NJ Tech Weekly 2015-01-09T10:07:58+00:00

NJ Tech Weekly News Feed Latest news articles on njtechweekly.com

  • Startup Roundup: AeroFarms, Jersey Entrepreneurial Moms, TaxDrop
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    AeroFarms: New Jersey agricultural startup AeroFarms (Newark), which has a vertical farming operation, is using a connected food safety system from Dell and VMware (Palo Alto, Calif.) to track the “growth story” of its products from seed to package. The system analyzes more than 130,000 data points per harvest, according to a release from the two companies. This allows the AeroFarms team to enhance food safety while minimizing the typical risks of traditional agriculture and enhancing their overall “plant IQ.” AeroFarms is working with Dell and VMware to implement intelligent internet-of-things (IoT) solutions, including Edge Gateways, devices that have a variety of input–output connections for aggregating data and supporting analytics at the edge of the network. According to April Agee Carroll, vice president of research and development at AeroFarms, speaking in a video shown at the Dell Technologies IQT Day event in New York City  recently, “At AeroFarms, we are really heavy on research and development because we are not just a farm, we are also a technology company. We have many different types of data, including sensors that we are trying to manage and integrate on a daily basis. And it’s not a trivial thing: how much vitamin C or vitamin A they have in them, how much yield you are getting off of a certain area of growth.” Cofounder and CEO David Rosenberg said that machine learning has had “an impact in different parts of what we do. What’s the right spectra, the right intensity to optimize photosynthesis? What’s the wasted spectra that one could peel off to reduce our operating costs? We get to optimize that through data.” The company is working with Dell to develop a new model that can better predict what the plants will taste like, how much they are going to yield and how much vitamin content they will have, Carroll said. They want to know “what’s the best environment to get the best plant.” Jersey Entrepreneurial Moms (JEM): Jersey Entrepreneurial Moms (Hazlet) is a network of New Jersey moms who own their own businesses. This newly launched website features a business directory, blog, event calendar, merchandise and membership in exclusive Facebook groups. The startup was founded by Sarah Williams and Jillian Windle, both of Monmouth County. Williams is a mom who wanted to start her own business around luxury jewelry, but she couldn’t find any resources to help her achieve her entrepreneurial vision. She tried to get information by participating in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s SCORE program, but it wasn’t exactly right for her. Instead, she preferred to get advice from other women who have created their own small businesses. So, she started a group for moms called “Monmouth Mompreneurs.” Windle was one of the first people to join her group, and she reached out to Williams to offer help with graphics and marketing. Together, they decided to make the group bigger and expand its scope. They changed the name to “Jersey Entrepreneurial Moms” in response to a trademark issue and extended the group’s reach to all of New Jersey. Today the website has listings from 120 Jersey entrepreneurial moms. The group’s Facebook page hosts 3,500 moms. The two founders are bootstrapping the business, but have begun to sell listings on the website for a nominal fee.  “The website launched Aug 22. We had a Mom’s Night Out meeting and we announced it then,” Windle told us. “During that meeting, we gave away a two-week free trial. Thirty of the women who were in attendance took us up on it and were signed up in the next two to three weeks. We helped them create their listings, fix their graphics and polish off their bios and really make their listings shine. They became the core of the site.” Their listings were also used to show off the site’s capabilities. In return for the members’ free trials, “they gave us feedback, helped us work out some bugs and helped turn the site into what it is today.” The website presents a number of other opportunities — in addition to listings — for entrepreneurial women to advertise their wares. For example, those joining at the Diamond level can post blogs on the site. The company is also hosting off-line events. Coming up is Vendor Jam, honoring women veterans, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Tab Ramos Sports Complex, in Aberdeen. It will feature more than 60 JEM vendors plus music, kids’ activities and food, as well as gift bags for the first 100 attendees. TaxDrop: TaxDrop (Robinsville) is a recently launched startup founded by Alice Cheng, a CPA who is a graduate of Rutgers. The company shares its name with the TaxDrop app, a mobile app that connects users with a licensed CPA who prepares their tax returns.  The company recently launched the Apple version of its app, and an Android version is planned, according to Cheng. She said that the app greatly simplifies tax return preparation. Users take pictures of their tax documents and send them to the company. Then, a TaxDrop CPA prepares the tax forms.The backup tax documents are securely archived along with the returns. The company is working on developing AI to sort and automatically apply receipts to relevant categories and to automate the filling out of forms.  CPAs will review the auto-populated forms to ensure accuracy.  There are three levels of service: Simple, Complex and Professional.  Pricing is competitive with that of other tax-preparation services, and returns are always prepared by CPAs, Cheng said. […]

  • N.J. continues to use easily hacked voting machines
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

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  • Package of Three Bills Ratchets Up State's Renewable-Energy Goals
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

