Tuesday, May 16, 2017

IoT #MIN98 Recap

The line was literally out the door to get into MITRE's gorgeous event space for Mass Innovation Nights number 98. The security guards were starting to run out of visitor badges. Now that's a well-attended event! There were few, if any, empty seats for the presentations. Our hosts provided delicious food, especially the vegetable dumplings. I lost count of how many people I heard say "Have you tried the vegetable dumplings yet? They're amazing!" You know it's going to be a great night when people are talking about the food at a techie event.
Exhibit Space So Big It Doesn't Look as Crowded As It Is
The event theme was IoT -- that's Internet of Things, not Internet of Toasters :-). Products ranged from temperature and humidity monitoring to electronic medical records to sushi. Yes, sushi. There wasn't a single Internet-enabled toaster or overpriced juicer in sight. The four chosen presenters for the night were:
  • blinkr -- Hardware modules and the software tools to go with them that make connecting whatever IoT device you're developing with way less development time and way more convenience.You can basically connect anything to anywhere.
  • WatchRx --A watch that reminds elderly folks to take their medications.
  • Cimetrics -- Building automation network connection, discovery, and analytics.
  • SiteSage -- Food safety monitoring systems.
I didn't manage to check out every product, but I managed to see most of them. I even got some half-decent photos in spite of challenging lighting conditions.
WatchRx Table
WatchRx was getting quite a bit of attention for the all-in-one watch dedicated to help your aging parents take their meds on schedule. Unlike most of the medication reminder solutions out there, WatchRx is a dedicated device, not just an app. It's a watch that provides voice reminders with the medication information (not just a beep, but a reminder of which medicine it's time for), alerts to family members or caregivers, emergency phone, GPS tracking, and a daily "are you OK" check. It really sounds like it addresses most of the issues with managing medications. The only thing the presentation didn't really address was HIPAA privacy concerns for the patient (who gets to know what medications your grandma is on and has she consented?)
Analytika by Cimetrics
My favorite product was Analytika by Cimetrics, basically "big data" analytical services for improving HVAC system performance in buildings.  Cimetrics combines their expertise in BACnet communication and metering systems with analytics tools to find the hot and cold spots, problem areas, and solutions to achieve both energy efficiency and comfort. No more too hot or too cold places in office and industrial buildings.
SiteSage Table Was Getting Lots Of Attention
SiteSage Smart Kitchen applies IoT technology to commercial kitchens. Basically, connected devices monitor temperature and other data that affect food safety and food quality. Is the food being cooked at the proper temperature? Is it being cooked long enough? Is the food being stored at the right temperature? Is there a problem shaping up with the refrigeration? Is your food preparation equipment working OK? Automating tracking all of these things can not only reduce risk and improve food quality, but also reduce waste, and maybe even save money.
Andros Robotics was getting loads of attention with a video showing a patient and physical therapist using the Robotic Leg Advancement Device (R-LAD) rehabilitation robot. Andros makes low-cost, force-controlled actuators that integrate easily into whatever system their customer is building. The R-LAD is the first product to use the Andros actuator. The R-LAD makes gait-training -- that is teaching the patient to walk after a stroke -- much easier. Gait-training is hard work and usually requires 2 therapists. With R-LAD, a single physical therapist can administer intensive gait-training therapy with reduced strain for the therapist and improved safety for both the patient and the therapist.
Tive Table
Tive's multi-sensor tracker with cloud-based software simplifies supply chain logistics by making it a snap to monitor inventory anywhere it goes. Their goal is to take surprises out of the supply chain.  Pretty cool.
I liked Blustream's package of sensor, app, notifications, and data platform to monitor and protect valuable things that could be damaged by humidity or temperature or even "unwanted motion" (like theft).  It's a nice compact sensor so you can use it for lots of different kinds of valuables like your humidor full of tobacco, your guitar, or your wine cellar. If the humidity is rising to a level that could damage your guitar, a cloud-based alert will let you know right away.

Most electronic medical records (EMR) applications are designed for hospitals and big medical centers.They can be cumbersome, expensive, and inefficient. MedKit takes on the challenge of EMR for small medical practices. It's designed specifically to meet the doctor's needs in a streamlined and customizable way so they can focus on the patient relationship instead of the records.

The Student Startup Spotlight featured two companies from Bentley University: Sales Sparks and SOOSHAY.

Sales Sparks aims to help startups in the Software as a Service market identify their best opportunities and create sales plans by analyzing the market, territory, accounts for them. Whether the startup has a sales force in place or not, Sales Sparks can help spur the startup's growth with plans to maximize return. 

SOOSHAY creates fast-casual sushi from the high quality and sustainably sourced ingredients. Every roll is created fresh-to-order just for you. Wouldn't you rather know your fish is fresh from Gloucester or New Bedford instead of older and imported from the Philippines? With SOOSHAY you can feel better about the sushi you're eating knowing that you're supporting regional fishermen. All that freshness and it's fast too - no need to spend hours in a sit-down restaurant.

The winners in the Audience Choice voting were:
The "Expert's Corner" was bustling with activity -- lots of folks consulting the various experts. Who should I feature as the Experts Looking Expert? Hmm, how about the Bedford Chamber of Commerce? They were providing expertise on the history of the Bedford Flag when I stopped by the table to ask if I could photograph them, so I can assure you they are very expert.

Experts Looking Expert - Bedford Chamber of Commerce

The next Mass Innovation Nights Event (MIN99) will be June 14 at the Thelma D. Burns Building in Boston's Grove Hall neighborhood.