Written by Niharika Naveen
One of the perks of being on the staff of the Gould Standard is getting to attend some of the City’s most exciting tech events: last Friday spent my day at the New School on Fifth Avenue, attending NYC Media lab’s Annual Summit. A public-private partnership launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Columbia University and New York University, the Lab hosts events and seeds projects to foster collaboration across a range of disciplines core to the future of media. The annual summit unfolds over a day of demos, presentations and talks intended to serve as a platform for industry professionals, students, business developers and entrepreneurs to interact with one another.
The projects on display were an eclectic mix of futuristic, inventive and whimsical. One of the demos was an app called NYC Taxi Viz, a data visualization project developed by MBA students at Cornell. It tracks taxi pick up locations and cab availability across Manhattan to show the best location to pick up a taxi depending on the time of the day and day of the week. NYC Taxi Viz is the perfect example of innovation in the existing technology ecosystem: a project that aims to help passengers and drivers as well as logistical services such as Uber and Lyft to increase efficiency with easy to understand data.
The participants pushed the boundaries of digital media: some more examples include a Wearable Sensorial Diary that captures and shares tastes, scents and movements and ShakeHands, an app that allows you to make online social connections simply by shaking hands with one other! NYU was represented at the Media Lab by VIBu: Virtual Teams in International Business, a global online business simulation platform. VIBu joins international students in a shared operations environment; players in small virtual teams work in real time as they collaborate, negotiate and strategize to run their own companies. The VIBu experience is dynamic and therefore unlike other simulations. Every decision has an immediate effect on the market and changes the outcome—making VIBu different every time. It is a unique learning platform that gives students a taste of what it is like to be working in a team across time zones.
This year’s winner, CityBeat, reflected the Summit’s goal of providing a peek into the ideas at the forefront of digital media. CityBeat is a social media tool that uses streams of geo-tagged photos and texts to identify trends and follow the City’s rhythms and happenings, by visualizing real-life experiences as they are shared online. It is a glimpse into the digital-media enabled future – one where our every movement, from a taxi ride to a handshake is part of a thriving online and digital identity.