Food, fun, facts, photos fuel local apps
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Developed by Boulder-based Splick-It Inc., Splick-It is a mobile and online app that, for guests, enables grab-and-go convenience with ordering and payment handled directly on iPhone, Android or the web.
(Courtesy Splick-It Inc.)
Developed by Boulder-based EarthvisionZ LLC, the PGA Tour Live Mobile Maps is a free mobile app that allows enthusiasts to follow players at tournaments throughout the year. The app provides real-time information for all PGA tournaments. It tracks every player and every shot and sends out a feed to the leaderboard, and that data goes into the app.
(Courtesy EarthVisionZ LLC)
Boulder-based Tagwhat Inc. created TagWhat, a mobile app that uses the device’s location sensors to deliver Web- and social-networking content about nearby places. Besides providing information from websites, the app allows users to share facts, photos and stories about the location.
(Courtesy TagWhat Inc.)
The fruits of some of these collaborations can be seen in mobile-application development, where sky's-the-limit creativity has produced some unique but practical additions to a smartphone or tablet.
Some of the more popular and imaginative apps developed by startup companies in Boulder are:
If you detest standing in line to pick up or pay for a quick meal at your favorite restaurant, then Splick-It may be the mobile app for you.
Developed by Boulder-based Splick-It Inc., Splick-It is a mobile and online app that, for guests, enables grab-and-go convenience with ordering and payment handled directly on iPhone, Android or the web. For restaurants, it is a branded mobile and online ordering platform with access to an integrated suite of tools to connect with their guests in a timely and personal way.
The idea for the app came from one of the company's workers who used to own a coffee shop in Boulder and was tired of watching her customers wait in line to order. With the right technology, she believed, people's lives could be made easier.
"We are all about making ordering as fast and easy as possible," said Linds Panther, Splick-It's marketing manager. "With Splick-It, all you have to do is grab your food and go."
Splick-It targets the quick-service and fast-casual segments of the restaurant industry. In fast-casual restaurants, shorter wait times translate into customer satisfaction, Panther said.
Founded in 2009, Splick-It began by partnering with two employees and a handful of Boulder eateries. The company now has 12 employees and 15 clients, including Illegal Pete's in Boulder, Snarf's, Tokyo Joe's, Deli Zone and Pita Pit. The company's largest client is Moe's Southwest Grill, an Atlanta-based national chain with 500 restaurants.
To use the Splick-It app, users select a restaurant or café from the list of available eateries, which then brings the restaurant's menu onto the screen. From there, customers can customize items and write notes for their order before adding them to their cart.
After filling out an order, users can set a pick-up time (a minimum of 15 minutes for food and five minutes for coffee) and then pay with a credit card. At the restaurant, the order will be ready and waiting at a designated pick-up area.
During the early stages of development, the company was funded by friends and family. As it expanded, Splick-It received a funding round from large angel investors. Now in a growth stage, Splick-It is seeking institutional funding at a much larger scale.
Platforms: iOS, Android
Sphero is a playful robotic ball that users control from a smartphone or tablet with a tilt, touch or swing of the device.
While technically a toy, it is not just for youngsters. The app-controlled ball is popular with children and adults alike — including President Obama.
Thanks to some aggressive marketing by Boulder-based startup Orbotix Inc., Obama spent a few minutes taking Sphero for a spin with his smartphone while in Boulder on an April campaign swing.
Sphero is the creation of Boulder-based Orbotix, founded in 2010 by a group of lifelong robotic engineers. Orbotix unveiled Sphero to much hype at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and the team upped the ante at the 2013 CES by showing off some new games that are on their way, including a couple of augmented-reality games.
More than 20 free iOS and Android apps currently work with the robotic ball, most of which were built by independent developers who competed in "hackathons" Orbotix held across the nation in the past year.
"Developers just keep coming up with new games," said Adam Wilson, an Orbotix co-founder and chief software architect.
The downloadable games include Rolling Dead, in which zombies attack Sphero as it rolls around the carpet at speeds of up to 3 feet per second while the user plays from a handheld. The device's camera tracks Sphero's position and orientation, letting the user control it within a 50-foot range.
There's also Sharky the Beaver, in which Sharky also goes after Sphero.
