As I mentioned in my little video podcast, this week was the second of the Mass Innovation Night events.
I had missed the first, so I was really pleased to have the chance to attend the second one.
Mass Innovation Nights is run by Bobbie Carlton of Carlton PR & Marketing along with Dan Englander of High Rock Media. The idea is create a friendly informal setting where inventors and entrepreneurs can network with interested people such as those in the media, bloggers and Social Media types. Bobbie is clearly a marketing person who understands Social Media and she engages the Social Media communities in helping her get the word out.
This is clearly working as about 300 people attended the event, held at the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation in Waltham, MA. The museum itself is a great location and well worth a visit. Check out the site here.
I’ve not spent much time in downtown Waltham and I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the area is. As you would expect, the mill building is right on the river and all around are great views and busy resturants – very nice.
Anyway, after fighting my way through the Rt. 128 evening traffic I arrived at the event just as things were getting going. There was already a pretty good crowd there and plenty more still arriving.
One of the first things I saw was that the Twitter time line for the #MIN tag was being projected onto the wall – right in the middle was one of my Tweets – cool!
The event was in a good size room, with the dozen or so exhibiting companies (I think they are called Presenters in MIN speak, but look just like exhibitors to me) scattered around the outside. There was plenty of room to move around, chat with the exhibitors as well as the other visitors. From the buzz of conversation in the room, there were a lot of people making connections.
So what kinds of ideas were being presented? I was actually a bit disappointed to see that none of the organizations was involved in manufacturing. Everything was a service of some kind, many with a social media twist. With social media being so trendy right now, I can certainly understand this. The organizations ranged from IBM (yes really – some of the local IBM people seem to understand the value of networking – in the social not computer sense!- and it was great they had a presence) to tiny startups.
Here are some of the people I spoke with and my thoughts on their “product.”
Nexiwave. This is a kind of conference calling service. Think WebEx on steroids, with a big dose of social media for good measure. I was impressed with the features, including voice to text transcription and archiving of calls. Also has some clever bookmarking features to help keep track of things.
I don’t have a need for this personally (Whistletree.com takes care of my limited teleconferencing needs), I can see that companies needed high quality on-line collaboration would find this an attractive alternative to WebEx, Go to meeting and the other players.
Pixily was interesting because it is a new solution to an old problem. Even in our digital world, there are still huge amounts of paper documents to be managed and that is where Pixily comes in. These guys will handle converting your documents to digital formats and give you a web interface to be able to manage them.Send them the originals and they’ll do the rest.
Of course, if you are a big company, you probably have resources for this kind of thing, so I get the impression Pixily is aimed at smaller businesses with a problem to solve but not wanting to invest in their own infrastructure.
Again, I have no need for this kind of service, but I thought the concept was very well thought out.
Hubunity is very interesting because it is a tool for setting up and running social networks for organizations such as schools, non-profits or businesses – almost like having your own personal Facebook.
Really clever idea and I can already think of loads of ways I could use something like this. I would love my daughter’s school to have one of these networks – it would be the perfect way to keep everyone involved with what is going on. Hmmm – I just might have to suggest it
My favorite idea at the event was Click Health. These guys are looking to use new technology to bring healthcare to developing nations. The idea is simple – use the mobile phone network to link people in need to healthcare professionals to diagnose problems and provide support.
Check out the videos on their video page to get a feel for how this system can work. Really impressive and an idea well worth supporting. It is great to see technology being used a way that can help a great number of people. I wish Click Health every success!!
I wish Mass Innovation Nights success as well. This is a fantastic idea and I’m really pleased that Bobbie and Dan put this concept together. I plan to attend as many events as I can this year (hopefully get to the after-party next time) and I really hope you will as well. It would be great to see a NH Innovation Nights too.
Were you at MIN2? If you were what are your thoughts? If you live in a different area, do you have something similar?