India and Israel SmartCamps close with Sirion Labs and NSLcomm as winners

IBM SmartCamp is fueling the next generation of enterprise grade solutions to transform business, streamline customer experience, increase efficiencies and reduce business costs. And what an exciting year 2015 has been for this program.

First, this past fall SmartCamp, in collaboration with LAUNCH, brought together ten finalists from around the world to San Francisco to showcase their solutions, network with investors, and gain new skills to take back home in preparation for the final stage of SmartCamp at LAUNCH Festival March 2-4, 2016 in San Francisco.

Then, last week, the global momentum continued with Israel and India hosting their own unique SmartCamp events, recently announcing winners, NSLcomm from Israel and Sirion Labs from India.

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NSLcomm provides advanced turnkey communication systems for small satellites in a system that can be tailored to the customer’s needs from S up to KA bands.

Sirion Labs manages complex service engagements in an integrated platform, allowing customers to automate contracts, performance and finance management. Real-time analytics and metrics. All in one highly intuitive user experience.

Continue to follow the story on Twitter: @IBMGE and @IBMSmartCamp. For more information about the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program, please visit: www.ibmforentrepreneurs.com.

General Manager of Ecosystem Development and Developers, Sandy Carter shares three things tech companies can do in 2016 in article with Inc. Magazine

As 2016 edges closer, there are few things you can do to embrace the momentum you’ve gained in 2015 to be successful in the New Year.

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A recent article authored by Sandy Carter, General Manager of IBM Ecosystems and Developers was published in Inc. Magazine to show these three trends in full detail: .

Here’s a quick recap of what you can do in 2016 to grow and scale:

  1. Business Mashers: The New Startup Leader – Embody a hybrid skillset
  2. Hackathons Will Act as the New Proof of Concept – Join a hackathon and generate a proof of concept in just 2-3 days
  3. Tapping Into the Global Ecosystem – Share knowledge with other startup cities digitally. Business digitization has kicked open the doors for a global tech ecosystem–and not just virtually. In 2016, digital cities will see the value in linking together and learning from one another.

Brazilian market research firm picks SoftLayer for its emotion recognition solution

For nearly 500 years, people have been fiercely debating the enigmatic smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa. Is it demure? Jovial? Self-amused? Maybe by using some of today’s facial imaging technology, art critics could finally decipher what the lady is thinking.

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Understanding what people are thinking is the business of Brazil’s largest independent market research firm, Holding Specialist Researchers (HSR) and its  São Paulo-based division, Blend New Research. When Blend New Research needed a better way to evaluate consumers’ emotional reactions to its clients’ advertising content, it looked to IBM Business Partner nViso SA—a startup in Switzerland that develops emotion recognition software—to solve the problem.

In turn, nViso looked to IBM and created a customized, innovative solution that’s hosted in a SoftLayer virtual server environment.

nViso CEO and cofounder, Tim Llewellynn, describes the decision-making process for choosing cloud technology: “A lot of research is traditionally done onsite, but Blend was pushing for online-based research as a new way to do research in emerging markets, like South America. We could immediately see that the power of the cloud would enable Blend to offer much faster service.”

He continues, “One of the things we quite like about SoftLayer is its low-latency performance and ability to transfer data between datacenters without any cost, which makes it a better fit than other offerings and allows us to serve customers around the globe.”

How it works

 Blend New Research uploads commercial content to a SoftLayer-based online portal and sends video links to respondents worldwide. When participants view the content, web cameras capture facial micro-expressions that nViso software then analyzes to gauge second-by-second reactions. Marketers use the insight to hone their branding and advertising messages.

In addition to performance benefits, Llewellynn cites cost savings and business flexibility as other reasons for choosing SoftLayer technology.

“It integrates seamlessly with Blend’s existing process and there’s no capital investment, as opposed to using some other hardware-based solutions. Plus the cloud gives innovative businesses like Blend the flexibility to grow. If Blend wants to expand outside of Brazil, it can easily take this solution all across South America.”

