2019 was my third consecutive year attending the Embedded Systems Conference. An event that brings together key vendors and provides a full slate of interesting talks about the Embedded Systems market, this event co-locates with two others, BIOMEDevice and Design & Manufacturing New England. My usual path through the showcase floor involves meeting all of the ESC vendors and then cherrypicking those from the other conferences involved in tech markets I follow. And, of course, I attend as many of the interesting presentations as I can fit into two days.
This year, as always, the ESC exhibitors were a mix of software, hardware, and consulting services companies, with the usual significant contingent of test and measurement vendors.
A lot of the ESC talks in past years have been security-focused. There were plenty of security talks again this year, but I noticed the robotics portion of the program more this year. I haven’t researched past topics, so the mix may not have been any different, but because one of the two keynotes was robotics-focused it brought the robotics element more to the forefront.
The two keynotes – one each day – were split between the BIOMEDevice program and the ESC/D&M program, to the extent robotics spans both of the co-located non-med conferences.
Wednesday’s keynote feature Scott Huennekens in a “Fireside Chat: Discussing Medtech 4.0 and the Future of Care.” Thursday’s keynote starred Boston Dynamics’ Kevin Blankespoor with “Exploring Real World Applications for Dynamic Robots.”
I also attended a few more Embedded Systems Conferences talks. IAR Systems’ Shawn Prestridge presented “How to Secure Your IoT Project.” Verizon’s Joshua Ness delivered “Wrapping Your Head Around 5G: A Primer for the Enterprise Community.” The PTR Group’s Michael Anderson provided an “Introduction to the Robot Operating System.” ARM’s Chris Shore discussed “How to Migrate Intelligence from the Cloud to Embedded Devices at the Edge.” And Veo Robotics’ Patrick Sobalvarro talked about “Advanced Vision Systems for Safe Human-Robot Interaction.” In subsequent articles, I’ll write about these talks (in varying detail, depending on the quality of my notes).
Boston New Technology’s May startup showcase featured seven EdTech and CareerTech startups.
After an hour of food and networking, the presentation portion of the program always begins the same, with a quick introduction. Then the sponsors who are in attendance that evening each to introduce themselves. And after that, sponsors not in attendance generally get recognized with a slide and a mention.
After the quick sponsor introductions, each of the evening’s seven showcasing startups gets to deliver a five-minute presentation, which is followed by a five minute question-and-answer period.
Below I’ll write a sentence or two about each of the presenting companies. These write-ups are based on material distributed before and during the event, sometimes tweaked based on the content of the presentations. If you’re interested in learning more about one of the companies, don’t rely on my notes; rather, follow the links I provide and contact the companies directly for more information.
Products & Presenters
BlocksCAD is 3D CAD software that helps schools teach coding, math, and design. It makes this sort of learning easier and more engaging, and the company presented statistics showing the split of engagement with it product for boys vs. girls is relatively close to 50/50.
The Family Learning Company showcased its Family Literacy software. The software is designed to help families learn together. The Family Learning Company’s presentation touched upon how it’s designed so parents with literacy shortcomings can help their children learn. Its goal is to improve literacy by connecting adult learners with their children, providing a better literacy outcome for both. During the Q&A period, a question about gamification was asked; that is not in the plans, as it would not improve learning. Also in response to a question, the Family Learning Company envisions this product as being a corporate benefit.
Validated Learning Company showcased its Question Xchange peer-to-peer quiz question sharing marketplace. Using crowdsourcing and machine learning, it helps teachers find and share high-quality quiz questions.
ForagerOne is a tool that helps connect students, faculty, and administrators at colleges and universities to improve students’ access to research opportunities by leveraging universities’ internal faculty information and allowing students to get their research interests and backgrounds in front of the faculty members with whom they want to connect.
ArcLive gives researchers access to physically historical archives remotely. Important because less than 10% of archival documents are available online. By using a camera and viewing system (with built-in protections against copy-making), researchers can view information they would otherwise have to travel to see. ArcLive touts that the cost of accessing these historical archives through a local surrogate via ArcLive can be half the cost of accessing them via international travel. As an added bonus, it gives researchers the ability to access information at multiple, distant sites, particularly helpful if those additional sites contain smaller amounts of information that would have been otherwise unlikely to have warranted a visit at all.
Passion Analytics‘ PAT is an automated career coach with a natural language user interface. It is designed to guide users through career decisions and to help them find their career passions. To the extent possible, it’s a self-contained product, but if necessary, it will direct users to an actual human. Right now, Passion Analytics is targeting students 18-25.
Unfundable is an academic health research simulation card game that pits players against each other in pursuit of grants. It’s marketed toward high school and early college students and is meant as a way to introduce grant-based research to those potentially interested in careers in that field, with the goal of also appealing to a broader audience.