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  • Verizon Makes Case for Small Cells as Building Blocks to 5G at Demonstration in Warren
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    Photo1 Recently, Verizon hosted the press and a number of government officials at a demonstration of 5G capabilities in Warren. The company’s goal was to increase awareness of the need to bring 4G small cells to towns around New Jersey in order to lay the groundwork for 5G. “A big part of the 5G story is allowing us to build out 4G,” said spokesman David Weissmann. “We are making the investments today to deploy small cells into a lot of towns around New Jersey. … When we launched 3G, and we were the first U.S. carrier to launch 3G, the analysts asked us, ‘Why do you need that much speed?’ The same thing happened with 4G. …We are now at the forefront of launching 5G, and we are hearing less of that, but some of that conversation still resonates.” Photo5 “In order to deploy 5G, we will need to have densification of our network, and a big part of that story is small cell deployments,” said Brae Legg, Verizon wireless 5G network brand ambassador and mobile lab manager. These small-cell network nodes are two or three feet high and use small antennae and radios. The cells don’t replace towers, but work with them to create ideal network coverage, a spokesman said. Verizon needs to put microcells on tops of buildings and on light and utility poles, “wherever necessary to get it to the people who need it,” Legg added. Photo4 Verizon has put together a “cell on light truck” (COLT) which it compared to a portable cell tower. In the future, 5G transmissions will take place from fixed cell towers. For the demonstration, Ericsson provided a 5G base station transmitting over a 28GH spectrum, with a bandwidth of 800 MHz, according to Pi Luo, an RF specialist, and Abjar Chamoun, a senior support specialist. “We need so much bandwidth to provide the high-speed data that we are sending to the 5G bus. Inside the bus, you will see 10 or 11 gigabits of throughput,” Chamoun said. The speeds and throughput broadcast for about half a mile. Photo2 With 5G, users will experience fast speeds, low latency and the ability to have 4K-to-8K video for gaming, virtual reality or other applications. “If you want to download a movie, you can do it within 6 seconds,” Legg said. While speed is impressive, latency (the delay before data transfer begins following the instruction for its transfer) is more important. For example, if you have a doctor in the city performing a robotic operation on a rural patient, latency is going to be critical for the robotics to work well. Also, 5G will support mobility and applications such as vehicles talking to each other, Legg said. Photo3 Verizon is testing in 11 markets, and one of the test markets is in Bernardsville. The bus was equipped with a screen that showed that Verizon was getting 10 gigabits/second of throughput on that day. Currently, 4G is in the megabits/second range, so 5G is almost 100 times faster than current 4G network. One of the biggest uses consuming large amounts of bandwidth on the 5G network will be high-definition 4K video, Verizon believes. One of the demonstrations involved a 4K video that resided on the COLT truck and was transmitted over the 5G network. “Every pixel you see, every drop of water you see, is being transmitted over the 5G network,” Legg noted. […]

  • Jarrett Bauer Talks about Hoboken-Based Startup Health Recovery Solutions at NJ Tech Council Meeting
    on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

      When Jarrett  Bauer was in college, his grandmother — who had recently been in the hospital — needed to be readmitted rather quickly. That started Bauer thinking about hospital readmissions and why they happen. Later, Bauer looked at the Affordable Care Act and thought it might present an opportunity for him. The ACA has a penalty for readmissions within a certain time frame. After calling hospital CFOs to confirm that readmissions were a real problem, Bauer realized that, not only were they a problem, there was as yet no solution. Bauer is the cofounder and CEO of Health Recovery Solutions (Hoboken), and he was interviewed about his startup and entrepreneurial experiences at a meeting sponsored by the NJ Tech Council. The meeting took place on Sept. 26 at Jet.com headquarters, in Hoboken. David Powell, program director at Mission 50 Coworking (Hoboken), conducted the interview and moderated questions from the audience. HRS supplies home care agencies with a remote monitoring platform focused on changing patient behavior to reduce readmissions and improve clinical outcomes. HRS software works on a tablet and tracks medication, vital signs and wound integrity. It also interfaces with electronic medical records (EMRs).  There is a cost per tablet, and the software is offered as a subscription service. The data stored on the tablet is wiped after the patient is discharged, and then reused for a new patient.  At a cost of $3.00/day, hospitals and agencies can avoid a $15,000 fine for readmission by using HRS services, Bauer said.   He recalled that while still in college, he started an “idea wall,” and for about a year all he did was stick notes on the wall.  After that year of coming up with ideas, he and his team started to develop a product. They then proved that it worked clinically in a randomized study, and started selling it.   While still working on his MBA, Bauer realized that he “had to just go for it” and devote himself fully to the development of his product.  By demonstrating that his product was viable, he was able to get into the Blueprint Health accelerator, in New York City, which specializes in supporting health tech startups. The accelerator gave the company funding and office space in exchange for a 6 percent investment.     Up to that time, the company had been self-funded, and Bauer was living in his parent’s house, in New Jersey.  By committing himself fully to his project, he was able to get others on his team to commit themselves to the project without taking salaries for the first three years.  Later, he noted, when sales were good, it was easy for the company to raise capital.   When Bauer was asked how he had picked his team, he responded that he “knew himself.”  He knew what he was good at and what he wanted to do. He then made a list of everyone he knew, and picked three friends who were good in technology and operations, as well as passionate about his product.    One of his choices was Rohan Udeshi as COO. He said, “I knew Rohan Udeshi. He loved and thrived in operations management. I knew he was perfect for COO.”  Daniel Priece, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science from Villanova University and is a great team player, was chosen for software development.   In Bauer’s opinion, “it is better to have a good team with a bad idea than a bad team with a good idea because they can always figure out what to do and what to sell.”    He also spoke about achieving a balance between what he repeatedly referred to as “discovery skills” and “delivery skills.”  He alluded to discovery skills as the inventive trait, the ability to come up with ideas and be a software developer.  Delivery skills are more down to earth: sales, marketing and day-to-day operations.    Powell asked Bauer's opinion on having followers (e.g., on Twitter) versus making sales.  Bauer responded, “The company needs cash.  You have a user base.  So, what?  Money is most important.”  Also, Bauer stressed the importance for startups of having a good pitch deck.   HRS moved from upper Bergen County to Hoboken, and is now a multimillion-dollar company with 30 employees. […]