Lucas Pestalozzi, Blend New Research CEO, concurs, adding that the solution gives his company a significant competitive advantage. “Our clients get really excited about this because we deliver the informational richness they’re looking for. And we can do it faster, cheaper and better.”

Read more about HSR in the IBM case study and here.

Reprinted by permission from Thoughts on Cloud.

Colorado startup, Lawbooth revolutionizing the legal industry

Imagine a college senior returning from a barbeque where beer was served. As he is driving, the lights flash behind his car and he is pulled over by the police. Two strikes against the college senior-one, he is young in a college town and two, it is nighttime and he is driving. Automatic checkpoint – and he is looking at a DUI. So what does a college student do, without much money and a long way from home…not a good situation.

This was the dilemma faced by Willy Ogorzaly – the CEO and founder of Lawbooth.   Willy knew he needed legal advice and representation but at a cost effective point – and not being charged by the half hour to simply determine his options.  And thus the idea for Lawbooth was born.  Lawbooth’s mission is to create an online free market for legal advice. By bringing the entire attorney-client relationship online, Lawbooth will decrease inefficiencies in the legal industry and increase access to legal services for the underserved.  Very cool and relevant idea … and if you want to see Lawbooth in action go to: https://lawbooth.com/.

But how does an innovator like Lawbooth get traction and sound advice to move forward with a brilliant idea?

One way is to attend an IBM SmartCamps where startups can get mentoring and insight to drive growth and innovation.  IBM SmartCamp teamed with LAUNCH Co. and angel investor Jason Calacanis to provide a jump-start for startups. There are SmartCamps held around the world.

This year IBM and Galvanize sponsored the SmartCamp in Boulder where Willy came to accelerate his dream for Lawbooth.  And I was lucky to be one of the mentors to work with them on their business and technical approach.

During the SmartCamp, IBM and Galvanize worked with the selected start-ups including Lawbooth, focusing on three questions:

  • What have are you doing/what have you done?
  • Where are the gaps in your approach – e.g. business/technical/etc?
  • How can we help you in the success of your business?

Following a set of succinct presentations to a team of Venture Capital experts from the Boulder community (sort of a geek-ish Shark Tank), Lawbooth was selected as the finalist from the Boulder SmartCamp.  And they won out over some very cool companies with an impressive business model and go-to-market approach.

The value of SmartCamp can best be summed up by Tyler Cox – co-founder and COO for Lawbooth –  “SmartCamp was awesome. All of the mentors who were there were passionate about trying to find ways to improve or assist our business with IBM’s vast ecosystem.”  Impressive statement indeed!

Lawbooth’s story just gets more interesting.  Following Boulder, Lawbooth attended the LAUNCH Scale event in San Francisco and was selected as one of the finalists at the IBM SmartCamp Pavilion at LAUNCH Festival and now they go on to the final where the winner will be accepted into the LAUNCH Incubator with $25,000 investment prize, and become IBM Global Entrepreneur of the Year.   I will be pulling for Lawbooth – what a great idea!!

So – do you have a cool idea – do you want to make it “real” – then SmartCamp may be the ticket.   We are planning now for the SmartCamp 2016 events around the world.  If you want to make your dream come to life – it might just be the answer.    If you want more information – please visit — http://www.SmartCamp2015.com/.

Reprinted by permission from Thoughts on Cloud.

Written by: Scott Simmons Senior Cloud Advisor, IBM Cloud

Hungarian startup iLex Systems taps SoftLayer private cloud for corporate legal solution

Navigating the corporate legal process can be daunting for even the savviest organizations. Not only does it require coordinating activities between various agencies and an acute understanding of ever-changing regulations and laws, but it can also seem to go on forever. Worse, costs can run sky high.

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So when Budapest-based startup iLex Systems Zrt. introduced its intelligent legal service system on the cloud, companies with legal activities must have breathed a collective sigh of relief.

iLex Systems provides tailored legal process management solutions that help mid-size and large businesses optimize and increase the efficiency of their legal operations. The solution helps manage more than 100 sector-specific tasks for the insurance, healthcare and retail industries and others and the startup even offers a call center staffed with expert legal counsel.