With the Draw & Drive app, a user can plot a colored path on a mobile device and Sphero follows it while changing colors along the way. The white ball is stuffed with multicolored light-emitting diodes capable of creating thousands of customizable colors.
The Sphero Cam app lets users control Sphero, shoot video and capture pictures at the same time using a mobile device's camera. Sphero Golf lets users play a quick game, flicking the onscreen ball to move Sphero around a room.
To hear Wilson talk, Sphero is just getting started. "Our end game is not about the ball," he said. "Our end game is about controlling all the stuff around us with our phones."
Platforms: iOS, Android
Cost: The Sphero ball can be purchased from many major retailers including the Apple store, Amazon, Target, Barnes and Noble and Brookstone. The apps are free.
Tagwhat turns a smartphone into a personal tour guide.
Boulder-based Tagwhat Inc. created this mobile app that uses the device's location sensors to deliver Web- and social-networking content about nearby places. Besides providing information from websites, the app allows users to share facts, photos and stories about the location.
Tagwhat can be thought of as a mobile tour guide, one that is always updating itself with the latest information from the Web. The material Tagwhat retrieves includes text, video and pictures, and is delivered to mobile users in seconds.
In addition to the expected information about restaurants, schools and community buildings, Tagwhat provides history and context.
A Tagwhat user walking past Boulder High School would see the school, but also get a lesson about what would happen to Boulder Creek if an epic flood occurred: "The 500-year flood would bring the water level up to chest height if you were walking through the front doors!"
On a tour of the University of Colorado-Boulder campus, the user could read about Steve Ellis, founder of the national chain of Chipotle restaurants, who attended CU and Boulder High School. The user also could open a Chipotle menu.
Tagwhat provides a number of filterable channels for users. Those not interested in food, for instance, can turn that channel off, while those who want to know more about area music and entertainment can turn that channel on.
The channel mechanism provides Tagwhat's first revenue stream by allowing organizations to put sponsored channels in the application. Tagwhat is also counting on revenue through third-party services, which are viewed only if selected by users.
Tagwhat was founded in June 2009 by Dave Elchoness, Angus Shee and Donald Cramer.
Platforms: iOS, Android
Users can capture 360-degree panoramic views using the video camera on their smartphones or iPads and the 360 Panorama app.
The photo app is easy to use even for first-timers: Simply tap the camera button at the bottom of the screen and turn the mobile device in a full circle to shoot the image. No further work is needed; the app automatically builds the panorama based on the image shot. The app integrates the data into a 360-degree photo that can be touched up if desired.
From within the app, the panoramas can be shared through social media or email. The app isn't needed to view the images.
The app is the creation of Occipital Inc., a Boulder-based company founded in 2008. Prior to 360 Panorama, Occipital built RedLaser, a popular mobile barcode-scanning application that was acquired by eBay in June 2010 for an undisclosed amount.
Since then, Occipital has focused on software that enables devices with cameras to see the world, process visual data and share information with other devices.
Platforms: iOS, Android
Cost: 99 cents
2013 PGA Tour Live Mobile Apps
Want to track your favorite golfer at this year's 2013 PGA Tour? Fans can do that with EarthvisionZ' 2013 PGA Tour Live Mobile Maps, a free mobile app that allows enthusiasts to follow players at tournaments throughout the year.
Developed by Boulder-based EarthvisionZ LLC, working with the PGA, the app provides real-time information for all PGA tournaments. It tracks every player and every shot and sends out a feed to the leaderboard, and that data goes into the app.
Users stay current with on-course action and scoring data. Player locations are picked up every 10 to 20 seconds so that people around the world can watch live without relying on TV cameras.
To accomplish this, EarthvisionZ uses its WorldEngine platform. The technology picks up the PGA's ShotTracker feed and translates the location data into a coordinate system.
Founded in 1995, EarthvisionZ has had a hand in other interactive 3D geospatial experiences and asset management for clients such as the Olympics, the U.S. Air Force, and Level 3 Communications Inc. The company has developed applications using Google Earth and other virtual globes to create interactive experiences in sports, renewable energy, news and entertainment, and for military, environmental and transportation industries. Users can travel the earth and access everything they need to know about a place or event, such as the Olympics, golf courses, ski resorts of the world or cities in 3-D.
Platforms: iOS, Android
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