Mobile Security and Scalability: The Future (From Chicago)

Tech In Motion Chicago hosted a panel this summer to discuss the future of mobile in regards to security. A recent Cisco study showed that “by the end of 2014, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2018 there will be nearly 1.4 mobile devices per capita.” With all this growth, companies are taking larger strides in determining how to make sure their mobile sites and applications are both secure and scalable in order to meet demand. Tech in Motion members in Chicago got to hear about the topic from some top mobile security experts in their field:

  • Richard Rushing is the Chief Information Security Officer of Motorola Mobility.
  • Andrew Hoog is CEO/co-founder of viaForensics, a mobile security firm whose mission is to advance mobile security worldwide.
  • Amit Shah is the Co-Founder and CTO at Vaporstream.
  • John Storozuk is a Senior Security Product Manager for Product Security at BlackBerry.

To kick the event off, Andrew with viaForensics did a live cell phone hack of an iphone where he was able to go into the phone’s pictures, contacts, emails, etc. He essentially downloaded a corrupt RSS feed and gained access to that secure data through it. According to Andrew “Your phone knows you better than your spouse. How well do you know your phone?” Because of this, it becomes all the more necessary to take precautions to guard yourself against an attack.

photo 5One of the attendees asked our panel the pertinent question of how, as a mobile user, you can best secure your data. Our panelists answered “iOS (iPhone) encrypts by default. Always make sure you use a passcode – this is just a basic precaution. For Android, turn the encryption on in the settings. Only about 1-3% of Android users use this feature.”

photo 1

According to Richard, there is a general lack of concern about security in some sectors. The devices that we use know us so well and if someone is a hacker, it’s a dream that all of the info that we cherish is kept in one spot that goes with you from place to place. Take a look at security – even with PCs – they have had the same problems forever. Mobile has better platforms for security than PCs ever did.

photo 2Another topic that seems to be a buzzword right now in mobile is the idea of BYOD (bring your own device). According to John, BYOD allows users to choose their own device but in order to implement this in the most secure fashion, the best practice is for the corporation to tell its employees which devices are more “secure” and more easily managed by the IT department. Andrew suggested that companies take BYOD one step further and implement BYOS (bring your own security) which allows companies to turn their employees and customers into the first line of defense. He feels that BYOS is a game changer.

photo 10

Amit was able to give his opinion regarding security from a startup perspective. Basically, startups look at the security dilemma as “I need security but I need money.” Most startups aren’t evaluated on security until it’s too late. They have real decisions that have to be made as an app developer, and these decisions need to be made based on a balance between security and functionality. His advice was to be sure to at least protect yourself (your app) against the most basic attacks.

photo 18

After the panel discussion wrapped, there was some great Q&A from our attendees and the event ended with additional networking. Thank you to everyone who came out to our mobile event! Please check out what Tech In Motion was up to in August while exploring the ed tech field in Chicago.

As always, a huge thank you to our sponsors Workbridge AssociatesJobspring PartnersChicago SmallBizDev Hackathon and headline sponsors Microsoft and BlackBerry for their generous financial support. Also thank you to Bonfire Wines who was onsite sampling.

The Future of Mobile in Boston

On Tuesday, June 17th, the Boston chapter of Tech in Motion held an exciting tech talk that was all about mobile at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. The panel included some great mobile representatives from the Boston community, including Yoni Samlan, Head of Mobile at LevelUp, Dan Bricklin, Chief Technology Officer at Alpha Software, Greg Raiz, Founder and CEO of Raizlabs and Manny Elawar, a BlackBerry Developer Evangelist.

KH9A8662

The evening started with some food and networking before the panel convened to to discuss the topic at hand. To kick it off, the moderator Mark Eisenberg faced the panelists with the simple, but fitting question – where does the panel see the future of mobile going?

KH9A8633a

The entire panel was in agreement that mobile phones are everywhere and they have become a common part of the average person’s everyday life. To illustrate the impact of mobile tech, Greg prompted the audience to raise their hands if they had a smart phone – and almost everyone had a hand in the air. Greg also mentioned how if you have a great idea, mobile apps make it easier to reach an entire population. Yoni spoke about being excited about wearable technology, predicting that they will seem as normal as a smart phone in the upcoming years.

From there, our moderator dove into other topics. There was the popular question of bringing your own device to work as opposed to having one supplied by the company. Many of the panel agreed that as smartphones advance, people would prefer to work on their own device due to the comfort and convenience of it being their own, personal device.  However, there is also the complication of security when dealing with high profile companies and projects.