It’s the first company to ever develop such an end-to-end solution, helping “users find their way in the cobwebs of everyday legal matters,” according to the company’s website.

With the prospect of enduring fewer legal headaches, it’s no surprise that companies took sharp interest in the solution, rapidly growing iLex Systems’ customer base. Soon, iLex was looking for a secure, reliable and flexible solution for its IT infrastructure needs.

With help from IBM Hungary, iLex chose a private cloud environment on the SoftLayer platform because, according to its website, “it gives iLex Systems users the highest performing cloud infrastructure available” and, “users get the scalability and flexibility of a public cloud but don’t have to worry about noisy neighbors.”

But legal woes don’t stop at national borders—they’re felt all over the world. This is why IBM Hungary went on to provide the technical support iLex Systems needed to market its unique service internationally.

Today, the iLex legal service system is available to customers worldwide on the IBM Cloud Marketplace, the first product from the central and eastern European regions to be sold through the ecosystem.

Respect between the startup and Big Blue is mutual. Marianna Ritter, chief executive officer (CEO) of iLex Systems says, “IBM’s expertise and cloud technology is guarantee that we can meet the most strict customer demands and hope.”

Ferenc Pongrácz, the IBM business development executive for the region, adds, “IBM Hungary is proud to work together with such an innovative Hungarian company. We hope that we can foster further compelling local solutions on the international markets.”

If that means more groundbreaking solutions and services for the legal sector, then so do attorneys and corporations around the world.

For more information.

Emotion analytics solution delivered on IBM Cloud delivers long-term competitive edge

In Manhattan’s fast-paced, competitive marketplace, Fabler Studio provides video postproduction services to leading agencies and brands who strive to differentiate themselves with award-winning commercial content. When Fabler Studio managing director Nathan Byrne heard about facial imaging technology for capturing emotional responses to video content, he immediately considered its applications for his clients.

“We’re a new company in a very competitive environment in New York City,” said Byrne. “It’s difficult for postproduction companies to set themselves apart, and this technology was an obvious point of differentiation for us, if we could offer it.”

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Fabler Studios signed on for an emotional analytics offering from IBM Business Partner nViso SA, hosted in a flexible SoftLayer cloud environment. “I did my research and looked at the companies offering this type of technology,” Byrne stated. “nViso was definitely the strongest of those competitors and once we agreed to sign up for it, we were up and running in a few minutes.”

Using the high performance cloud-based platform, the studio receives moment-by-moment analyses of emotional responses to video content, captured by nViso’s industry-leading facial imaging technology. “The insights are very actionable,” Byrne said. “We send out tests at each of the three stages in the rough-cut phase, and we get immediate results to integrate into our creative process.” The SoftLayer-enabled solution puts control back in the hands of the creatives.

He continued, “Most people hate advertising, so we want to make it as interesting and compelling as possible, so that they don’t click off it within the first five seconds.”

By delivering immediate, highly accurate consumer feedback, the SoftLayer-hosted analytics solution helps Fabler Studios create more effective video content. nViso’s artificial intelligence provides the foundation towards smarter cognitive systems. Emotional responses captured in real-time enables self-learning systems to leverage individual emotion feedback and relate such patterns to contextual information.

“What was really fascinating is that there’s such a stark difference between the way that males and females react to videos,” Byrne elaborated. “This approach puts everyone on the same team, because there are analytics to back it up. It gives us something to show the client to prove what’s working and what’s not.

“The longer we use this platform, the greater our competitive advantage,” Byrne added. “We’re creating a brain trust of lessons learned, and when the rest of the industry starts to use this technology, we’ll still be two or three years ahead.”

The nViso solution provides believable measures of effectiveness based on the direct feedback from the hearts of consumers. This supports a more creative response to client demands for ROI and helps clients understand what kinds of concepts, messages, and imagery will create the most effective communications earlier in the creative process.

“Traditional testing is very expensive, and this solution is cost-efficient out of the gate,” concluded Byrne. “Being able to do something new and innovative so cost-effectively is a great thing for us.”

