Monday, January 19, 2015

51 Developers Vying for Prizes at RootsTech 2015 Innovator Challenge

One of the really neat highlights of the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City (February 11-14 2015 this year) is the FamilySearch Innovator Challenge.  FamilySearch challenged innovators to develop new process or programs and to enter the Innovator's Challenge contest.

The information from the Innovator Challenge website ( says:

"Do you have what it takes to launch the family history industry forward into the next generation?

"FamilySearch is challenging developers from around the globe to go head-to-head and create apps that solve any problem in the family history industry or another business, using family history data and services.
"The top 4 finalists will be invited to demo live, onstage, in front of 2,500+ attendees at RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah, where a panel of renowned judges and the audience will decide the winners! Many will enter, but only one app can take home up to $15,000 in total cash prizes and a ton of publicity."
There are 51 Submissions for the 2015 challenge.  Here is the top of the Submissions page (

If you click on any one of them, there is more information, and a short video, about the product.  I clicked on the IoTree product and saw the summary:

It wasn't hard to Google [ IoTree ] and find the IoTree website (

It turns out that the IoTree product (IoT is shorthand for the Internet of Things!) is:

*  A framed piece of art that can be connected to the Internet
*  There are 30 leaves on the tree in the frame
*  You can sync the 30 leaves to persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree
*  When information changes about one of the ancestors with a leaf on the Family Tree, or a vital event (birth, death, marriage) occurs on the current day, the leaf lights up on the art piece.

This is an interesting concept that connects family members to their ancestors by using modern technology to highlight ancestral events.

I picked IoTree to highlight because Mark Tucker, one of the developers and a geneablogger, highlighted it to me recently.  These might make great Christmas or birthday gifts for family members!

There are 50 more innovative and creative and useful products vying to win this Innovator Challenge. The four finalists get to present their products at RootsTech 2015, and attendees at RootsTech get to vote for their favorite in the People's Choice voting after the presentations.

This is genealogy entrepreneurship at its finest.  I look forward to the presentations, and seeing how the products work in the RootsTech Expo Hall.  I will try to post information about each of the finalists on my blog after they are selected.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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