Martín Garrido Wins Big at Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño with Por Mi Barrio App!

For a Los Angeles development shop to succeed, as in be the best, every person on that team has to be a rockstar.  That’s what Neon Roots is – a collection of rockstars.  We’re passionate about what we do and that spirit goes beyond the office.  When our team members aren’t on the clock, they’re taking on personal projects where their creativity is always being challenged… and many times rewarded.

Our designer Martín Garrido won multiple prizes at the Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño.  To learn more about this amazing accomplishment, he was interviewed by our frontend developer and mad butcher Damian Cardoza.

Martín’s application Por Mi Barrio won in both the categories of Design of Services and Design & Innovation.  According to Martín, “The application works in connection to the internal government system of city reports like landfills, broken streets, sanitation, etc. I did the app with the DataUY Team who work with open data trying to improve citizen life.”

The app allows for a direct connection between citizens in Montevideo and city officials in hopes of repairing or cleaning up parts of the city.  Martín continues, “Por Mi Barrio [does] not just receive notifications when the problem is solved but also intermedium statuses like ‘work in progress’ or ‘the date was changed’, etc. We don’t have precedents in the world with platforms like this, connected with Government systems.

The Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño included around 23 Latin American countries as well as Spain and Portugal.  All in all there were nearly 400 projects in all the many categories.  Martín was able to travel to Spain to represent DataUY alongside Daniel Carranza, who is skilled in Open Data and FixMyStreet (the platform where Por Mi Barrio was built).

When asked about traveling, Martín said, “The travel was good, I couldn’t sleep but I didn’t care. The jet lag was a bit annoying at the beginning. We didn’t sleep for 48 hrs (kind of). Something funny about the flight was Daniel wanted the Windows’ side and when we went to our seats we figured it didn’t have windows! The rest of the trip was funny and awesome!

Martín also spoke to a class about the design process in Art School in Spain, Escuela de Arte 10, which was another highlight of trip.  Although according to him neither teaching nor winning took precedent when asked which was a greater moment.  “I don’t have one, just the feeling that all this week was a ‘celebration’ about my professional life in all aspects. Was a big boost to keep pushing hard my work.”

A bit of success is only pushing Martín to do even better in the future.  “I’m good and with a bit of pressure to keep working on the same way + improving day by day. Like I said before, enormous boost! But at the end, I’m still being the same person.

So a big congrats to Martín and his team!  And a special thanks to Damian for asking all the right questions.

Adventures in Casa Los Jazmines: Tales of Neon Roots’ Annual Retreat

Maintaining our position as a top Los Angeles mobile development shop can be really exhausting.  It requires long hours, some sleepless nights, and occasionally skipping the weekend to meet a tight deadline.  But it can’t be all work and no play.  Sometimes we’ve got to step away from the computers and remember that we’re not just a company – we’re a family.  And a family should know how to have a good time.

A “good time” barely scratches the surface.  We had a blast getting together for our annual retreat; the first in beautiful Casa Los Jazmines, Colonia, Uruguay with the entire gang!  We got to meet some new faces and enjoy the amazing hosting of our amazing Chef Tera. He prepared Sushi night where we all made our own cut rolls and hand rolls. And in proper style, we celebrated a classic parrilla, Uruguayan Asado (aka BBQ), as we call it, and invited our new friends, the CodeShaped team, for the last night.

We drank, ate, hacked, told stories, told jokes, came up with new nick names, and did a few roasts and toasts. We had our camera crew, Fito and Maxi, there the whole time to capture every piece of footage they possibly could. Of course we had the drones there as well, but our battery died so we had to rely more on the GoPro’s. Timelapses coming soon!

More importantly, we planned our third chapter of this book, our 3rd year as Neon Roots. Our internal focus, what’s coming up, and changes that are in process to make us better than ever before. We’re always improving and we’ll never stop learning.

In fact, at this latest retreat we learned a few things we weren’t exactly expecting.

  • Omar’s a DJ and expert Mixologist
  • Mojo is the best freestyle dancer, even when his back is injured
  • While we’re all fat from Tera’s cooking, iuval’s been maintaining his 6 pack
  • Floy’s a better driver than Martin.
  • Martin gets more tinder matches in Colonia, Uy!
  • Jun’s a flight risk (*TSA* *cough* *cough*)

It was an incredible time, but we think the pics speak for themselves.

“Top Application Development Companies in the USA” Places Neon Roots at the Top of the Los Angeles List

You gotta love being on top.  We do things a little different at Neon Roots.  We’re not just a development shop; we’re a family.  We work hard, and we’re good at what we do.  That’s why we’re always so thankful to receive a bit of recognition, and that’s exactly what we received in a list of “Top Development Companies in the USA.”