For more information about this story, read the SoftLayer case study here and the nViso-Fabler Studios success story here.

Reprinted by permission from Thoughts on Cloud.

The picture-perfect solution for German startup pixx.io: SoftLayer technology

When it comes to managing photos and other digital assets, businesses are likely to require more advanced features than consumers, like enterprise-grade security, batch bulk processing and searchability along with the ability to support a vast range of users.

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Filling this need is pixx.io GmbH, a startup in Bavaria, Germany, that’s developed a professional image and media management software solution designed to help small and midsize companies collect, share, and manage photos, graphics, videos and other digital media with customers, business partners and remote workers.

Today, the pixx.io solution relies on a hybrid infrastructure that stores data both on internal customer servers and in a virtual server environment in the SoftLayer Frankfurt data center. But it wasn’t always that way.

Company cofounder, Andreas Gölkel, recalls, “At first, for test purposes, we were hosting the solution on our own servers but knew that it would be simply impossible for us to scale up quickly and easily when we went into production.”

With the prospect of thousands of customers soon accessing the system, pixx.io went looking for a cloud provider. The founders were talking with some of the big players in the market when they met a member of the SoftLayer team.

Turns out that German businesses like to keep their data close at hand.

Gölkel explains, “German customers are a little afraid to give out their data on servers that are not in Germany or in the EU. That’s sometimes a problem, especially with corporate customers. This was one of the reasons why we chose IBM and SoftLayer because we have the guarantee that all customer data is stored only in the new Frankfurt data center.”

Other reasons for choosing SoftLayer include the platform’s scalability, speed and professional support, key when provisioning one of the first hybrid cloud infrastructures in Germany. Gölkel adds, “With SoftLayer we can scale up easily and fast. And due to the really good support, we saved a lot of time. As a startup, every hour that you can use for doing other stuff is worth a lot of money.”

Currently the startup provisions a virtual server infrastructure, but will also provide bare metal solutions for customers who want a dedicated environment. “It’s interesting to offer various possibilities to the customer,” says the cofounder, “like different storage types and the possibility to synchronize servers worldwide. This is really good in our sales talks and makes an impression on our customers, especially potential customers.”

One last factor that contributed to the startup’s decision to go with SoftLayer technology–less tangilbe than servers and data centers: the IBM brand.

Gölkel concludes, “The name IBM is really well known, especially in the small to medium enterprises we are targeting. If they hear it’s an IBM cloud, they feel better about putting data in the cloud. Like one of the IT guys said, nobody has ever been fired for buying IBM products.”

To learn more, read the IBM case study.

Reprinted by permission from Thoughts on Cloud.

The contextual search tool your business can’t afford to be without

When it comes to finding a quick fact online, a Google search will do.

But users interested in the moment-to-moment evolution of information—think brand monitoring, business intelligence or social research—require a more sophisticated search mechanism.

Darwin Ecosystem develops solutions that go well beyond the scope of standard search tools to deliver meaningful, contextual insight from vast amounts of unstructured data.Darwin.png

For online searches, the company designed Darwin Awareness Optimizer (DAO), a service that scans the web in real time for the most recent information on a given topic, revealing key emerging and changing themes.

“Instead of spending hours reading hundreds of blogs, articles and tweets and just hoping that you’ve covered it all, we can give you a digest that summarizes everything you need to know in seconds,” says Thierry Hubert, Darwin Ecosystem Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“Is that a service that any business can afford to be without?”

To extend the DAO service and other products to a broad commercial audience, Darwin Ecosystem required cloud infrastructure capable of supporting its data-intensive offerings. Additionally, the company sought highly scalable cloud technology to support business growth as consumer demand increased and to enable quick, efficient solution deployment.

Migrating its workloads to a dedicated SoftLayer hybrid infrastructure that combines virtual resources with high-performance bare metal servers, Darwin Ecosystem established the powerful, flexible hosting platform its offerings require.

“SoftLayer gives us seamless provisioning and reliable software as a service [SaaS] capabilities, and it helps us rapidly roll out private instances of our services when clients need them,” says Hubert.

