It doesn’t matter in what hall of Moscone Center Macworld / iWorld is held, It doesn’t matter when it starts and ends or whether it’s big or small, there are always some exhibitors and products that catch us off guard. For the most part, we know what’s in store for us from conversations with PR reps and from early press releases, but we can always count on a few surprising finds each year. At Macworld / iWorld 2014 that included an open source ERP, a photo recognition app, and an infra-red camera for your iPhone.
David Temple: xTuple open source ERP
For the cognoscenti, what follows will make sense. For the casual reader, this will be rather business nerdy—you have been warned.
xTuple is an open source ERP or Enterprise Resource Program. If you work on a computer in an office setting, an ERP is very often referred to as simply “the system” and is the program which runs every aspect of a company’s operation from warehousing to order entry to accounting, to production, etc. While I was not surprised to find some accounting software, finding two full ERP packages at the same show was, well, surprising. xTuple is taking this particular honor due to a few factors. First is the scope of function. The following modules are all available: AP, AR, CRM, Distribution, General Ledger, Inventory, Manufacturing, Purchasing, Sales, and Reports (with plenty of details in each module). Second, the software is capable of handling well over 100 users, so as your company grows your ERP will still be there with you. Lastly, xTuple is open source, so custom development is possible for those things not already covered in the extensive options listing in the program.
The program interface is user friendly and capable of executing a desired task as well as gathering information in either a formal or ad hoc reporting format. As most ERP users know, getting the information in a format you can use is a large part of the battle, and xTuple makes it easy to specify what information you really want.
If that isn’t enough for you, check out xTuple on their website. They even offer a free trial so you can get first hand experience with the program before taking the plunge.
Aaron Kraus: ReKoMe visual photo recognition
The ReKoMe app, currently in beta, promises to make auto recognition of your photos quick and simple. Unlike other apps which focus solely on facial recognition, ReKoMe’s photo recognition technology identifies characteristics of your photos to determine what’s contained in them. For example, it can look at a picture of a beach and recognize concepts from the pictures, such as cloud, beach, and shore. The app then sorts and lets you find pictures by these tags; instead of scrolling through your photos desperately looking for those pictures from your Caribbean vacation, just search for “beach” and you can see everything from your tropical getaway!
Kirk Hiner: Flir One thermal imaging for iPhone
You expect to find many things when visiting Macworld / iWorld. You don’t expect to find a device that detects heat signatures. Flir One is an iPhone 5/5s case that also serves as a thermal imaging device, allowing you detect heat energy that is otherwise invisible to the eye (think Predator, when were inside its head).
I’ll let Flir explain it:
FLIR ONE™ is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image on your phone screen and perform temperature calculations. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be very precisely measured, allowing you to use the FLIR ONE™ in a variety of practical and fun ways by revealing a thermal world not visible to the unaided eye.
In other words, you can detect movement that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to see. The uses for this can be quite practical, even around the home. For example, you can use Flir One to detect where cold air is getting into your house, or maybe just to find where your dog may have relieved himself on your carpet. That, and it just looks super cool.
The Flir One has its own camera, of course, that will connect to an iOS app for functionality, and a developer kit is available for those who would like to use the Flir hardware for their own apps.