Greg pulled from his own personal experience to say that “it’s important that my employers have the devices that they need in order to get their jobs done; [we want] to empower them to have the choice on what device they use”.

KH9A8668

Our panel then went into the discussion of creating mobile apps across various platforms; with the emergence of not only smartphones, but tablets as well. Several developers have to think of ways for the apps that they are creating to be supportive over all kinds of devices. Dan Bricklin spoke highly of using HTML5 to create apps.

“If you try to program an iOS without HTML5, you have to be a really good iOS developer,” Dan said. “It’s really good at a lot of business stuff, so you can build for a lot of different platforms.”

“For every enterprise you run into, you have a different legacy system and you have to put all the pieces together, which is the hardest part,” Manny chimed in. “So when we have a solution that allows developers to bring everything together, that is a great thing.”

Things got a little heated, however, when Greg wanted to mention that HTML5 isn’t the only way to go when creating applications. It is simply up to the reference of the developer.

KH9A8694

At the end of the discussion, Manny reflected again on how he feels mobile is going to be shaped.

“Everything is going to be connected, and there is going to be a new definition of mobile,” Manny commented.

Mobile will be defined differently in the sense that phones will still be the most important part – but new technological advances will change the way that we connect to stationary objects that we use every day. They are what will help redefine mobile. Manny gave an example that he hopes one day when he can get into a car, connect his phone, be able to adjust things like his radio preferences or whether he wants the windows open, all based on the information given from his mobile device.

Following the panel discussion, the speakers took questions from the audience.  Inspired by what had been discussed, the audience came up with some amazing questions that sparked further conversation between the panelists. Once the official panel discussion concluded, a large number of audience members pushed their way to the front of the room to see if they could get one-on-one time with our speakers. This panel definitely left the audience thinking about the future.

KH9A8688

We want to send out a big thank you to all of our speakers for their participation, Mark for moderating, the NERD Center for hosting us, and our monthly sponsors Workbridge Associates and Jobspring Partners as well as Fisku and Blackberry. Please join Tech in Motion: Boston to hear about our upcoming events!

The Future of Mobile (Tech in Motion LA)

Tech In Motion LA recently hosted the Future of Mobile Panel Discussion, which was graciously sponsored by BlackBerry. The panel featured senior developers from Urbanspoon, Beats by Dre, Microsoft and BlackBerry. With the mobile market at an all-time high, the panelists dug into the state of mobile today and talked about what the future may hold.

The event took place at Loyola Marymount University – not too far off from the Los Angeles tech hub, “Silicon Beach.” Before the panel began, we polled a few guests to see what they are most excited to see in mobile’s future. This is what they had to say:

“I’m excited to see advances in the visual design of mobile applications.”

jesse

 – Jesse Brownstein

“I’m interested to see how mobile apps will have the ability to control things around us. Like remotely starting your car, turning on lights in your house, etc.”

jens

 – Jens Zalzala

“I’m really into fashion and technology, so I can’t wait to see the next big thing in fashion/clothing related apps!”

hillary

– Hillary Creech

All in all, the event was a hit with the crowd of techies, entrepreneurs and mobile tech enthusiasts. The lively discussion ranged from mobile security to cross platform development and kept the attendees attentive throughout the night. The audience Q&A that followed the formal discussion was a great opportunity for developers and entrepreneurs alike to share their ideas, concerns, and questions with some innovative industry leaders.

To get invited to Tech in Motion LA’s next event, don’t forget to join the meetup group. Thanks again to our sponsors: BlackBerry, Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates.

Tech Talk with Lose It!

This past spring, the Boston chapter of Tech in Motion hosted an exciting evening of demos and drinks based around green and health tech startups, including Lose It!, a weight loss application. Tech in Motion Boston took the time to sit down with Community Manager Whitney Klinkner of Lose It! to get the inside scoop on her company and the startup scene in Boston.

loseit3

Q: First off, can you give us a quick introduction to “Lose It!”?

Lose It! is a program that helps folks lose weight by managing their calories in and calories out- a pretty basic concept. We’ve taken it to the next level by making the calorie counting process as painless as possible. The app was started out as a way to make calorie counting easier (as opposed to the old fashioned way of pen and paper!). Then it got picked up for an Apple commercial back in 2008 which helped skyrocket the app and the company. We started off in Copley Square, but made the move to the seaport in 2012. When we moved there, we had about 5 people, and now we are at 12. We have more than doubled our size which is pretty exciting.

