Isobar Creat 48. Invent Something. Change Everything.

Near Field Communication isn’t “the future” if you can build something awesome right now.

Near Field Communication (NFC) technology will let us make transactions, exchange digital content, and connect electronic devices like never before. Your phone will be your credit card, boarding pass, hotel room key, coupons at the supermarket. You’ll buy only the 3 minutes you need on the parking meter.

It’s an amazing future that can continue to emerge. Or it can bust through the door now, screaming your name for all eternity.

Isobar Create 48 is the first hackathon of its kind to explore the NFC chip inside the Google Nexus S, as well as other potential applications. This is an open invitation to developers and designers to define the future of NFC and find greater uses for this exciting new technology.

Around the clock: Tuesday, September 13 at 3:00pm – Thursday, September 15, 2011, 3:00pm

Space with a Soul, 281 Summer Street, Boston, MA

Created by Isobar, with an esteemed panel of judges from Google, Nokia and, Isobar Create 48 is for developers and designers who have big ideas, the skill to bring them to life, and no fear of a little sleep deprivation.

How can I participate?
Isobar’s first “Create 48” is part of FutureM that draws hundreds of digital community creators and creatives every year. It’s FREE if you follow the steps and use the promo code below:

  1. Go to
  2. On the first page, fill out your first name, last name and email address.
  3. Choose “FutureM Pass – MITX Members Rate” and click the “Continue.” NOTE: The $99 fee will be waived for you if you follow the next step.
  4. Fill out contact information & a few demographic questions. Then, in the Promo Code field, enter the discount code HACK. Click “Continue.”
  5. Select Isobar Create 48, starting on Tuesday, September 13th.

What types of applications can I develop?
Participants will have the ability to write the following five types of applications. All applications should be focused on improving interactions between brands and consumers:

  • Phone to phone: Nexus S ‘talking’ to another Nexus S, transferring something meaningful using the technology.
  • Phone to tag: Using tags where the device (or a reader) can read data and react to it. Sometimes the data is a URL; other times it is just the ID of the device.
  • Phone to reader: Having the phone act as a tag (or a card) and ‘speak’ to a computer with a tag reader attached to it.
  • Tag to reader: Similar to phone to tag, only that a computer with a reader ‘responds’ to reading the tag.
  • Phone to simulator: We will create ‘simulators’ of real-world machines we envision using NFC and how they can exchange data with smartphones. Examples include a gas pump and a cash register. Participants will be able to create apps that ‘talk’ to these simulators.

How can I prepare?
Attendees should be prepared to bring their laptop, power cables (and any other tools they need to create and develop with). Isobar will provide the facilities, power, connectivity, food, and refreshments, and experts will be on-hand to help you think through your idea, answer questions and give advice. We’ll also have the following equipment on hand, including: Nexus S phones, NFC Tags to make real-world objects ‘machine readable, NFC Readers (SCM 3711), and Demo code.

In the meantime, here are some links to documentation and technical resources that may help you prepare:

Who are the judges?
When coding ends at 3:00pm on Thursday 9/15, each team will have 5 minutes to present their work to the audience and our esteemed panel of judges, which so far includes:

  • Dan Koulomzin, Software Engineer, Google
  • Mike Lockwood, Engineer, Google Android Team
  • David Chang, VP of Product & Strategy,
  • Damien Balsan, Director of NFC Business Development, Nokia, and Co-Chair, Enterprise Forum/Boston NFC Hub
  • Ville Sointu, Director of Technology, Tieto US
  • Gene Keenan, VP of Mobile, Isobar
  • Michael Nicholas, Chief Strategy Officer, Isobar

What criteria will determine the winners?
Applications should be focused on improving interactions between brands and consumers. Each team is expected to build a technical proof of concept during the 48 hours. Each idea must have a technical implementation. Winners will be based on whether their app fundamentally changes the way businesses operate or the way consumers behave, or both. Using a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, apps will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Impact on a brand or a business (e.g., does it increase sales, improve customer retention, etc.?)
  • Impact on consumers (e.g., does it fundamentally change the way consumers behave)
  • Level of innovation (e.g., is it something completely new)
  • Commercial viability and market potential (e.g., does it have the ability to succeed and be profitable)
  • The ‘like never before’ factor (e.g., novelty value and overall coolness of the idea)

What can I win?
Do we need to give you something other than the admiration of your peers? A place in the history books? Exposure to our friends and judges from Google and MIT Media Labs?

