By Brian Brus
Courtesy of The Journal Record
STILLWATER – Oklahoma State University has embraced electronic device app development as a thriving transition between products and services, Cowboy Technologies Chief Executive Steve Wood said.
And response to the new OSU App Center’s first public outing has shown that the strength of the fledgling creative sector is stronger than officials expected, he said.
Judges recently identified 20 finalists in an application design contest providing $6,500 in prize money. The finalists’ apps comprise a wide range of concepts, including school class calendar reminders, traffic safety, insurance assistance, food finders, campus navigation, lost-and-found alerts and an undergraduate research network.
Winnowing down the field of more than 80 submissions was not easy, Wood said. Organizers weren’t expecting such a large turnout.
“We think good ideas can come from anywhere,” he said. “But the process of refining a good idea has a home on campus. That’s what we’re trying to teach, how to take a good idea and make it a really profitable idea.
“And apps are a millennial age bracket domain,” Wood said. “It’s such a fabric of their lives, such a component of every moment of every day. They’re really used to thinking in app terms. They operate in a world of immediately accessible, functional, connective items. Anything we can do to foster that is beneficial to us and the community.”
Wood has experienced the startup culture on his own, commercializing patented and award-winning composite product designs as president for EXOKO Composites Co. LLC. Before that, he served as manager of operations analysis for Williams Cos.
Cowboy Technologies LLC was organized in 2011 as a for-profit, limited-liability company through the OSU Center for Innovation and Economic Development, or CIE, to provide management, marketing and funding assistance for OSU-developed technologies. Wood is a clinical faculty member from the OSU School of Entrepreneurship who oversees many of the university’s technology commercialization efforts.
Much of the App Center’s initial resource needs are being provided by corporate sponsor AAA Oklahoma and its holding company, Auto Club Partners. The center will serve as a preparatory beta market for AAA territories.
AAA also sponsored the contest that drew so much attention from OSU students, faculty members and employees. The contest’s purpose is to initiate an application that benefits the OSU campus and AAA’s customers. The first phase of the contest focused on app concepts, while the second phase is open to those who can bring ideas to fruition. Prize money in the second phase totals $14,000, and winners will be announced in May.
First-phase finalist apps:
• Affording OSU app.
• All My Stuff.
• Cowboy Calendar.
• Cowboy Classes.
• Find Good Food Fast on Campus.
• OKSTATE Campus Navigation and Connection – Giddy-Up!
• OStateU (PeteknowsOSU, Cowboy4Ever, OSU Client, OkState Connector).
• OSU Lost and Found App.
• OSU Undergraduate Research Network.
• The Colvin Rec Center App.
• The OSU Student Experience App.
• What’s a Poke to do?