The Xconomy Mobile Innovation Showcase

On April 7, Xconomy will hold its first-ever Forum on the Future of Mobile Innovation in New England, an afternoon-long event designed to highlight the technologies and ideas that will lead the local mobile industry through—and past—the economic downturn. CEOs, engineers, analysts, and investors from more than 15 local companies and venture firms will be on hand at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center to share their insights and predictions and to tackle the audience’s questions. Tickets to the event are available here, but are going fast.

A few weeks ago, we put out a call for demos, inviting local mobile firms to show off their technologies in a series of quick “mobile bursts” punctuating the afternoon’s panel discussions. Time restrictions forced us to pick just five presenters. But so many companies expressed interest in demonstrating their technologies that we hated to turn them all away—so we decided to do the next best thing, and set up a showcase area here on the Xconomy website as a permanent online supplement to the April 7 event.

The companies listed below are pioneers in important niches of the wireless business such as mobile Web browsing, marketing and advertising, recreation and fitness, shopping-related mobile search, and mobile software development. They’re distinguishing themselves by raising capital, bringing out intriguing new products and services, and exploring new markets even as the recession slows investment and innovation in other sectors.

The descriptions below were supplied by the participating companies, with slight editing for length. We’ll be adding to this showcase over the following week. If you’d like us to include your company free of charge, just write to me at [email protected]

Quick Directory:

Adva Mobile
Ambient Corporation
Enterprise Mobile
Nuance Communications
Pyxis Mobile
Quattro Wireless
Skyhook Wireless

adva_logoAdva Mobile
Wayland, MA

Adva Mobile provides a software service that enables music artists to create closer relations with their audience through their mobile phones. The services that we provide include mobile messaging, mobile
presence (through mobile webpages), mobile content fulfillment, mobile commerce, and the ability for the fan to share this experience through existing social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Free to the fan
and free to the band, we make money through mobile ticket and merchandise sales, premium subscriptions, and advertising revenue.

Boston-area band Macalister Drive is an early user of Adva Mobile:

Macalister Drive Adiphone_img

Company video:

Aerva LogoAerva
Cambridge, MA

Aerva, Inc. is a pioneer in developing interactive mobile technology that integrates mobile applications with the web and digital display networks. Aerva’s dynamic mobile applications platform, MoApp®, allows you to create and manage applications that are compatible with all wireless carriers throughout North America and Europe. MoApp offers opt-in connectivity to subscribers through a variety of media including mobile, print, radio, television, digital out-of-home and more. Used along with Aerva’s AerChannel digital display platform, MoApp adds mobile interactivity to public displays. Founded by MIT alumni, Aerva provides the simplest to use, most powerful and most cost-effective solution to create small or large interactive display networks.

Screen shots of on-screen voting and advertising displays:

Aerva 1Aerva 2Aerva 3

Interview with Aerva CEO Sanjay Manandhar

Ambient LogoAmbient Corporation
Newton, MA

Ambient Corporation (OTCBB: ABTG) designs, develops, and markets Ambient Smart Grid™ communications technologies and equipment. Utilizing proprietary, open standards-based technologies along with in-depth industry experience, Ambient provides utilities with solutions for creating smart grid communication platforms and technologies.

The Ambient Smart Grid platform uses high-speed Internet Protocol (IP)-based communications over existing medium and low-voltage distribution grids as the “last mile” backhaul necessary for utilities to implement smart grid applications such as Advanced Metering Infrastructures, real-time pricing, Demand Side Management, Distribution Monitoring and Automation, and direct load control and more. When combined, these applications can offer economic, operational and environmental benefits for utilities, and ultimately the utility’s customers.

The Ambient Smart Grid™ communications platform is comprised of nodes that are configured to act as individual data processors, and collectors that receive and transmit the communications signal from other networked devices including other nodes, couplers or end-user devices. Ambient’s node can directly interface with any device with a serial or Ethernet port, and can deliver high-speed communications data using existing and developing technologies. Ambient’s latest communications node, the X-3000, has incorporated the ability to access Verizon Wireless’ EV-DO 3G network.

Ambient SmartGrid

Bitstream LogoBitstream
Cambridge, MA

Bitstream (NASDAQ: BITS) is a software development company focused on bringing unique software products to a wide variety of markets. The company’s core software products include award-winning fonts and font rendering software, mobile browsing and messaging software, and variable data publishing and web-to-print software for personalized marketing.

On April 1, Bitstream introduced the Beta 2 version of its Bolt cross-platform mobile browser. Based on the Webkit open-source browser foundation, but with proprietary compression, navigation and rendering technologies, Bolt is optimized to conserve mobile phone battery life and data transmissions while offering unrivaled speed—consistently performing 25 to 50 percent faster than competitors.

Sample screenshots:

Browsing CNN with the Bolt mobile browserUsing the Bolt browser's magnification featureBrowsing YouTube with Bolt

Company video:

Preview: Bolt Browser for BlackBerry Beta from CrackBerry2 on Vimeo.

Cognika LogoCognika
Boston, MA

The “search-and-click” paradigm has become the principal mode of information retrieval over the web. Search, while making information available, is far from making it usable. The goal of zooming user interfaces (ZUIs) is to make this information-glut usable as “knowledge” in a simple intuitive fashion. One of the simplest and most intuitive user interface paradigms in existence is that of exploring a map by zooming in/out for details/abstract. Cognika’s eXtensible Interface (XI™) offers the user a mechanism to iteratively access and develop a personalized compendium of the information desired. This customizable compendium—which Cognika terms a “View”—spans multiple domains, documents and media and self-assembles information contextually with which the user can iterate.

We illustrate this using an example of searching for a movie. As with most search engines the results are rendered with an initial summary. However, the user can then click on a result of interest to zoom-in further to view showtimes (based on location) and reviews (from selected sources). On zooming-in further, traffic or public transit information relevant to the closest theater is displayed. The user might then choose to include other facets such as tickets, nearby dining etc. Cognika XI™ also allows for inline expansion of concepts of interest. For example the user might choose to zoom-in further to learn about movies in similar genre by the director, or expand on the plot summary to learn about the context and story.

Cognika XI™ offers a novel, intuitive mechanism for Human Computer Interaction, especially in information-rich environments.

Sample screenshots:

Cognika XI zooming interface--step 1Cognika XI zooming interface--step 1Cognika XI zooming interface--step 3

Company video:

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Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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