Tag: Innotech Austin

InnoTech Austin Kicks Off Wednesday

Austin14_275x175 (2)InnoTech Austin kicks Off Wednesday morning with a keynote speech on fostering entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.

The talk features Bob Metcalfe, Professor of Innovation at UT Austin, Laura Bosworth, CEO and Co-Founder of TeVideo BioDevices and Michele Skelding, senior vice president Global Technology and Innovation at the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

A Women in Tech Summit begins at 9:10 a.m. and features a full day of sessions and talks from powerful women in technology throughout Austin discussing everything from overcoming barriers to innovation to effective communications strategies.

In addition, the Beta Summit returns to InnoTech at 11 a.m. and features a handful of promising young startups. Bryan Menell of AustinStartup.com will moderate that event.

InnoTech Austin, sponsored by Presidio, is the longest running standalone technology conference in Austin. The 11th annual event includes full day data and analytics track, full day security track. It also features sessions on IT Leadership & Strategy, Healthcare IT, Cloud technologies and mobility, CIO Gala luncheon and the Austin Digital Marketing Summit.

Tickets are still available. And make sure to pick up a copy of Silicon Hills News’ latest print magazine at the conference, which will be held at the Austin Convention Center.

InnoTech Austin Kicks off Wednesday

imgres-3The 10th anniversary of InnoTech Austin kicks off tomorrow at the Austin Convention Center.
And one of the most popular events is the annual Beta Summit which showcases some of Austin’s hottest new startup companies.
This year’s conference, which is sponsored by Presidio and the Austin Technology Council, is free to register with the special discount code of INNC in the discount code field.
The conference features special sessions on mobile applications, security, big data, agile, virtualization and more.
The free registration does not include the CIO Gala luncheon, Women in Tech Summit or the eMarketing Summit.
The Women in Tech Summit is an all day event that features top women IT executives and mentoring opportunities. Registration is $32 with discount code TECH2G.
The CIO Gala luncheon features leaders from USAA. Registration is $47 with the discount code TECH2G.
The eMarketing Summit features a full day of sessions designed for the marketing professional. Registration is $79 with discount codeTECH2G.

Full disclosure: InnoTech is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News

Five Austin Startups Demo Products at the InnoTech Beta Summit

Evan Baehr, co-founder of Outbox

By L.A. LOREK, Founder of Silicon Hills News
The Beta Summit at InnoTech Austin on Thursday featured five innovative startup companies.
Joshua Baer, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Capital Factory, served as the event’s moderator. He pitched his startup, OtherInbox, at the InnoTech Beta Summit a few years ago.
The startups each had eight minutes to showcase their companies to the standing-room only audience of more than 150 people. The startups included TrustRadius, Outbox, Ube, Skyence and Compare Metrics.
First up, TrustRadius, a company so new that Baer hadn’t heard of them yet, gave a demonstration of its enterprise software review site.
With consumer services like Yelp, people can find a thousand reviews of Home Slice Pizza on Congress Ave. but few reviews on expensive enterprise software programs companies buy to run their businesses, said Vinay Bhagat, TrustRadius Founder and CEO.
That’s the problem TrustRadius seeks to solve. It has launched a beta program for its review site for company software.
The site providers users with a template to evaluate a software product based on quality, customer service, ease of use and more. The reviews can also be sorted according to company size and industry. So a company technology professional can get relevant results for a small, medium or large business.
TrustRadius plans to make money through partnerships with software vendors and through subscription plans to premium content, Bhagat said.
Next up, Evan Baehr, co-founder of Outbox, gave an overview of his startup seeks to disrupt the bureaucratic and slow-moving U.S. Postal Service.
Outbox received $2.5 million in funding to create a new and better way to deliver mail to people in the digital age, Baehr said.
They built a product that digitizes all postal mail and delivers it to a user’s computer, phone or iPad. The product is in beta testing in Austin and already has 200 users.
Outbox seeks to innovate where the U.S. Post Office has failed, Baehr said.
“We’re young, we’re hip,” Baehr said. “We’ve got great outfits and really cool cars.”
Everyday Outbox’s employees, decked out in bright red Under Armour shirts, drive their white Outbox Prius cars to pick up customers mail. They then open the mail and scan each piece into a highly secure website. Customers can then access their mail and decide which items they want hard copies of to keep. Those items are delivered every Friday to the customers.
Outbox charges $4.99 a month for the service. Customers only need to send a picture of their mailbox key to Outbox to get started. Outbox then scans the key and creates a copy of it using a 3-D printer, Baehr said. The service is available in 40 zip codes in Austin right now. In the coming months, Outbox will expand to San Antonio, Houston and Dallas, Baehr said.
Outbox plans to integrate online bill paying into its service to make it easy for its customers to pay everything online, Baehr said. Right now, only 14 percent of bills are paid online, he said.
In the beginning, Outbox tried to partner with the U.S. Post Office. Baehr and other Outbox employees met with Postmaster General in Washington, D.C. to pitch their idea for digitizing the mail. The U.S. Post Office was not receptive, Baehr said. So they pursued the idea on their own.
At the end of the presentation, Baehr handed out postcards with a code for free two-month discount to the Outbox service.
Baehr talked so fast and enthusiastically that at one point he joked he felt like he was selling a Ronco Knife set.

