a cell phone or tablet. It provides support for falls, medication reminders, and a guard against wandering. The WithMe app, which does require a cell phone, automates daily check-ins between a senior and one or more other people, so they can know their loved one is OK. More info on both of these apps is available here.
To find out more about these and other new innovations, use hashtag #v2venture on Twitter.