Israel’s Going Mobile
With a tiny local market, Israeli startups in particular have no choice but to think globally from day one. For them, it was never about trying to figure out what kind of technology will suit the local population, it is about dreaming up technology with a global appeal. As Israeli crowdfunding expert Jon Medved said, “Our companies either go global or they go nowhere”.
That is why at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona – the world’s largest mobile technology event – the Israel Pavilion is set to be the largest national exhibition area of all, with some 100 Israeli telecom and mobile app companies showing off their innovations – a high percentage of the 1,700 companies from around the world at MWC.
And Israel’s presence at MWC is not only measured in numbers. Last year, two Israeli companies won prestigious Global Mobile Awards given out annually at the show.
CamMe was awarded Most Innovative Mobile App. Using gesture technology, users can set up their mobile phone up to 16 feet away and activate their camera by making a fist –enabling them to take a photo of anything, including themselves.
According to judges, CamMe is “… an app that changes the way we take pictures forever. Utilizing clever hand gestures, this cool and ingenious app is for the new age of the selfie”.
Also scooping up an award was Israeli startup Wibbitz, which won the Best Mobile Publishing Product or Service award. Wibbitz offers a free app that lets users automatically convert news stories into videos. An automated voice reads out a news story accompanied by related photos, videos, and infographics.
The MWC judges commended Wibbitz, saying, “The Wibbitz technology can automatically turn long text articles into short video summaries in just a few seconds. This service has successfully read and met the needs of today’s time-poor consumer”.
Several of the Israeli companies exhibiting at MWC this time around are prime examples of the way a global outlook can help startups dream big and scale up accordingly:
Lexifone is a company whose entire DNA is predicated on making our global village even smaller. Ever thought of communicating in your own language with Chinese business partners who speak nothing but Mandarin? Lexifone has developed a fully automated instant phone interpreter that makes it possible for you to speak on the phone to people around the world and receive instantaneous translation on both ends. The cutting-edge technology allows people to communicate in their native tongue with incredible simplicity, without getting lost in translation.
Kaltura believes that since we’re living in a video generation, the world needs a video platform that is open, flexible and collaborative – a Wikipedia of sorts, only for videos not words – Wikipedia meets YouTube. Kaltura’s impressive list of customers includes Ivy League universities, Hollywood studios and top-tier enterprise like Philips, Intel, SAP, Band of America and AT&T.
Magisto is another company in the video sector with a global focus, but for the end user. Magisto gives both iPhone and Android users the tools to turn everyday pictures and videos into beautiful, colorful edited home movies – music included. Magisto understands that the universal need to tell our own stories is one of the reasons that the personal video sector is growing at a dizzying pace, with, for example, 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. But since we’re not all professional video editors, Magisto’s free application does the hard work by automatically editing the videos and creating high quality, tagable, shareable movies.
With all the talking we do on our mobile phones- not to mention texting, filming, reading, shopping, etc.- the threat from radiation is becomes increasingly dangerous. Israeli startup Tawkon created an app that measures the radiation coming from your smartphone and then gives you advice on how to diminish it. That’s an app everyone would be wise to download.
That’s just a taste of some of the Israeli startups which have made a name for themselves by looking at the big picture from day one. You can read more about the many companies being featured at the Israeli Pavilion at MWC 2015 here.