Boston New Technology is a not-for-profit, community-supported network of 24,000 business professionals focused on Boston’s tech community, with a mission of helping businesses in that community, especially startups, launch and grow. To that end, the group hosts monthly startup showcases in addition to other events.
June’s startup showcase, BNT102, is scheduled for June 10th at Foley Hoag, LLP in Boston’s Seaport District; it will be HealthTech-themed. July’s BNT103 will feature Mobile Apps and Tech, and it’s already scheduled – July 15th back at Hult International Business School in Cambridge. BNT hosts other events each month, as well, so check out BNT’s upcoming event calendar at its website periodically as details are added for those events, too.
A Tech in Motion Boston event held at PTC, Boston, MA
May 15, 2019
On Wednesday, May 15th, I attended an event at PTC’s Boston seaport headquarters. I trust Tech in Motion to put on good events, drawing a very techy crowd and featuring interesting topics. As usual, I wasn’t disappointed. Wednesday’s Smart Cities & Urban Innovation: Demos & Drinks covered the topic of urban tech.
Before and after the presentation, there was time for networking and for visiting several area companies in the urban innovation space.
BetrSpot is an app that allows people to trade spots. Spots in line. Spots at the bar. It’s a marketplace for physical first-come, first-served spaces.
Beta Blocks is attempting to create smarter, more connected Boston communities.
Cambridge Mobile Telematics is the company whose Drive Well platform is being utilized as part of Boston’s Safest Driver Competition, mentioned above.
Soofa was showing off its cool Soofa Sign community news feed display units – or, as they call, them, “the world’s first outdoor 42” electronic paper display for downtowns, neighborhoods, parks, and campuses.” (I’m enthralled and look forward to trying them out.)
Tolemi is a “governing intelligence” platform. What I recall most about my conversation with them was the detailed maps.
Getaround is a service/app that facilitates peer-to-peer car rental, sort of like an Airbnb for cars. I previously mentioned Getaround very briefly in this article about a Boston New Technology event in September 2018, and I first encountered Getaround at a BNT event earlier in 2018, though I didn’t mention the exhibitors in that write-up. Certainly seems like a product capable of gaining traction in its chosen market.
In all, it was a great sampling of city-focused technology. Hosted by PTC, of course, at its seaport district headquarters. The event was held on PTC’s demo floor, which contains showcases of several of PTC’s augmented reality products. And the group of attendees was Tech in Motion’s typically tech-focused audience.
I attended the Embedded Systems Conference last week, as well, on Wednesday and Thursday. You can expect coverage of some of the presentations I attended at that conference here in the blog over the coming days.
World Series Champion Boston Red Sox Select Acronis as Official Cyber Protection Partner
Acronis Red Sox Day, Fenway Park, Boston, MA
May 10, 2019
On Friday, May 10th, the Boston Red Sox and Acronis, via an event at Fenway Park, announced the Red Sox selection of Acronis as the team’s “Official Cyber Protection Partner.” Presentations by Acronis Vice President and General Manager Patrick Hurley and Boston Red Sox Senior Director of Technology Operations Randy George were followed by a chat with former Red Sox Bob Stanley and Jerry Remy and, later, an appearance by prolific Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
Acronis, long known for its backup and recovery products, also offers robust cyber protection. The Red Sox, meanwhile, conduct a massive data analytics operation, as is typical of Major League Baseball teams.
Hurley’s presentation discussed Acronis’ service offerings and its partnerships with major professional sports operations around the globe, as featured at the company’s acronis.sport website.
George’s presentation focused more on the ways the Red Sox would utilize Acronis’ capabilities, including increased speed and security of the team’s analytics, plus the impact on back office operations.
Materials about the announcement cited Acronis’ cutting-edge hybrid cloud architecture, disaster recovery, file sync and share, blockchain notarization and e-signature services, multi-machine deployment provisioning, enterprise-level managed file transfer, and anti-malware protection.
Red Sox Vice President of IT Brian Shield was quoted as saying, “We’re thrilled to have Acronis as our Official Cyber Protection Partner. Acronis’ services offer an innovative blend of data protection and cybersecurity that will ensure all of our data, regardless of volume, is safe and secure so it’s available precisely when and where we need it. We look forward to a long and highly successful partnership with Acronis that will benefit our organization on and off the field.”
Hurley added, “Everyone at Acronis – particularly those at our Burlington, MA office – is thrilled that the Red Sox decided to team up with Acronis. As a Boston native and life-long Red Sox fan, the opportunity to contribute to the success of one of baseball’s most storied franchises is very exciting. Acronis shares the Red Sox’s commitment to excellence and with the world’s most secure cyber protection solutions defending their digital environment, they’ll be empowered to achieve even more.”