Friday, September 17, 2010

Mob4Hire recognized by TechRev as a top 10 Innovator

We were pleasantly surprised last night when our name was announced at the annual TechRev awards here in Calgary. The top 10 awards were presented to the following companies:
  • Computer Modelling Group Ltd.
  • Ice Edge Business Solutions'
  • Multiplied Media Inc. (Poynt Mobile app)
  • Psyko Audio Labs
  • Sustainable Energy Technologies Inc.
  • Mob4Hire
  • Benevity Social Ventures
  • Wedge Networks
  • Userful Corporation
  • Genesis Technical Systems
More details can be found here on the TechRev site. And, our "Success Story" can be found here.

TechRev is an initiative founded by Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, Calgary Economic Development, and Calgary Technologies Inc. with a mandate to increase awareness of and investment activity in the technology sector in the Calgary region.

The second year of the awards, there were 304 companies competing, and we were shortlisted for the 25 that were looking for one of the top 10 awards. That was honour enough, actually ... the list of 25 companies is extremely impressive, and certainly shows the breadth and depth of the local tech community. Which, as I always say, is swimming in a sea of oil and gas here in Calgary, and often doesn't get the exposure it should.

TechRev aims to help change that, and these awards have become coveted for that reason. So, for us to be awarded one is a great honour, certainly comparable to all our global awards like our Meffys Award in London, our Red Herring 100 award out of San Diego, Under the Radar in Mountainview and various others from Barcelona and Toronto and such. Despite global success, it's good to be recognized in your home town.

I know many of the smart and hard working people in the winning companies ... Congratulations everyone!

Stephen King
CEO, Mob4hire

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mob4Hire announces 50,000 tester milestone and new Version 4.2

We're pretty excited around the halls of Mob4Hire these days. Not only has our community exceeded the milestone of 50,000 people (from 152 countries!), but we've just released Mob4Hire version 4.2, which has a bunch of new features that makes it easier than ever to get crowd-sourced mobile functional and usability testing done.

Here's the official press release:

First of all, SUPER BIG HAPPY THANKS to all of the testers (a.k.a. "Mobsters") who complete tests. We've seen a great increase in the number of projects in the system and it's you who are doing the tests and helping developers get better software to market. We've paid out thousands of dollars to Mobsters over the last few months, with people making between $20 and $50 depending on the the type of test, location etc... Stay tuned, because there's lots more to come!

And, secondly, thanks to all of our customers. There's more than 1,600 registered mobile developers and market researchers in the Mob4Hire community, and we appreciate that you've put your trust in us to help make your software better.

Finally, thanks to our partners: NAVTEQ, Motorola Motodev, Nokia.Forum, Samsung, Blackberry amongst others ... your support of Mob4Hire and dedication to making developers lives easier is appreciated!

I should note that the following features are part of our V4.2 launch. Enjoy!

1) Mandatory Handset Identification. The Mob4Hire platform automatically streamlines matching the project requirements of attributes such as handset types, network operator and countries.

2) CrowdFlow Project Management Tool. Mob4Hire has simplified the process of managing a large group of testers and survey respondents; from recruiting testers when starting a project all the way to paying Mobsters for their work when the successful results are returned to the developer.

3) Project Walls. Much of the crowd-source mobile testing process is collaborative and requires conversation between the collaborators. The new Project Walls allow for both private discussions and public discussions between app developers and Mobsters.

4) Facebook Connect. This feature has been enhanced to allow for more automatic connectivity that is allowed from the Facebook API

5) Internal admin. Architecturally, the new Mob4Hire platforms offers much better double-entry accounting and audit tools for its eCommerce micro-payment technology, MAAP (Mob4Hire as a Platform).

6) Automated tools. Mob4Hire has responded to customer feedback by including admin and automated tools like project reminders and social networking project sharing to help speed up the testing process, as well as to ensure higher quality results.

Trust in the Mob!

Stephen King, CEO

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mob4Hire Awards $1000 to Winner of Over-The-Air Hackathon in London ... Good job everyone!

Over The Air(By Richard Cooke, Mob4Hire VP Technology ... pictured far right)

I had the honour of representing Mob4Hire at the Over The Air 2010. The event was fantastic, with the highlight for many an appearance by the legendary Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

For me though, the highlight was the Hackathon competition for which over 20 teams stayed up all night creating mobile applications. The quality of the entries was simply stunning.

Mob4Hire presented a prize of $1000 worth of free mobile app usability testing to the app deemed ‘best-in-show’ and I therefore had the difficult task of helping judge the entries alongside representatives from many of the major carriers and device manufacturers. We deliberated long and hard, but eventually we had to come up with a decision as the cleaners were waiting to move in.

Best in Show was awarded unanimously to a team dubbed ‘The Ben Collins Appreciation Society’ for their application ‘First Gear’.

This was a team headed up by Ewan Spence, ably assisted by his team: Simon Maddox; Sam Machin; Rachel Clarke, Robert Lee-Cann; Karl Turner.

The demonstration was a complete tour de force, overrunning enormously although nobody minded. The team had hacked together an iPhone and Android interface using accelerometers to remotely control a couple of RC cars and, most notably, a quadricopter known as ‘The Parrot’. They had also implemented Paypal APIs so that they could charge people for playing with the toys and, reputedly, make extra charges any time somebody crashed the car. Here it is in action:

A full list of winners can be found here at the OTA site:

Some of my notable favorites were:

Audience choice: Lobster – Light Blue
A little London-centric this one (as was the audience). With this app on your iPhone you can ride on London buses for free since it emulates the ubiquitous Oyster card.

Best Android App: FindMyMates – Paul Johnston
An ambitious app combining location data from FourSquare with the camera API to pinpoint friends in a crowded room. This was my personal favourite and, although not quite finished when demonstrated I would like to see more of it.

The Most Useful: BlueBabelTextFish – Sam Machin
Using the Google Translation API and #Blue this application was able to translate incoming SMS messages from any supported language into English.

Best Hardware Hack: The Eyes Have It – Adam Cohen-Rose
Adam demonstrated an unholy marriage of a Lego Mindstorms Robot and an iPhone which implemented face recognition. The robot fixated on a face and then followed it, rather in the manner of a newly born duckling. Truly awesome.

Best use of Open APIs and Open Data : UK Traffic- Dale Lane
A mashup of google maps with some publicly available but currently less than useful traffic data to show traffic information on top of mobile GMaps.

I look forward to seeing the source from some of these projects. I think we could all learn a lot. Well done to everyone that took part.

- Richard