“But above all, the ability to support our new API [application programming interface] has had a genuinely transformative impact on our business strategy and our ability to grow our services.”

With its KeywordMeme API offering, Darwin Ecosystem extends its contextual analytics capabilities to developers and data scientists, providing a service that ingests data and reveals patterns unfolding over time.  The use of InfoSphere Streams is also essential to its cognitive computing for the construct of the API results, and its multi-faceted neural network of synthesized and evolving context — a key ingredient to support the learning system capability and pattern detection rules to create emergence alerts.

Supported by scalable SoftLayer hosting technology, Darwin Ecosystem plans to continue developing its SaaS portfolio. The company’s Projected Personality Interpreter service will use linguistic analytics to assess written text from a user’s email, text messages, tweets, forum posts and more to infer personality traits.

Read an IBM case study to learn more about how Darwin Ecosystem teamed with IBM to launch its offerings in a SoftLayer cloud environment.

Reprinted by permission from Thoughts on Cloud.

Win a Beacon Award for Being the Best New Application on IBM Cloud From an Entrepreneur

The Beacon Awards are IBM’s most prestigious Business Partner awards recognizing innovation and technical excellence. Winning a Beacon Award not only puts your firm in the spotlight, but on a path to greater opportunity.  This year, there are more than twenty-four awards recognizing achievement across a wide-range of solution areas, including: Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social and Security. We are excited that for the first time, this year, we have an award developed specifically to recognize our innovative cloud startups, The Best New Application on IBM Cloud from an Entrepreneur.

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To Be Considered for this Award, Follow These Steps:
1.  Make sure you are a member of IBM PartnerWorld, if you are not already a member, it is free to join, click here.

2.  Submit your nomination form for your chosen award, click here.   

3.  Submit a client reference to go with your award.
  You will have the opportunity to submit your reference when accessing the Beacon Award nomination page.

Click here to learn more about these four steps to success.

Winners will be recognized at the PartnerWorld Leadership Conference (PWLC) in Orlando, February 15-18, 2016 and will receive (1) complimentary registration and hotel accommodations. Winning firms will also receive a number of other key benefits, including: press release support, broad promotion at PWLC, promotion on the PartnerWorld website, a Beacon Award mark and a custom video.


If you have any questions about the nomination process you can email: sharichiara@us.ibm.com, who is assigned to help our IBM startups, or beacons@us.ibm.com, for overall program questions.

The deadline to submit nominations for the 2016 Beacon Awards is Friday, November 20, 2015 @ 5:00 p.m. EST.  I would encourage you to take the time to submit a nomination for your most innovative solution of 2015

Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your most innovative solution to IBM Senior Leadership, as well as our channel Ecosystem.  


Useful Links

Zaahah: Engaging Family and Community in Education Through a New Kind of Social Network

James Sisneros, founder of Zaahah, is ready to help schools manage life after the bell. His uniform social networking platform called Zaahah supports community engagement through a K-12 social networking platform designed to help build community, manage extracurricular activities and enable safe online discovery.

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“I am excited about partnering with IBM through the Global Entrepreneur Program because IBM is such a powerful brand. Together we can improve education through parent and student involvement,” said James.

James developed Zaahah to fill a need in the education system. Schools currently need a way to connect and benefit all stakeholders in education.

Zaahah is great for student, parent and alumni involvement. It’s designed to help schools manage extracurricular activities, share non-academic information with parents, alumni and the community and create a school-wide platform for engagement and involvement.

Zaahah allows an incoming freshman to meet his classmates before he even begins his first day of high school. He can then interact with them throughout his high school career and his group becomes an alumni group upon graduation. Throughout high school he can safely explore interests and connect with other student who share that interest.

Zaahah allows users to create clubs for any type of school or student activity, whether sports, interests, or leadership. It blocks adult – student interaction and is considered one of the safest social networks for kids. Zaahah is free for schools and education associations. In fact, James has plans for Zaahah to generate revenue for schools.

Zaahah is currently being used by in Pennsylvania, Florida and California.

Follow the Zaahah story, visit: www.zaahah.com