The MobileDevNJ meetup group held its bimonthly event in combination with the Jet Technology group on May 11 in Hoboken. The meeting drew nearly 150 developers and others to Jet Technology’s headquarters.
There were three speakers. First, Sean Henriques, senior mobile app developer at Verizon, talked about the company’s new Cloud Storage API service. Next, Adam J. Michalski, growth partner at Branch Metrics (hq Palo Alto, Calif.), presented the company’s “deep linking” and other services for apps and websites. Lastly, Debbie Spina Piperno discussed her app, VOOM Carpool for Kids, which enables parents to coordinate safe carpools for their children.
According to Henriques, Verizon has been offering a free personal-cloud service similar to Dropbox to its customers since 2013. Verizon also offers APIs that enable developers to interface their apps with the users’ content stored by this service. These APIs are preloaded onto Verizon phones, making it easy for apps using these APIs to work on the phones.
A big plus for these APIs is that they don’t require authentication for access by Verizon customers. Verizon calls this “frictionless authentication” and asserts that this increases the use of apps, as many users drop off at the authentication point.
Henriques pointed out that developers have access to a large customer base with lots of content in their personal clouds. Verizon Cloud’s storage service also has some nice security features. For instance, “OAuth” is used for identification, authentication and verification. Content is encrypted for users, who must grant the apps access to their content; users can deallocate access if their phones are lost or stolen.
Developers don’t have to be Verizon customers to test their apps with Cloud Storage APIs, said Henriques. Access is provided to registered developers for testing purposes. As this is a relatively new offering, developers who get involved now have a ground floor opportunity, he noted.
VOOM Carpool for Kids
App entrepreneur Debbie Spina Piperno presented her product, VOOM Carpool, which provides a modern solution to the common logistical problem of carpooling children to/from school and activities. A user lists the locations of the child’s school and activities, and then the app can find matches among the user’s friends.
Safety comes first with VOOM Carpool, said Piperno. For example, the app prohibits double buckling (securing two children within one seat belt), and new users are warned against texting notifications of delay while operating the vehicle. Also, invitations and “like-backs” are required before other members of your “circle” can view your children’s names and the times and locations of their activities. All members of a particular circle must have their phone numbers in each other’s contact lists, or invitations and like-backs will not be honored.
The app uses geolocation, so the whereabouts of the driver and children are shown and updated on a real-time basis, thereby indicating the proximity of the driver to the pickup point and child. For easy visual recognition, locations are shown on a road map with flags, cars in green and children waiting for a pickup in red.
Schedules can be synced and shared between drivers, such as a husband and wife, Piperno said. The app is currently available in iOS and will soon be available in Android.
[updated 5/19/16 ES]