Recap: DemoCamp Edmonton 15

Edmonton’s fifteenth DemoCamp took place last night at the Telus Centre on the University of Alberta campus. With more than 200 people registered to attend, it was no surprise that the room was packed to see what some of Edmonton’s developers, creatives, and others have been up to. The event has evolved quite a bit since the first DemoCamp was held back in March of 2008 and that evolution continue last night. Demos were shortened slightly to 7 minutes, with 3 minutes left for questions. In an effort to streamline setup between demos, announcements about upcoming events and initiatives were made throughout the evening, rather than all at the beginning or end. And finally, Startup Edmonton branding was more prevalent.

We had six demos last night, in order of appearance:

  • Pepper – I demoed my little project that makes use of the Kinect to respond to voice commands and simple gestures.
  • Buzzerful – Jas showed us “the apartment buzzer of your dreams.”
  • Jobber – Sam demoed Jobber, easy-to-use administration software for businesses like painters, landscapers, snow removers, etc.
  • Inkdit – Greg showed us “the social network model applied to legal relationships.”
  • GeniePad – Rafal and Sjoerd very quickly ran through the many features of GeniePad, “the next generation condominium website.”
  • Rinksters – Ted gave a very entertaining demo of his company’s immersive virtual world.

I hope I achieved what I set out to accomplish with my demo – I wanted to bring an element of tinkering back to DemoCamp! My buggy app Pepper was built for my living room. Hooked up to my TV and a Kinect, I can give it voice commands like “Pepper, what is the current temperature” and it responds using text-to-speech. I have also been exploring gestures, so I can say “Pepper, show me the latest tweets about Edmonton” and then use my hand to swipe through them. The combination of speech and gestures really intrigues me.

Buzzerful was a neat little app. It gives you control over your apartment buzzer, by enabling the creation of one-time party or delivery codes as well as custom access codes for tenants or roommates. Also very cool is that you can set it up to call multiple numbers all at once, and the first person to answer gets to let the visitor in (or not). I’d totally use that, as long as there were solid notifications about the status of the service (if it goes down, I want to know). Might be cool if it could call me on Skype instead of the phone too.

Jobber is one of those apps that had me thinking “where were you ten years ago!” I was one of the unfortunate souls who undertook a summer with College Pro Painters, and an app like Jobber would certainly have made things better. It manages scheduling, customer relationships, invoices, estimates, jobs, tasks, and much more. It has some pretty nifty visualization tools as well to see where employees are deployed and where jobs are located. There’s even a mobile interface for use on-the-go. Check out Jobber’s blog about the event.

Inkdit deals with something pretty boring – legal agreements. Boring, but important! The service is a way to keep track of contracts you’re signing, either as yourself or on behalf of an organization. And it uses social networking to connect the different parties to the agreement. There’s a great demonstration site (it uses Comic Sans so you know it’s a demo site) that shows off the features.

GeniePad is an impressive application already in use by a number of condominium boards and property managers. The idea is to provide a simple communication portal for condos. It lets condos and owners share news and documents, contact the board or property manager, and track tasks and requests, among other things. My condo board uses it, and we’re really quite happy with it!

It was pretty much a given that the Rinksters demo would be fun – it is a game, after all. But I didn’t realize how entertaining Ted was! I’m not sure if he was intentionally funny at the start but he ran with it as he took us through some areas of the world, including a rare look at Yeti’s house! The game is targeted at kids in the 8-12 age range, though as Ted pointed out, no one will know if you’re older and you’re playing.

I usually ask a few people what their favorite demo of the night was, and the two cited most frequently last night were Jobber and GeniePad. Both apps solve real problems and seem to be well on their way to success!

Once again the big after-party was held at Original Joe’s Varsity. Thanks to Go Auto for sponsoring the drinks!

Some upcoming events you may be interested in:

Thanks to everyone who came out last night. See you at DemoCamp Edmonton 16!

  • Thanks for the mention Mack! Really appreciate it. Great to hear that your board is happy with GeniePad.  

    I hope you keep on working on Pepper, pretty sweet project you got going there. Hopefully there will be a mac version though….

    I must say as well, DemoCamp has evolved quite a bit since it started. I still remember a small group showing up. It’s great that you guys are working hard on your initiatives to make Edmonton a startup hub. Keep up the great work.

  • Jon

    I agree with you that the presentations were very slick and very entertaining, but I do miss the rough/hacker feel of some of the earlier demo camps. It would be nice to have a mix at each democamp.

  • Jas Panesar

    Mack, thanks for the great explanation of Buzzerful.  

    While I built it for myself, it was nice to see I wasn’t alone with wanting a more capable door buzzer.I agree with Jon and you tho.  I love seeing cool stuff the most and Pepper was totally in that category. I totally could use it, and would re-install a windows box just for it lol, and I hope there continues to be more of it..I’ll take you up on your offer of developing a public service status if I can pick you mind — it’s better than the private, generic notifications that exist right now.

    • Sure, would love to help (and test!). Thanks!

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