“Top Application Development Companies in the USA” Places Neon Roots at the Top of the Los Angeles List

The article was put together by Ankit Thakor, an expert in SEO and social media marketing, as well as, inbound marketing & app marketing.  His parameters for inclusion on the lists were incredibly tight and included “superiority, quality, reputation, experience, justifiable pricing models, etc.”

Thakor looked at development companies in different states and cities and listed the best of each.  Of course, this would have to include the Top Mobile Application Development Company in Los Angeles.  This list included six major companies like ArcTouch, ISBX, and WeezLabs, Inc, but at the very top of the list in the #1 spot was Neon Roots.

From the article:

1. Neon Roots

Neon Roots is a Los Angeles based leading mobile app development company. The company possesses over 3+ years of experience in providing a wide range of mobile app design and development services. It has successfully delivered over 50+ projects of mobile app. Till today, the company has worked with 40+ members worldwide and adding more.

What Clients Says:

“360Candidate has used Neon Roots’ service for the past year and a half, and we have been extraordinary happy with the results. After a fall out with a technical cofounder and interviewing several shops, I finally met Ben and Drew (and other team members) and we immediately clicked. They quickly grasped the problem 360Candidate was solving and their design and execution on the front- and back-end made everything come to life! - CEO (360Candidate.com )”

Specialties: web development, mobile development, product development, augmented reality

Office : 475 W. Washington Blvd. Venice, 90291 United States

Contact : 1-888-978-6306

 

You can get the full article including lists from New York, Chicago, Philly, and other tech hotspots HERE.  And of course, you can always learn more about our Los Angeles mobile app development shop by visiting our main site at neonroots.com.

Essential Applications: Discussing the App Development Process With the Creators of Glia

As Los Angeles mobile app developers we know that applications aren’t all fun and games.  While many mobile apps are designed to simply entertain (which isn’t exactly a bad thing), some apps strive to make a difference.  Glia is one of those apps.  It levels the playing field between consumers and businesses by giving consumers detailed information about the values held by nearby businesses.  The consumer is empowered to make purchases that are aligned with their own personal values.  Having worked closely with the innovative minds behind Glia, we wanted to get their thoughts on the creative partnership that helped bring Glia to life.

Most entrepreneurs have that ‘ah-ha’ moment, that moment where they realize there is a hole in the marketplace, and they have an idea for a product that could fill it.  CEO Barry Klein tells a great story about that very moment.

“It was an unusually cold morning in San Diego, those are my favorites.  The kind of day that is just perfect for putting on your favorite hoodie sweatshirt (emblazoned with the Brandeis logo of course), worn in jeans and sneakers and going to the beach.

I just knew something big was in the offing.  I thought it might be my wife telling me good news on a project she had been working on.  Well, that good news didn’t materialize, but I left the beach with my mind open to new possibilities.

Later that evening I found myself trying to come up with ideas to take her mind off things. We took the path of least resistance – dinner out.  After the usual rounds of trying to deflect the decision to my wife and vice versa, we checked out some options on YELP and various blogs showcasing cool new spots.  Sitting there, reading about upscale mac & cheese and craft beer, it dawned on me how little we knew about any of the places where we were about to spend what precious money we had.

It got me thinking… wouldn’t it be great if people could go somewhere that we knew shared OUR values?  Or, how amazing would it be to have a warning alert on my cell telling me to avoid a place that would use the profits generated from my purchase to support something I abhor?

As you can imagine, it became a more interesting and expensive dinner as I churned on this and realized “I’ve got this idea…okay, now what?”

Born from that “ah-ha” moment was Glia.  Glia would have a different approach to the usual user experience.  As we mentioned before there’s often a separation between entertainment and informative apps.  Glia would integrate both.  This integration was incredibly important to the creators of Glia.  Co-founder and Head of Product, Tahlia Sutton, explains.  “We view Glia as the ultimate resource to guide spending towards your values.  The information users provide is very personal, therefore creating an experience that motivates and engages the user in a fun way is essential.  If it’s not simple, then users won’t want to give you information to build a profile.  We tried to take it to the next level by making it fun, too.  The more information you provide us the more valuable Glia can be to you.”

So Glia was born of an innovative idea, approached with an emphasis on user engagement, but the marketplace is still saturated with apps.  It can be hard to cut through the clutter to find an app worth your time like Glia.  The confidence Glia’s creators had in the product is one of the reasons we were so excited to partner with them.  According to Tahlia, “Glia isn’t just an app – it is a data management platform that we will enable a whole world of new and interesting applications to help inform and guide user spending.  Our desire is for Glia to be the lens in which users will see the world and make spending decisions.”

And addressing that partnership, Neon Roots’ product development service Rootstrap is what helped bring Glia to life.  For the creators it was “definitely a valuable experience.”  We have the experience in mobile app development to vet an idea and plot a course to its successful creation.  “Through Rootstrap, we were able to drill into the core experience that we wanted to place in front of users for validation.  NR challenged and helped focus the very experience we have today.  Our initial vision is still strong today however with NR’s help it is now laser sharp,” Tahlia says.

