Category Archives: Mobile

Mobile Backend as a Service Drives Next Round of Apps

While many people at SXSW were talking about mobile applications Highlight and Glancee, I was busy thinking about the growing movement of mobile backend as a service providers popping up.

These mobile backend as a service providers are providing services to mobile developer to help them rapidly build HTML5, iOS, Android and other mobile applications.

I wanted to do a quick round-up of the mobile backend service providers I’m tracking on:

Apigee UserGrid


Buddy Platform




Feed Henry






These platforms don’t represent the latest mobile craze or fad, they represent the platforms that will allow developers to rapidly iterate, fail and ultimately succeed in building the next Foursquare, Twitter and mobile apps that change the way our world works.

As I flush out what more about what each of these mobile backend as a service providers do, I will publish here on the CityGrid blog.

Micro-Volunteering as Part of Your Ambient Mobile Platform

Your standing on the street corner and your waiting for your bus. You have 3 minutes until it arrives, what can you do? Imagine if you could use that time to volunteer and give something back to your city and community.

Micro-volunteering is a new term being thrown around that would allow every day citizens to gather data and give back, in a way that would allow for organizations and city government to potentially make our cities a better place.

The City of Boston is exploring the myriad of ways that they can crowd-source their city operations, with initiatives like report a pot hole, which is part of their citizen connect program. There are thousands of citizens at any moment standing around the city with smart phones in hand–how do we harness this collective power?

This year at SXSW, which tends to feature the latest in mobile technology and apps, the concept of ambient social apps seems to be the dominate mobile trend. Ambient social apps run in the background of your smart phone, looking for other people who are part of your social network, or potentially share similar interests, and then push notifications to you alerting of different social opportunities around you.

What if micro-volunteering could be built into ambient mobile applications, scanning your surrounding looking for opportunities to give back by gathering data or snapping a photo, providing some valuable data points that can be used in everyday city operations and to better understand the world around us.

I think there are so many opportunities to harness the power we hold in our hands, via our smart phones. Introducing micro-volunteering opportunities to local citizens, empowering to give back to their city in small bite size chunks, while they are waiting for the bus or heading to their favorite restaurant for dinner just makes sense.

Micro-Volunteering should be part of every mobile platform.

SXSW 2012 Local, Mobile, Social: Glancee

There is an explosion of mobile apps fighting for attention at SXSW Interactive 2012 this weekend in Austin, TX. As I try to understand the playing field, I’m posting short profiles of each local, mobile, social app here on the blog.

First up is Glancee, a new way to meet new people nearby who share friends and interests with you. Glancee explore the profiles of people nearby and will notify you when somebody has common friends or mutual interests, then enables you text or call–potentially creating new, meaningful connections with new people.

Glancee works in the background saving memories of the people you encounter veered making it easy to discover the things you both enjoy and enables you to have have a private conversation about them.

If you are an event organizer, Glancee has a version enabling you to engage your audience by promoting conversations. It can increase the visibility of your staff and sponsors by connecting them with your crowd, and help you better understand your event with unique analytics.

Glancee reflects a new trend of ambient mobile apps, that quietly run in the background exploring your local surroundings, and discovering new social opportunities for you, with friends, and people around you who share similar interests.