Event Recap: September 2014 NY Tech Meetup

The NY Tech Meetup celebrated its tenth anniversary Tuesday night with an audience of 800 and a special appearance by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Along with former Mayor Bloomberg’s visit in 2011, this is the second visit by a standing mayor to one of the city’s premier tech events. This month, NY Tech Meetup featured coding-free app creation, customizable product design, mobile payments, a heating detection sensor, and more

Mayor de Blasio used his surprise keynote to announce the creation of a Chief Technology Officer position in New York. The city’s first “tech czar” will be Queens native Minerva Tantoco, formerly of UBS and Merrill Lynch.

The rest of the NY Tech Meetup was populated by demos, precocious members (one of the audience members was eleven!) and the welcome trend of more women involved in tech.

The evening occurred under the shadow of Apple’s massive announcement that afternoon (“this is the second keynote you’ll see today”). Notable demos tonight were:

  • Dashlane, a mobile password/login/payment app that ensures quick and secure checkouts on mobile apps and Safari. It’s a beautifully designed app—users enter their name, shipping, and billing info, and never have to log in again. The recent announcement of Apple Pay will be very interesting for Dashlane; it was the elephant in the room all night.
  • Heat Seek NYC, a de Blasio-approved platform to detect apartment temperatures for heating complaints. Heat Seek explained that of the 200,000 annual heating complaints, many go unresolved due to unreliable data, leading to violations and health issues, disproportionally among low-income residents. Heat Seek NYC aims to fix that: their sensors can be installed cheaply, and will broadcast temperature data to make sure that a heating complaint can be backed up in court. Mayor de Blasio offered them a meeting with the Housing Commission, and the crowd gave them a massive ovation.
  • Bubble, a visual interface for app development in lieu of coding. Powerful and efficient, it includes a simulated front-end and back-end as well as a publishing element. The one troubling aspect is its lack of open source capability, but the functionality was impressive for non-coders.