Having worked with Neon Roots and gone through the Rootstrap process, Glia is ready to help users make every consumer choice a powerful statement.  It’s an app that matters.  You can learn more about the app at Glia’s website or you can download it at the iTunes store and let it start helping you make informed decisions today.

Maybe you’re an entrepreneur looking to develop your own app.  Maybe you’ve got that next great idea.  So we’ll leave you with Tahlia’s takeaway from her own experience, and if you have an app idea and want to see it come to life, you can get started with NR and Rootstrap by contacting us anytime.

As a product owner and technologist for many years, it becomes harder and harder to accept the feedback of others.  I have seen many startup successes and failures and use that to fuel the inspiration and path for the products I build.  There is no manual to success.  There is only the willingness to be open and vulnerable with every idea and vision that you have.  If you are not willing to throw every idea whether good or bad on the table for others to comment, then success in innovation cannot be contemplated nevertheless inspired.”

Cutting Education: Discussing Tech’s Role in Education with Samy Kamkar

Our recent collaboration with students in the Digital Storytelling class at USC Annenberg resulted in an augmented reality app that would change the way visitors experience the Los Angele Public Library.  If you haven’t heard about the ARchiveLAPL app yet, then we clearly haven’t been hyping it enough.  Get over to iTunes and check it out.  Working on this app has definitely made us even more aware of the importance of AR and new tech when it comes to education.  We turned to innovative engineer, drone expert, master hacker, and good friend, Samy Kamkar, to get his thoughts on the subject.

Samy has worn as many hats as anyone can in the tech world.  By the age of 17 he’d co-founded a unified communication company that raised over $24 million in private funding called Fonality.  He followed that up with innovations like SkyJack and Evercookie and has played pivotal roles in discovering mobile security flaws and privacy issues within major companies.  We could keep going, but what you really need to know is the guy’s a total badass.  What we wanted to know was what he thought about tech’s place in the future of education.

Augmented Reality: The Cutting Edge of Education

Augmented reality has that special something, that space-age allure that can turn heads toward a subject they might have ignored before.  According to Samy, “AR is pretty interesting to me in regards to education because it’s naturally a cool and intriguing concept. I’m personally a high school dropout and for me to actually spend time in an area means it has to have the right type of sparkle for me to focus my attention, and I’ve noticed almost anyone who looks into a screen to see the real world augmented in a half-real, half-virtual way, gets pretty excited.

That sparkle can go a long way, giving that bored student a reason to perk up.  Samy continues, “Hopefully it will impact learning simply by allowing information to be accessed much quicker and regardless of intent of users, for example learning about something that you wouldn’t necessarily have looked up yourself.

Drones: The New Teacher’s Pet

Samy may be best known for creating SkyJack, a custom drone that could hack nearby parrot drones, giving the SkyJack operator control over them.  Drones aren’t just up Samy’s alley, they’re in his airspace, so we wanted to know if this new tech is being utilized in educational settings.  According to Samy, “Drones are opening up some new areas in regards to autonomy and how we can automate areas of our lives. For one, I see the exploration and mapping that drones are doing to become more mainstream which is simply going to provide people with more up to date information in all sorts of areas that were previously more expensive to reach.

The application in education is practically endless.  Samy continues, “The technology of drones themselves is constantly being developed and as we explore new ways of working with these machines, the fact that we need to continue to build and improve these systems will open up some pretty cool areas in education from physics to sensing and more importantly energy.

Mobile Security: Safety in the Classroom

There’s no question that technology is going to play a huge role in classrooms in the future.  In fact, in a lot of ways it already is.  More mobile devices are being worked into curriculum and students are relying on these devices to not only help them do their schoolwork but to store important information as well.  For us, this raises questions about security especially in light of discoveries that Samy has made himself.  In 2011, Samy discovered that most mobile devices constantly sent GPS coordinates even when turned off.  He’s also discovered major flaws in PHP programming that could have been used to hack major banks and social accounts.

So we wanted to know if he thought student security was a serious issue in the mobile age. “With every advance in technology, there are potential dangers, but I think what’s most exciting is that with the potential dangers that are explored, it simply requires use to produce more advanced technologies in the area of security — an area we haven’t explored as well as we should have,” he says. “We’re constantly learning about systems that have been in place for years that have had lax security simply because no one was looking and as the ability to look, to see, and to explore becomes more available, it will help enlist people to advance the security around areas we clearly weren’t thinking about.

If you want to keep up with Samy’s latest discoveries, innovations, and speaking engagements you can check out his website at http://samy.pl/ and follow him on twitter.  If you want to know more about the latest developments with our Los Angeles mobile development shop you can always follow us on twitter as well.

Photo Credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ervins_strauhmanis/, https://www.flickr.com/photos/sndrv/, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickhubbard/

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