NYC BigApps Competition Wants Your Big Ideas to Improve Life and Work in New York City

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR




Wanted are technology solutions that help improve resource management, education, health and public safety, among other challenges

On May 6, a diverse mix of of developers, engineers, designers, marketers and content experts, gathered at the AppNexus office in Manhattan for the NYC BigApps 2014 kick-off.  New York City’s 5th Annual BigApps is a four-month competition that awards technology products that best solve major challenges affecting New York City residents, visitors, and businesses. Participants can win cash prizes, products, special recognitions, and the chance that their product will get adopted by a civic group or city agency.


By giving access to government agency data, NYC BigApps has helped launch nearly 300 apps designed to improve the life and work of New Yorkers since its creation in 2009. Last year’s BigApps Grand Prize winner was HealthyOut, an app that helps users find and order a healthy restaurant meal for delivery, takeout or browse for healthy dish suggestions when dining out. Since then, the app has expanded its geographic footprint outside of New York. Today’s HealthyOut users can order nutritious meals in more than 500 cities, choosing from more than 20,000 restaurants.


This year’s BigApps contestants are encouraged to submit projects that fit into one of the four categories:  Live, Work, Learn, and Play.  At the kick-off event 44 BigApps partners, including city agencies, private companies, civic organizations and educational institutions, had set up a booth to discuss projects needs, ideas and available data with the attendees. Projects can run the gamut from mobile and web apps, connected devices, data tools, games, and other technology products.

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Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi – A Good Candidate to Break the New Social Media World Record

By Julian Steinforth, Expedition PR

sochi_app_storeWith today’s start of the broadcast of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, millions of people will be tied to their TV and computers screen to watch their favorite winter sports and cheer on their home country’s teams. Big sport events such as the FIFA World Cup, the Super Bowl or the Olympic Games are always a crunch time for marketing and PR professionals since, according to KT Tape, 83% of viewers use social media on second-screen during the games. Procter and Gamble launched their very successful “Thank You, Mum – Pick Them Back Up” commercial for the Olympics which went viral and hit over 13 million clicks after only two days on YouTube. But the Olympic Games are also used by countries to promote themselves and their culture to the rest of the world. One example of this is Canada who launched their big #WeAreWinter campaign featuring their star athletes in several videos that followed them through the preparation to the Winter Olympics.

The rise of social media and mobile technology has enabled people from around the world to follow scores, athletes and help to handle scheduling the 98 events which take place in 15 disciplines over the next couple of weeks.

Here are five apps specifically developed for the Winter Olympics in Sochi that will greatly improve your second-screen viewing experience:

  1. AT&T, also official network service provider, launched the #ItsOurTime App with a record function, giving fans of the US team the opportunity to support the athletes with a loud “U-S-A” chant.
  2. The free Olympic Athletes Hub App makes it easy for fans to follow their favorite athletes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, all combined in one App. A great solution to monitor all social engagement and happenings.
  3. Also worth checking out is the free 2014 Team USA Road to Sochi App. Designed for the supporters of the US team, the App puts a focus on the US athlete’s Facebook and Twitter handles and provides its users with biographical background information, photo galleries and video clips.
  4. A good way to stay up to date on the medal count is with the Sochi 2014 Medal Alert App. You can select your favorite sports category and the teams you’re cheering for in the preferences. The app will notify you each time a medal is awarded during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
  5. For Android users the official Olympic sponsor Samsung launched the WOW Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games App. It allows its users to keep track of scores, medals and event schedules. Also included in this app, and possibly one of the most valuable features for those unfamiliar with the sports they are watching, is a small tutorial for each sport detailing how it is played and scored.

Alex Huot, head of social media for the International Olympic Committee (IOC), predicted that the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver would be “the first social media Olympics”. However, the games in Vancouver were outranked by London. With 150 million tweets across 16 days and 80,000 a minute when Usain Bolt won his 200 meters title, plus 1 billion official page impressions on Facebook, the London 2012 Olympics were crowned as the “first social media Games.” We know that Sochi can’t be crowned the first social media game anymore, but world records are there to be broken as social media use has even increased since 2012.