Fine. Everybody gets an awesome gift bag. We’ll have door prizes (random, sure, but cool stuff). We’ll be giving out cash prizes to winners, a trophy we’re designing as we speak, and Google Nexus S phones for the winning team. But if you’re just in it for the admiration, that’s okay too. Who isn’t?

Can you hook me up with collaborators if I show up alone?
Isobar Create 48 is for designers and developers. We encourage you to team up and work in ad-hoc development teams. If you have a good idea but you’re not sure you can build it on your own, or if you’re a coder who wants a designer to work with, you can coordinate with others on our blog to share ideas and build a team. Don’t fret if you don’t have a team before you get there. When you arrive, we’ll give you a nametag:

  • It will have red on it if you are looking for a technical partner.
  • It will have blue on it if you’re looking for a design partner.

In other words, if you’re a coder who wants a designer to work with, your nametag will have blue on it. Please plan to arrive by 3:00pm on Tuesday so you have time to mingle and hook up or ask us to help you.

I can’t stay the whole 48 hours, can I still participate?
Of course! We realize that 48 hours is a long time, and that some people might have other commitments. We do strongly encourage you to be present for the initial few hours during the startup demos, and for the final few hours for the presentations and judging. But if you can, plan to stay. We’ll be feeding you. You can stretch out and get comfortable. We’ll have a couple couches on hand, and there’s also showers on site if you want to clean yourself up.

Who owns the code I write?
You do, unless you’re using something that belongs to someone else. We’d like to make a few screenshots of promising projects, and we’ll be video taping certain parts of the event for public relations and marketing communication purposes; we assume that’s okay.

Will there be any guest speakers?
Yes! We’ve got a great line up of speakers for the event, including:

  • Michael Nicholas, Chief Strategy Officer, Isobar
  • Damien Balsan, Director of NFC Business Development at Nokia and the Co-Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum/Boston NFC Hub
  • Mark Hatch, Chief Operating Officer at ICS

See the schedule below for further details on what and when they’ll be speaking.

What’s the schedule?
Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect:

  • If you’re looking for a team to develop something with, arrive by 3:00pm so you have time to mingle and hook up or ask us to help you.
  • We’ll get started at 3:30pm sharp. Michael Nicholas, Chief Strategy Offer at Isobar, will kick things off with some opening remarks, including a brief look at Isobar, who we are, what we do, why we’re hosting this event, and what we hope to see from the teams.
  • At 3:45pm, we’ll welcome Damien Balsan, Director of NFC Business Development at Nokia and the Co-Chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum/Boston NFC Hub, to the stage. Damien will provide an overview of NFC technology and showcase some of the NFC apps working today all around the world.
  • At 4:15pm, we’ll introduce Mark Hatch, Chief Operating Officer at ICS, who will show examples of Qt NFC applications his company has developed.
  • At 4:45pm, Isobar’s Director of Mobile, Yuval Zukerman, will provide information about all the tools that will be at your disposal.
  • Then, finally, at 5:15pm, coding will begin!
  • We’ll feed you and water you and Red Bull you throughout the 48 hours. We’ll also have a couple of couches if you need a nap, and there are showers onsite if you want to clean yourself up.
  • At 3:00pm on Thursday 9/15, everyone stops coding. Each team will have ten minutes to present their work to the audience — and the judges. Then we’ll go our separate ways for a few hours. We think you’ll go home and clean yourselves up!
  • At 7:00pm on Thursday 9/15, we’ll regroup for the afterparty. We’ll have food, drink and a band, open to all FutureM attendees.
  • At the afterparty, we’ll reveal the top 3 apps created during the hackathon and hand out prizes and respect to the winners.

What am I waiting for?
We really have no idea. Isobar Create 48 is your opportunity to meet the people and work with the tools that are revolutionizing our future. Did we mention registration is FREE? Do it now.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, or feel free to contact us directly.


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