Utz Baldwin, CEO and founder of Ube, demonstrates the Ube app to turn on lights

Next, Utz Baldwin, CEO of Ube, joked “That’s what happens folks when you feed your kids Redbull for breakfast.”
Ube recently won the People’s Choice Award at DEMO Fall 2012. The company plans to launch next month its free iOS app to control IP-enabled devices in the home like lighting systems, smart TVs and thermostats.
Baldwin is a former CEO of CEDIA, the global organization representing the connected home industry.
“The Internet of things is here,” Baldwin said.
Right now, creating a connected home can costs thousands of dollars and requires all kinds of hardware. Ube replaces all that, Baldwin said. With the app, anyone can control lights, TV and other devices in their home using a smartphone, a Wi-Fi router and the Internet.
Baldwin demonstrated how he could dim lights with his smartphone. He ended his presentation with a question to the audience.
“What will Ube controlling next month?” Baldwin said.
The fourth company to pitch, Skyence showed off its cloud services management software. The company launched six months ago and is in a private invitation only beta, said Tony Frey, its co-founder.
The software helps companies manage their files in the cloud on services ike Yammer, Shoutcast and Dropbox, Frey said. Skyence filters across all the cloud services, he said.
Skyence can track files and let management know who is using them and who are they sharing the files with online, he said.
Lastly, Compare Metrics’ Garrett Eastham, founder and CEO, provide an overview of his feature-driven search engine for e-commerce sites.
“We’re adding a new layer of interactivity and discovery on top of e-commerce sites,” Eastham said.
Compare Metrics has created a platform that delivers only the most relevant features to a customer. The platform becomes more intelligent the more a user interacts with it. It learns a person’s preferences and then makes product suggestions based on certain features. The company has a patent pending on its feature discovery and comparison platform.
Compare Metrics makes money by selling categories to e-commerce sites on a monthly basis. It is a software as a service company and charges $500 per month per category to retailers.
Its first customer, LivingDirect.com, goes live next week with Compare Metrics’ platform, Eastham said.

Austin to Play a Key Role in Transforming GM

Austin’s combination of educational institutions and IT professionals convinced General Motors Cos. to open an innovation center here and hire 500 workers, said Timothy Cox, its executive director for enterprise solutions.
“We’re looking for the best and brightest to help us,” Cox said Friday morning during a phone interview.
Cox will deliver the keynote speech at Innotech Austin, a technology conference at the convention center next Thursday. He plans to tell the GM transformation story.
“What we are doing and how we are doing it and specific steps we’re taking,” Cox said.
A big part of that transformation will take place at GM’s new innovation center in Austin. Cox has been at the new center, which opened in a former Dell building at 717 E. Parmer Lane, interviewing job candidates.
“It’s been good so far,” he said. “We have some good people on the ground with us. We’re hiring people on a project basis.”
GM wants to hire software developers, project managers, database experts, business analysts and other information technology professionals.
“As we go through this transformation of the company we are bringing back in house core IT skills,” Cox said.
Software applications that the company once outsourced to others will now be done inside the company to increase productivity and efficiency, Cox said.
Workers in Austin will create operating systems and software applications for GM’s Information Technology Group. They’ll create a broad range of tools for internal use for GM. They will not be working on in-car engineering design systems, he said. That group is based in Michigan.
“To run a company like GM there’s a lot of large sophisticated business processes to automate,” Cox said.
In 1984, GM acquired Ross Perot’s Electronic Data Systems, known as EDS, for $2.55 billion to modernize and automate the carmaker and to expand into the IT industry. But the integration of the two companies never worked and GM ended up spinning off EDS as an independent company in 1996.
“Because of the speed of the market and competition we found that we can move faster if we have direct control of those resources,” Cox said. “It’s all about innovating more quickly so we can get a leg up in the marketplace and be more competitive.”
Once the largest car and truck maker in the U.S. with more than 48 percent market share, GM’s market share has shrunk to around 18 percent of the market in 2012, according to a recent article in Forbes. GM’s partners make vehicles in 30 countries. Its brands include Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, GMC and Isuzu. Cox drives a Cadillac ATS, a luxury sedan that is

GM’s all-new Cadillac ATS (Photo by Sam Sharpe for Cadillac)

“light and nimble,” he said.
While Austin is not known as an automotive center, that’s not important, Cox said.
“There are broad array of capabilities required to run automotive company,” he said. “While Austin may not be an automotive center it’s very much an information technology center. Its breadth of technical skills in this area is a real asset.”
GM plans to build four innovation centers around the country. It announced Austin as the first center and a few weeks ago it announced the second one will be located in Michigan. The other two sites have not been announced yet.
GM has also announced it plans to hire 3,000 people from its business partner, Hewlett-Packard. But Cox said he doesn’t anticipate that many of those people will be in the Austin area. Most of the employees in the local innovation center will come from Austin, he said.
“We’re very pleased to be here,” Cox said. “It’s a wonderful city. Great people. We look forward to a long and productive relationship here.”

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