City of Phoenix announces Smart City App Hack finalists
PHOENIX – The first annual Phoenix Smart City App Hack, an international competition to promote development of civic-focused mobile or web-based apps, has yielded its five finalists. The finalists will move to the Acceleration Phase and get free app development assistance from local tech partners to prepare for the City Finale in October. The winner will earn the right to represent Phoenix at the international competition at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona in November. The five finalists were chosen this month by a panel of local leaders and industry experts.
The city partnered with the Institute for Digital Progress to participate in the Smart City App Hack to encourage local entrepreneurship and help turn citizens into app makers to design and build applications and startup companies that will make for a better, smarter, and more sustainable Phoenix. App builders had to provide solutions to one of five global civic challenges: urban mobility, energy and emissions, shopping and retail, culture and tourism, and the collaborative city.
“These finalists show how far Phoenix has come in the digital and technology world,” said Councilman Bill Gates, who worked to bring the competition to Phoenix. “Each finalist’s app is strong in its own right, so the Phoenix winner will be tough competition on the international stage.”
“These five finalists are like our tech-Olympic team,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “I am confident that the top developer that ultimately represents Phoenix in Barcelona will show the world just how effectively our entrepreneurial start-up community is helping make our community stronger and more connected.”
Local companies IntraEdge, Elbow Room Studios, Tallwave, Coplex, and Dezapp are providing technical assistance to the finalists. This fall, the judging panel will choose the top three finalists before naming the winner that will participate in the final gala at the Smart City Expo Nov. 17-19 in Barcelona. The judging panel consists of Zach Ferres, CEO Coplex; Christie Kerner, Growth Advisor/Entrepreneur; Joaquim Alvarez, Digital Strategist, Barcelona City Council; Dr. Kevin Desouza, Associate Dean for Research, College of Public Service and Community Solutions, ASU; Kal Somani, CEO IntraEdge; Bart Steiner, Serial Entrepreneur; Chris Petroff, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Greater Phoenix Economic Council; Stefan Kaczmarek, CTO CodeRed-I; Jerrod Bailey, Partner and Executive Vice President, Tallwave; and Jenny Poon, Founder, CO+HOOTS.
The five Smart City App Hack finalists:
ParkX – Formerly Park Genius, these U of A grads are taking on parking meters. ParkX allows motorists to pay for parking directly from their smartphone. The app sends reminders and alerts when the meter is about to expire and allows users to add money to the meter. The service is currently available in Tucson and cities in Texas. The company also partners with local businesses to offer parking validation for on-street parking, coupons and more. The fees run between 25 to 35 cents per transaction. See the application details at http://getparkx.com.
Synergy AZ – An app designed to build teams for civic projects via an app for citizens of Metro Phoenix to connect with volunteers for projects that they pitch and plan.
HER – A Tallwave portfolio company, HumansFirst, built HER, an app where “Amazon meets Siri”, which uses their software that can comprehend and execute customer requests using Natural Language Processing. The app will allow users to shop, book travel, pay online, place local food delivery, and more via text or voice on mobile devices.
Bloodhound – For those individuals suffering from dementia or diagnosed with a mental disability, this app is designed to help a safe return if the person has gone missing. The app is paired with a Bluetooth gadget that is affixed to the individual and for those that download the app, users will receive a notification if a missing person is within 50 feet of them. The app can be downloaded on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Bus Plus – Commuters who use Valley Metro Public Transportation will be able to track buses within a mile radius and obtain detailed information about each bus (number, current speed, direction, and more). See more app details at http://busplus.co.