After a couple of weeks of our casually getting to know each other, my Amazon Echo is really starting to understand me. She just learned a new word: “wudder.” Now Alexa can tell me what year Waterworld came out and how long the spaghetti pot will take to boil. (That’s not to say she gets me completely — at least once a week she plays “the news” when I ask her to “snooze.”) Alexa, Siri, Cortana, your TV, even your car — in recent years, there’s been a remarkable rise in technology you can talk to, with more on the way. And considering that our local brand of English is so, um, distinctive, conversing with these systems can be a challenge. Philly English (perhaps even more so than Boston or Chicago English) is full of complex rules that are picked up on the schoolyard rather than in textbooks, which is why “mad” doesn’t rhyme with “sad” here and why so many movies feature Philadelphians who sound more like New Yorkers. To make our extraordinary accent work with this new genre of talky tech, researchers have had to create complex AI technology that can understand people better than humans can. Read more »
This year’s DNC in Philadelphia will be the most innovative Democratic national convention to date, the host committee says, and that’s thanks in part to the popular, fast-growing Philadelphia-based startup Curalate.
The DNC host committee announced today that Curalate, the image monetization software company, is an official technology provider for the convention, joining other technology leaders like Microsoft, AT&T, and LG, also official technology providers.
In its fourth year of business, Curalate captures the visual content or images of its clients like Staples and Urban Outfitters on social media platforms like Instagram and connects the images to the products pictured within them. With Curalate’s technology, for example, a user on Pinterest can click on an image of a dinner table spread from Crate & Barrel (a client) and be linked to where they can find and purchase the items online. Read more »
Hillary Clinton dropped some big technology objectives last week when she released her all-encompassing “Initiative on Technology & Innovation” policy agenda.
The ambitious list of initiatives reads like an innovator’s dream, with proposals to connect every U.S. household to high-speed internet by 2020, train 50,000 new computer science teachers in the next decade, and even minimize the worries of budding entrepreneurs by deferring their federal students loans for up to three years.
In Philadelphia, the presumptive democratic nominee’s platform could do a lot to further the city’s commitment to attracting and retaining entrepreneurs. While some industry leaders say Philadelphia is already a microcosm of Clinton’s plan, others are skeptical about whether the stated initiatives can ever materialize here.
Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners, the group that invested $8.9 million in local technology-based companies last year is doing something new – it is trying to clear up its public perception.
The conglomerate of partners that has invested in Philadelphia-based companies (and companies of the surrounding Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties) for over three decades says it’s losing out now because people just don’t have the right idea about them.
The Philadelphia tech and startup scene made its way down to Austin last week for South by Southwest — better known as SXSW. As an interactive-focused conference-turned-festival, SXSW is one of the largest gatherings of leaders and organizations spanning the technological, design and creative realms.
For the first time this year, a concerted effort has been made to spread the message of Philadelphia’s growing tech culture and the vibrant innovation coming from our region — and what better place to do so than right at SXSW. With that goal in mind, a solid group of Philadelphia’s tech leaders decided to head south and represent the great things brewing in Philadelphia’s emerging tech scene. So, why, exactly, did 10 companies and close to 200 Philadelphians (including Comcast, Independence Blue Cross, Zivtech, my own Chariot Solutions, and others) decide it was worth the time, effort, and money to make the trek to Texas? Read more »
Pennsylvania ranks eighth among U.S. states for the size of its tech-oriented workforce, a new report says.
The Cyberstates 2016 report was produced by CompTIA. It said there were 228,754 tech workers in the state, making an average wage of $92,179. That average wage ranked 18th among the states.
Still, the tech sector’s growth in 2015 was much slower here than nationally — just a 0.6 percent growth in Pennsylvania compared to 3 percent nationwide. And while wages grew by 1.2 percent nationally, they declined a bit in Pennsylvania, by 0.1 percent. The state jus about kept up with patent growth, though, raising that rate by 8.2 percent — the national rate was 8.4 percent. Read more »
In today’s era of Netflix, on-demand programming, and recorded TV shows, nobody is really watching live television — unless it’s sports. In fact, 93 percent of the top 100 live TV programs were sports content, according to a 2015 Nielsen report. In 2005, sports only made up 14 percent of live viewership.
Nobody knows this better than Comcast, a company that’s investing big dollars to make sports viewing a better experience for the viewer. Today Comcast announced that it has purchased Philly tech company OneTwoSee — the business that provides the statistics behind its X1 Sports App. Financial terms of the deal were not released. Read more »
While technology is made to advance, it’s also made to be accessible. UX Design, an emerging field of computer science and engineering, is closing the gap between humans and computers, allowing new innovations to be comprehensible, constructive and coherent. These platforms include User Interface (UI), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Human-Centered Computing.
Graduate schools across the country are working hard to improve human-computer interaction — and Philadelphia colleges are no different. Now two schools in Philly have been ranked in the Top 50 Best Value UX Design Graduate Programs of 2016 by Value Colleges. Read more »
Comcast Vice President David L. Cohen is lashing out at the FCC after it voted to move forward with a proposal to allow customers to get cable TV set-top boxes from third-party vendors. That would certainly shake up the cable TV industry. Currently, customers can only get set-top boxes from providers like Comcast or Time Warner Cable and those typically come with a rental fee. In fact, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn noted at the FCC meeting that the cost of a set-top box has risen at more than three times the rate of inflation costing American families more than $200 per year.
The rule change isn’t a done deal yet. Now comes a lengthy comment period followed by a final vote in a few months. Read more »
You can’t help but root for the companies in the latest class of the University City Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator. A patch that analyzes sweat to measure dehydration? Using a smartphone to better treat burns and bruises? Enrolling pets in clinical trials for cutting-edge therapies? Yes please.
Six early-stage healthcare companies have been accepted into the second class of the UCSC health accelerator from a pool of 69 applicants. They’ll receive up to $50,000 in funding along with professional mentorship and networking opportunities with local insurers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and research institutions. During the 12-month program, they’ll also get membership to the Science Center’s Innovation Center @3401. Read more »