Holiday Shopping 2013: Watch out for Santa’s new digital elves and reindeers

By Dennis Anderson, St. Francis College, and Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR
This blog post was originally published by ACM – Computers in Entertainment.


Forget chimney sweeping, Santa is sending gifts by same-day courier and his elves are roaming virtual shopping malls to stuff your stockings.

adidasinteractive_2This year’s holiday shopping is on track to set a new record for m-commerce: Total e-commerce grew 24% to $4.6 billion on Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving, according to research conducted by BI Intelligence. The study concluded that m-commerce grew 63 percent and accounted for nearly $940 million in sales on those three days. One in four e-commerce dollars spent on Black Friday and Thanksgiving was on purchases made through mobile devices. Comscore is predicting a combined 14-17 percent growth in holiday desktop e-commerce and m-commerce compared to last year, keeping in mind that this year’s shopping season is merely 27 days, thus six days shorter than 2012.

Santa and his virtual elves also have a couple of new tricks up their sleeves. One of them is comparison shopping.  Continue reading


The Summer of 2013: S’mores and Apps

By Katja Schroeder and Dennis Anderson. Published by ACM Computer in Entertainment on July 31, 2013

The dog days of summer have begun. Schools are closed. The annual summer reading list is taped on the fridge. For many kids, the summer is not just about spending time at the beach and enjoying s’mores at campfires; an increasing number of parents send their children to camps that offer some type of educational value, such as learning a new language or exploring science.  Bookstores are stocked with summer learning books that promise to prepare their children for the next grade.  A new generation of tech-savvy parents has discovered mobile apps and online software as a learning tool for their children.

In 2011, already more than a quarter of all parents had downloaded apps for their children to use, according to aCommon Sense Media study. The higher use of mobile devices has accelerated the adoption of educational apps at home since then.  The Pew Research Center estimates that tablet ownership among adults in the United States rose from 10 percent in December 2012 to 34 percent in June 2013—and 50 percent among parents with young children. About 60 percnet of children ages 8 to 11 use phone apps based on a study conducted by the research firm KidSay.

The appeal of downloading educational apps for kids is simple.  The gamified approach of apps engages kids to solve math problems and other tasks that they may not want to do.  They can collect virtual coins and rewards for solving a variety of challenges. Like adding vegetables to favorite dishes to make meals more nutritious, practicing math via apps becomes fun, and makes the use of mobile devices for kids more beneficial.

Here are the five most popular math apps for children available on iTunes, which can make the summer more enjoyable.

To read the full article, click here


Perfect Pairing: Food & Tech

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Last night, tech writer Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica tweeted “Did you know there are still people who take photos of every meal they eat and post them on Facebook?” Having just celebrated the launch of Falansai, a new Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn, which included the set-up of its social media channels, I could not help but thinking that sharing pictures of food is a good thing. While I might not want to see every single meal my friends are devouring, I trust their taste buds.  Sites like Yelp that are packed with consumer reviews and pictures of dishes help me and others decide where to grab the next lunch or dinner.

According to the 2011 State of the Social Media Survey NM Incite, 60% of social media users create reviews of products and services. That includes restaurant reviews, often with pictures.

Technology has created new visual and consumer-content driven marketing tools for the food and hospitality industry. A great picture of an amazing meal posted by a guest can be a restaurant’s best word of mouth.

At last week’s NY Tech Day, the world’s largest startup fair, a number of startups used technology to innovate the food services industry. Here are three of the companies who exhibited at the show.

Culinary Agents:  When stopping at the booth, the Culinary Agents team positioned their service as a “LinkedIn” for people who work in the food industry.  Right now, most of the LinkedIn users are some type of knowledge worker. Very few cooks are to be found on LinkedIn. Culinary Agents is building a community of talent from all walks of the food and beverage industry to feed a robust job search/match tool that drastically improves the process for both talent and talent seekers.

