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Rising stars in the field of research technologies

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Terry Soleas

Start-ups are a harbinger of the ideas that will one day dominate the fields of business. The ones that survive the initial feasibility phases have the potential to change the world, in small and grand ways. Last week we get to see two such start-ups at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. Two new research tools that have the potential to make the process of scholastics more accessible.

The reign of the start-up continues. These are the stories of Waterloo Innovations and MetricWire.

Waterloo Innovations: A little startup with a lot of heart!

Do you take lots of pictures? Do you wish that the process of organizing document analysis was less labour intensive?

Daniel Heidt, a co-founder of the start-up Waterloo Innovations has big aspirations for his company’s productivity software called Confero. Though Waterloo Innovations is just over a year old the ideas and programming behind it go back to Daniel’s days as a doctoral student at Western. The most arduous task of research involving the gathering of documental evidence is the process of collating and organizing evidence into usable and intuitive clusters ready for analysis.

Confero utilizes a unique QR code to sort photographs into batches which are then automatically sorted into file folders on your computer. This makes the process of organizing and documenting research artefacts, photographs, and document evidence almost automatic.

To use Confero, a user would take the photographs of the object of interest, followed by a picture of the QR code that Confero generates. Every time Confero sees that QR code it automatically starts a new folder with the name assigned by the user.  Therefore, a process that once would take hours of sitting in front of a computer now only requires a small investment of time to name the folders and then leaving Confero to work away in the background.

More information can be found at Waterloo Innovation’s website: www.waterlooinnovations.com.

Follow Waterloo Innovations on Twitter at #waterlooInnov and on Facebook at “Waterloo Innovations”.

 

MetricWire: The next big thing in research, just got better.

MetricWire is a start-up in Waterloo that has produced a new research software, that is out to change the way that survey research is done.

Though there is a truckload of cool features including entirely customizable survey question formats, as well as a do-it-yourself interface, the self-described “killer-feature” is do-it-yourself Geofencing according to MetricWire executive Les Magyar (Twitter: @LesMagyar), VP, Mobile Strategy.

That’s a first for the field.

Geofencing in research is the process of setting particular GPS prompts in questionnaires that present questions to enrolled participants when they step into set locations. That way you can ask questions when the stimuli is fresh in order to get authentic first-reactions to events as they happen.

As explained by Evan Trafford, VP Business Development (Twitter: @evan_trafford), the process of setting up a research questionnaire is easy. First the survey is assembled online, it can be a single question or a complete battery of questions. Once you’re happy with the survey, set it to go live. The final step is to send invites to install the MetricWire app to your participants, the app is compatible with Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry. Once the app is installed, when participants enter the location (if relevant to your questionnaire) set by you, they are prompted to complete the questionnaire right on their smartphone.

Even if Geofencing is not relevant to your study, MetricWire has a complete arsenal of tools for creating surveys and questionnaires for a variety of research needs.

More information can be found on their website: www.metricwire.com

Look for both of these rising stars in your fields of research, but remember; you saw them here first!

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Congress of the Humanities and Social SciencesCongress 2014