Cloud demos help navigate documents, schedules, and roads

Nestor E. Arellano is a senior writer at You can find him on or via email at [email protected].

Is your Outlook calendar no longer sufficient for keeping your multiple commitments organized? Do you often find yourself double-booked?

Is your Outlook calendar no longer sufficient for keeping your multiple commitments organized? Do you often find yourself double-booked?

Don’t worry, a team of students at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone are working overtime on a solution.

Team Cloud Spiders from DMZ is developing Anachronda, a cloud-based application that enables users to easily manage, plan and organize their time. Cloud Spiders is one of the DMZ’s 2012 projects by 11 teams made up of 40 students were highlighted last Tuesday night at the Cloud Computing Showcase event at the university. The DMZ is a workplace and startup incubator for young entrepreneurs.

Anachronda features an easy-to-use user interface that allows people to see “What and where they should be, or what they should be working at any moment.”

Unlike other online schedule tools, Anachronda is not a static application, according to team members Dylan Robinson, Dominik Wojtkowiak, Matthew Krasucki and Tyler Freedman.

“Anachronda helps you paint a mental picture of your schedules,” said Freedman. The application helps users identify conflicting potential conflicting events. It also has a feature that allows users to prioritize events to prevent dropped or missed meetings.

Krasucki said Anachronda comes with various plugins so that users can factor in information such as weather, time, traffic and mood to the schedule decision making. “In the future, Anachronda will also synchronize with your Google Calendar and Facebook account,” he said.

Look ma, no hands

Team 2 Big 2 Fail, made up of Alex Kolanko, Brent Bushell and Thomas Phillipes, are working with the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) to develop an Android-based assistant for drivers that provide users contextual information such as GPS (global positioning system) location, traffic and road information and weather data.

MTO Driver Assistance is a hands-free tool that facilitates voice commands, text-to-speech, and gesture-based inputs to minimize driver distraction and ensure road safety.

The app collects four pieces of information: longitude, latitude, bearing, and speed. This data is posted to a server and the relevant information is returned as JSON data.

Depending on what data is returned, different activities will become available to the user. Currently, the MTO Driver Assistance provides users with information on: road closures; United States border wait times; location based services (at the Pearson International Aiport area), speech-to-text menu navigation and text-to-speech.

The team is working to add other features such as emergency vehicle warnings and speed-aware features.

Social matchmaking

Could there be a “familiar stranger” in your future?

T9 Labs team members Byron Babcock, Chad Armstrong and Irina Razina define familiar stranger as “someone you see everyday, but never interact with.”

T9 Labs now offers you a chance to get connected with that familiar stranger with the help of the social media-based application.

T9 Lab’s solution works on the premise that people often have trouble initiating conversations with strangers in the real world “yet online they are more willing to engage in discussions with people they have never met.”

The Web application uses Facebook’s “likes” feature to help identify people with whom the user they share a common location and interests. The app then stores a list of familiar strangers and ranks them according to shared characteristics with this user.

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The application is served up as a mobile service so you can use a desktop at home, a laptop, a mobile phone, or tablet.  T9 Labs says users’ privacy is protected as their physical location is only revealed online as they would on Facebook and personal information provided by the service is limited to data that is available publicly on Facebook.

Of course the user still needs to carryout that crucial step of initiating communication.

Shopping app helps customers and attendant

Here’s something we’re all probably familiar with. You’re at a store and need some help, but there is not salesperson nearby. This annoying circumstance for the shopper could lead to annoyance which could mean lost sales for the store.

Team Energized is working with Canadian Tire and SportsChek to develop and app that helps both shoppers and store employees.

Users that have their mobile phones registered with the system get messages with flyers from the store. The app also displays the nearest store to their user’s location.

At the store, the user’s phone can be used to scan QR codes on products to obtain more information about that product. Scanning the same QR code, the user can alert a sales associate that they need some help.

Once the QR code is scanned, the user’s phone is placed in cue for the attendant associated with the location or product. The attendant can locate the customer using a mobile device also linked to the app.

The attendant’s mobile device will also provide additional information such as product availability.

Securing and sharing documents

You’re travelling away from the head office on a business trip. You want to make sure your team finished work on that update to the critical client report which you have to present in the next hour.

Linker from Advanced Software Tech Inc., may just be the mobile app you need. The team, made up of students Takayuki Marui, Steven D’Costa and Abhishek Sukhaida, is working on an app which links physical documents to virtual documents in cloud storage.

In order to use this application, users must be able to access to Internet and also have Android phone, equipped with auto-focus camera and NFC reader.

The application can use either QR codes or Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to be used as security features associated with specific documents. When a Link-tagged document is sent their mobile devices, people using authenticated Android-powered smartphones signed up with the service can open document.

The application also lets users track activities and histories link to each uploaded document. That means they can find out when were changes to the document made and by whom.

Nestor ArellanoNestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.

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