Saturday, September 27, 2014

#ATTWNY Civic App Challenge Symposium - Saturday September 27, 2014 - 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

On Saturday September 27, the #ATTWNY Civic App Symposium brought the start of a very special challenge. A specific challenge to be precise! This is all about helping your community through a mobile app. So no matter how old you are or what walk of life you are from, we all face a challenge that a mobile app could help or assist us with, and the opportunity to do that starts now!

I like to say this a lot, "See a need, fill a need." -from the movie Robots.  Mobile app programmers / developers, organizations that have the data and non-profits with needs for mobile app development were all present to help Western New York today to "See a need, fill a need".

HackUpstate has built a great website for the challenge that contains all the details about the partners and the actual competition and if you want to know more, go here

There were about 70 people that spent a beautiful Saturday morning in the large, bright open space called D!G on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus in Downtown Buffalo. The attendees were treated with both breakfast and lunch and a great day of learning, networking and growing.

There was so much content, conversations and learning and I could tell it was very positive and very heart warming. I could sense there was much hope and there will be great collaboration in this challenge. 

So let me tell you (with pictures and captions, of course!), how the day went.

When you arrived you were greeted with a registration table, a bag of cool swag! and a great program for the day.  Also everyone received a free day pass to D!G to try it out!!!

Food was fresh fruit and bagels! 

Early morning tech conversations were happening and it was great to see.

The D!G conference area is never given any justice by pictures so if you are reading this blog and never have been there, then please go and check it out.

Here are our big partners of the challenge. Ben Roberts of AT&T our gracious sponsor and United Way's Aaron Krolikowski along with Jessica Edwards the Curator of D!G. They were all great and this great event would not have gone on without their leadership!

A 9:30 a.m. start and away,we, go!

First of all did I say the event was free to the public?!? Well get ready because first we had Andrew Nicklin who works in the Office of the NYS Governor as the Director of OpenNY. He gave an Introduction to Open Data.  

Then Tim Poulson of Appcelerator who gave a presentation on Mobile App Development and explained the current usage in the market of mobile apps and the platforms available.

Then Chris Fagiani gave us an overview on FLOW (Field Level Operations Watch) which helps the process of Open Data sources.

One of my favorite things I saw today was Remy DeCausemaker's presentation on projects happening on Github and using the Gource product was amazing. He truly is a tech wizard in ways I cannot even imagine. Check out the video below.

Dan Magnuszewski from Z80 Labs and Scott Cassety of LaunchNY talking about the Incubator process and some background on LaunchNY.

After lunch we came back to a panel made up of our speakers and experts in the fields of Open Data. Tej Chigateri, Brian Borncamp, Tim Poulson, Chris Fagiani, Remy DeCausemaker, Scott Cassety and Dan Magnuszewski. This panel talked about a lot of options available, gave advice to many questions in the audience and made an impact for many in the audience.

Then John Wojcik from the NFTA spoke about opportunities with apps and the challenges the NFTA faces when trying to give real time data to smartphone users of their services.

One of the best things about the symposium was the other side, filling the need. There were 12 different non profits that brought a 2 minute pitch for help developing something that would benefit our community. The groups that were there were:

After School Network of WNY
Buffalo Promise Neighborhood
Child Care Resource Network
Grassroots Gardens of Buffalo
Parent Network of WNY
Partnership for the Public Good
Preservation Ready Sites
United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
UB Office of Global Health Initiatives
UB Regional Institute
University Heights Collaborative
University Heights Tool Library

A great day indeed, an important opportunity to help your community and build new relationships with limitless potential, all in my backyard. I am thankful and grateful to be apart of InfoTech Niagara as it gives me such great opportunities to be involved in these events. 

"See a need, fill a need!"