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Mayor honors BigApps 2014 winners

Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the winning BigApps

Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the winning BigApps prize to Heat Seek NYC, who created a heating dispute resolution for New York City tenants and landlords. Photo Credit: Agaton Strom

Trying to decide on a career based on the most in-demand jobs in New York City? There's an app for that.

NYCHired, an application in which job seekers can identify the fields currently hiring, is just one of this year's NYC BigApps winners announced Tuesday evening. The New York City Economic Development Corporation competition, in its fifth year, awards new apps that bid to improve city life in four main categories: work, live, learn, and play.

"This gathering celebrates the power of technology and how it transforms the world," Mayor Bill de Blasio said, congratulating the winners at the BRIC Arts Media House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. "I know everyone in this room loves the city and wants to make it better."

This year's winners included Coursekicker, a forum for teachers to communicate; Heat Seek NYC, a platform to detect heating violations in the city; and Explore NYC Parks, which allows New Yorkers to find information on the parks closest to them.

The winners received $20,000 each, according to the Economic Development Corporation.

The 20 finalists were evaluated based on their app's usability, innovative use of technology, design and size of potential user base. Applicants with 25 or more employees were not eligible for prizes.

Daniel Kronovet, a re-industrial designer for Heat Seek NYC, said his team will use the prize money to fund heat sensors. The app, he said, will go live next month.

"We're getting close to our product going forward," Kronovet said. "[The competition] was instrumental in pushing us forward. Having the deadlines and support helped to motivate us to move forward."

The judges included EDC President Kyle Kimball and Google chief information officer Ben Fried.

The competition began in 2010 as a way to promote open data and connect the city's growing tech industry with civic groups, according to the Economic Development Corporation. Since then, the organization said the competition has helped to create 400 applications.

"We hoped [the competition] would entice developers to build apps that served communities and businesses," said Ian Fried, a spokesman for the organization, "and it's been very successful so far."

The city's tech sector has grown tremendously over the last few years -- there are now more than 300,000 related jobs in the city, particularly with companies located in Downtown Brooklyn.

"We are lucky to have a talented tech workforce with brilliant minds," Fried said. "This competition helps those brilliant minds work with the city and do good."

Fried expects that growth to continue and predicted that more companies will utilize city data to create new apps that make New York a better place.


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