We just hit 32 million pounds lost with the app and right now we have about 19 million users; there are about a million people on average who are using the app regularly, which is great. We are consistently in the top 5 for the health and fitness store on iTunes.

Q: With over 19 million users and a team of only 12 people, did you guys find yourselves struggling to keep up with the demand of the app?

It’s actually not as hard as it might seem with our smaller team. When we first started out, the main idea was to get as many things done as soon as you could. Now with a bigger team, we are able to prioritize what needs to get done and have better control so things don’t fall through the cracks. With more people too we are able to give our users more of what they want; one big thing our users have loved is integrating our app with other devices like Fitbit and Nike Fuelband. Our CEO has always believed that a small group of hard working people can do extraordinary things – so that’s been our philosophy from day one. We are hiring a few more people and are excited to grow and accomplish even more!

Q: Just as a startup in general, were there things you found difficult?

One of the great things about Lose It! is that so many have heard about it through word of mouth. Our user growth has been huge, but managing the of the demands of all these people has been a bit of a challenge. We get hundreds of emails from users each week with items they’d like to see added to Lose It!; managing those expectations has been a bit difficult from where I sit. We’d love to implement everything under the sun to help folks to achieve their goals, but it’s just not feasible. We continue to grow and sustain the program in the way that we think makes sense while incorporating feedback from users to shape new features.

Q: Boston is becoming a great place for startups lately, so how do you like the idea of being a Boston startup?

I think being a startup in Boston is awesome. There are so many smart people here and lots of new graduates with all of these great ideas. Unfortunately a lot of these guys and girls go to the west coast after they graduate. I think we need to make the up and coming graduates more aware of all the cool things happening in the Boston start up scene so we can keep more or this new talent local. I know #DownloadBoston has been doing a great job of trying to let people know about local apps and having the city of Boston celebrate them, which I’d really like to see more of. We should feel proud the start up culture here in Boston.

Q: So you guys did a demo with Tech in Motion, do you see an importance to a meet up group like Tech in Motion for startups?

loseit

One of our goals for this year was to go out for more community events like Tech in Motion. It’s a great way to get our name out there, and to meet new people in the Boston startup community. A lot of people didn’t realize we were here in Boston and so the exposure is great for us as a company. It’s also great to learn about other startups in the area and see what they are doing. We are all in the same boat trying to grow our companies. It’s great to make connections and help each other out when it makes sense.

Q: Final Question: can you leave some words of wisdom for those wanting to get into a startup?

I think that if you want to join a startup, you have to be prepared to work very hard and never have the attitude of “that’s not my job.” In my experience, you have to wear a lot of different hats, especially in the very early stages. No day is ever the same and you get a lot of exposure to parts of a business you’d never imagine. Once the company grows you can figure out which areas you really enjoy and sort of steer yourself in that direction, which I think is something you might not get if you started in a big company. I would recommend a start up to anyone who likes a challenge and and does not mind working hard.

Recap: Mobile Gaming with Android and iOS

It was a chilly Thursday night in September, but the audience of Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley kept cozy and warm thanks to the wonderful heaters at The Downtown Brit. Donning their favorite gaming clothing, people came from all over the Bay Area to discuss mobile gaming for Android and iOS.

BVDgdXrCEAEiwA3

Our first speaker of the night was Kejun, senior designer from NVIDIA. There, she works on the SHEILD, a brand new, hand-held, android gaming device that can be used to stream games to and from TVs. She took the topic to heart, “What is the future to mobile gaming?” Her presentation started off as an explanation on her experience with the design process. What worked verses what didn’t work, and what that had meant to her. She went on to explain the features of the SHEILD. Kejun ended her presentation on what she believed to be mobile gaming’s future. No, they will not take over counsel gaming, but she would like to see games be able to stream and cross traditional platforms.

BVDd6JVCcAA2RXv

With the emphasis of positive social impact, Josh, the CEO of Raindrop Games created Arrival: Village Kaiske for iOS. Josh started with a small team of 5, which then downsized to 3 with a handful of come-and-go internships. But he did it, and with no funding, Josh released his strategy game Arrival: Village Kaiske in 2009. He drove home the importance of getting actual play testing done before your game is released. “What may make sense for you might not make sense to another person.”

BVDmFiOCIAAQ7rv

It was a great event and we appreciate everyone who came out to listen to our awesome presenters! Don’t miss out on Silicon Valley’s next event – join the group!