“MindTrek is the leading Nordic digital media and business conference, focusing on social media & Web 2.0. At MindTrek you will see the newest trends, innovations, revolutionary business phenomena and hear insights from the most high‐spirited visionaries. Last year the conference gathered together around 800 people from 30 countries, with around 100 international visitors. The conference brings together entrepreneurs, researchers and practitioners from diverse disciplines that are involved in the development of media in various fields, ranging from sociology and economy, to technology.

This year the MindTrek was held in Tampere, Finland. Tampere. Tampare is a small cozy city with a population of about 220,000 located between two lakes in the South of Finland. The conference was held at the Scandic Rosendahl is by the lake Pyhäjärvi, about 10 minutes drive from the city center.

Nokia UbiMedia MindTrek Awards Nokia UbiMedia MindTrek Awards, is a competition sponsored by Nokia in search of projects, products or services that seek to broaden our understanding of how ubiquitous media will influence out future. This year the competition was held for the 4th time and attracted 20 entrants. Out of the entrants 3 projects were selected as finalists who would be awarded a total sum of EUR 7000. AmbiKraf from the Keio‐NUS CUTE Center was given an honorable mention alongside iBall from Hasselt University/EDM in Belgium. As the press release read “The jury would like to express their recognition for two distinct projects which did not make the top three, but definitely deserve an honorable mention. The motion sensitive“iBall”, invented by Hasselt University / EDM in Belgium, enhances traditional ball games with mobile gaming features. The AmbiKraf project from Keio‐NUS CUTE Center, National University of Singapore, has invented a technology to render smooth animations on textiles using thermo chromic ink. Both projects extend ubiquitous media into new areas of application in convincing ways.

The three finalists were, Energy Life: Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT , Aalto University , University of Helsinki. Nobody would argue against a sensible usage of energy, but when it comes to tracking down energy leaks in your household few people take practical action. Energy Life tackles this challenge through comfort and playfulness. Sensors report the energy consumption of household devices and would alert you if you left your fridge door open when leaving home. In addition, an attractive gameplay sharpens your awareness by setting increasingly challenging saving goals. This project connects ubiquitous media with the hot topic of smart energy networks. The jury concordantly appreciates its immediate practical value as well as its ambitious objective.

myGreenspace eHealth Group RWTH Aachen, Kai Kasugai und Felix Heidrich Calling myGreenspace mere virtual wallpaper does not quite get the point. It is the content and the target group that make it an outstanding project. An interactive forest scene brings the green of nature back to elderly people who can hardly leave their home in urban environments. Personal and social data can be rendered into the virtual forest landscape as ambient information in a friendly and unobtrusive way.

Perception Rug The Perception Rug by Department Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology Staying in "touch" can be taken literally with the Perception Rug. It is a playful, beautiful and, not to mention, irresistibly fluffy interface for human‐computer interaction. The rug senses touches and strokes and can give a visual feedback through light emitting fibres woven into the surface. Two rugs can be synchronized remotely, allowing sharing of an ambient feeling of presence. It stands out for its beauty and the new creative applications it opens to ubimedia developers. The winners were as follows

  • 1st Place : myGreenspace
  • 2nd Pace: Energy life
  • 3rd Place: Perception Rug

While all the awards were announced during the first day of the conference, the awards were handed over in a more relaxed fashion at an official party with free drinks held a pub named “Bricks”.. Other works

Dave Nielsen’s cloud computing

The conference also featured some other interesting talks and projects. One of the talks that I enjoyed was Dave Nielsen’s talk on cloud computing. He explained how cloud computing could give access to computer power of 100’s or 1000’s of server power to small companies, i.e. give smaller companies access to computer power of Google, etc. Through cloud computing you could write some code that could scale to a huge size. Through a skit he performed himself, he also explained how cloud computing could be tolerant to failure of servers unlike in a smaller scale. In addition to all the advantages he also mentioned that cloud computing is commonly a commodity service with no good customer service!

MindTrek launchpad competition

MindTrek launchpad competition is a competition that let participants pitch their business ideas/products in front of a jury of industry journalists, venture capitalists, bloggers, web and mobile savvies and innovators! Here, out of many entrants, 6 finalists were given 6 minutes each to pitch their products/ideas, business plans, results, profits, etc. to the jury. The 6 finalists were as follows

Cognitive Maps Ltd – Hitlantis : Hitlantis is a community of music makers and the people who want to discover fresh music. The user interface shows artists by genres and arranges artists by the current popularity, “hotness”, which increases according to the activity of the community. Hitlantis offers music lovers a meaningful way to find and connect with similar‐minded people.

Everyplay Oy – Applifier : Applifier is the pioneer of cross‐promotion on Facebook, a model that lets social games and applications acquire users without paying for them. Applifier solves the acute problem of how to grow more cost effectively and faster than before.

GigsWiz – Live music analytics and ticketing platform : GigsWiz helps promoters sell more tickets faster by engaging the bands in the ticket sales and marketing. GigsWiz shares a percentage of the ticket booking fee with the artists, who at the same time help sell and promote tickets via social platforms and email lists.

Laurea University of Applied Sciences – : claims to be “the world’s leading publicly distributed rendering service”: a platform for achieving distributed rendering over the Internet. It is a completely free service that enables its users to render their animations or stills by using the computing power of volunteers from around the world.

Starduck Studios Oy – Intoloop : Intoloop is a web and mobile service where people can share their passions and capture their memories in a non‐fragmented manner. Intoloop links friends together around their interests, in one service enabling users to see the big picture.

Vuole Oy – Savalanche Webstore Platform : Savalanche is a new kind of sales and marketing channel and it fits inside your Facebook profile, blog or discussion forum. Digitally active consumers can take part in promoting products they respect, by commenting on, discussing and liking them while simultaneously cashing in on the goods’ Internet publicity.

  • Winner : Applifier (EUR 15,000 and business services from the organizers)
  • Most innovative product : Hitlantis (EUR 4,000)
  • Most favorite social networking service : Intoloop (EUR 1,000)