Plated:  Frustrated with having to think of recipes and to shop for all the ingredients to make a delicious meal? Plated is out to change that. This e-commerce platform provides gourmet dinner kits. Customers can cook delicious meals at home without the need for meal planning, recipe hunting or grocery shopping. This is how it works: Plated features a variety of new chef-designed meals each week. Choose the meals you want and order online. No need to grocery shop or recipe hunt (they do it for you).

FoodtoEat: FoodtoEat  proposes a new way to order food online from restaurants and food trucks.  The company created a common online hub for customers and vendors alike. Customers can customize their dining experience through a large selection of vendors that can be combined for one order. I immediately envisioned myself ordering a couple of my favorite foods from Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg to my home.

From POS systems like Breadcrumb to new types of food delivery services, technology is creating new ways to produce, serve and enjoy food – and share these experiences with others.

And congratulations to FoodtoEat. They are the winner of Expedition PR’s NY Tech Day raffle.



Eat, Tweet and Be Merry: Restaurants and Food Producers Use Social Media to Connect with Consumers

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Restaurants, from five-star establishments to the local coffee shops around the corner, have discovered the power of tech, most notably in the form of social media.

shake shack

A good example is the food truck rave. Some of food trucks have amassed an impressive online following by Tweeting their daily specials, route and even open positions. Boston-based MeiMei Streetkitchen (@meimeifoodtruck) shared its recent job opening by picture with 2,800 followers.


MeiMei StreetKitchen ‏@meimeifoodtruck 3 Apr Hi friends, we’re hiring! Know someone who wants to join our team of food truck bandits?
Visit http://meimeiboston.com/jobs pic.twitter.com/DIsCRyWzXB


Kogi (@kogibbq), a Korean barbecue taco truck in Los Angeles, has more than 102,000 followers. That’s 17,000 more than star chef Marcus Samuelson, the founder of New York’s hot spot Red Rooster, although @MarcusCooks had just successfully published a bestseller book.

While a hundred thousand fans on Twitter is an impressive feat, it’s not quite social media rock stardom in the food industry yet. Over 817,000 people follow the musings of Food Network Star Bobby Flay (@BFlay). His Food Network colleague Giada De Laurentiis (@GDeLaurentiis ) has 792,000 Twitter fans.

As reported by Mashable, a study by the National Restaurant Association showed that about 45% of consumers have already chosen where to eat with the help of an online site, such as Yelp.

The study also showed that 27% of diners have viewed or posted reviews. Consumers love to share their views on food. They are flocking to food sites and apps like Foodspotting and foodgawker. Most of them also love a good deal, often offered by ScoutMob, Groupon or LivingSocial. Foursquare recently announced a partnership with OpenTable that allows diners to make reservations using their Foursquare account.

While grandmother’s recipes might still rule in the kitchen, it’s not your grandmother’s marketing style anymore. Continue reading


It’s a Mobile World: 3 Things To Learn From Large Enterprise Purchases

By Tress Fereday, Expedition PR

It was the announcement that American Airlines purchased 17,000 of Samsung’s Galaxy Note “phablets” for their flight attendants that got my attention.  Considering that the airline has already provided their pilots with 10,000 Apple iPad’s, I wondered why they switched hardware, and ultimately operating systems, for this purchase.  Their PR has been grim of late throughout their bankruptcy troubles and merger talks.  Finally here is some “innovation news,” so I wanted to know more.


Enterprise apps on the mobile device are on the rise

Enterprise apps on the mobile device are on the rise

It seems they already have a relationship with Samsung where their maintenance personnel use the Galaxy Tab, and that device is also offered to Business Class customers for inflight entertainment.


Although the latest data shows that Apple’s iPad and iPhone are the top pick for flyers with the Apple operating system being used 84 percent of the time inflight over Android.  Also, research is revealing that iPhone and iPad continue to gain ground with business users.


This Apple iOS vs. Google’s Android reminds me of the days (not that long ago) when Microsoft ruled the desktop – and the business user – though Apple held strong with certain sectors. I worked at Marketing Communications agencies where “the creatives” had to have Macs, but “account service” always used PCs. That divide is no longer.

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