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Tech announcements

New tech thru City Go to ‘make transit easier’ 

Paying for transportation around Boise and the Treasure Valley is easier than ever before thanks to the City Go Wallet, which launched today from Valley Regional Transit (VRT) partnered with Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) to launch City Go Wallet, which, through Cubic’s cloud-based technology, centralizes and streamlines transit passes and service payments via the Umo Mobility app and the reloadable City Go Smartcard.

City Go has helped launch new tech to support new payment methods. Image courtesy of City Go

Users who prefer to use their phones for transit can download the Umo Mobility app in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. In addition to making transit passes and fares easier to purchase, the app features an all-in-one service that includes trip planning, real-time bus route information and rideshare options through Lyft and Uber, according to the announcement. The app will also integrate additional transit passes and services throughout the upcoming year, such as vanpool, shuttle service, parking, bikeshare and scooters. 

The integrated fare payment system also introduces a new feature known as “fare capping.” When a person uses the app or smartcard, fare capping ensures that a person never pays more per day than the cost of all-day fare or more per month than a monthly pass. 

“We’re incredibly excited for this day. When we established City Go, we envisioned an integrated fare-payment system that would elevate transportation in Boise and beyond by making it easier for people to get to the places they want to go; now, we have that system, and we cannot wait to see it improve connectivity across all communities in the Treasure Valley,” said Kaite Justice, director of City Go, in the announcement. City Go states it works with public, private and individual partners to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips downtown by providing more sustainable transportation options within the current infrastructure.   

INL opens applications for economic development grants 

Idaho National Laboratory (INL), on behalf of corporate funding provided by Battelle Energy Alliance, has announced it is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations for its 2022 technology-based economic development grants. 

Proposals are requested to be related to one or more of the below focus areas: 

  • Support development of a regional innovation district focused on energy, cybersecurity or advanced manufacturing. 
  • Support rural innovation. 
  • Support a thriving entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem. 

Applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit entities. The deadline for grant requests is 5 p.m. MST Friday, Dec. 17.  

Grant applications must be submitted online through the web portal.   

Decisions will be made by mid-January, with notifications sent to requesting organizations informing them of funding awards later in the month. Funds are for projects for the period of Feb. 1 to Dec. 31, 2022. 

Bank CEO calls on Congress for data security standardization  

Bank of Idaho President and CEO Jeff Newgard testified earlier this month before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions. Newgard testified as a representative of The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICB), calling on Congress to extend Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act data security standards to retailers, technology companies and other parties that process or store consumer financial data. He was one of a panel of four witnesses to testify, appearing remotely as part of the hybrid-format hearing.  

Jeff Newgard. Submitted photo

Newgard said extending the banking industry’s security standards to all players in the payment system would deter security breaches.  

“When a data breach occurs, we believe that liability for that breach should be assigned to incentivize stronger security. The cost of a breach should be born by the party that incurs the breach, be that a retailer, a credit reporting agency, bank or credit union,” Newgard said, as quoted in a recent press release. “Too often, the breached entity evades accountability, while financial institutions are left to mitigate damages to their customers. Uniformity and harmonization will strengthen the ecosystem by eliminating redundancy, closing gaps and strengthening weak links.”  

Newgard, who chairs ICBA’s Cyber and Data Security Committee, had further testimony which focused on three themes: The need to close gaps in law standards, promoting greater uniformity in regulatory efforts and a call to share information across the economic landscape. 

Lovevery launches The Lovevery App 

Lovevery has announced the launch of its mobile app for parents. The Lovevery App provides parents and caregivers with convenient support, including activity ideas, digestible research, live expert Q&As and other resources tailored to a child’s developmental stage. Lovevery is described as the fast-growing early childhood brand and launched in Idaho. 

The Lovevery App is available on iOS in the App Store and serves Play Kits subscribers with children ages 0-12 months. It will continue to expand to include more years of early life, as well as other features including e-commerce integration, digital-only subscriptions and integration with Lovevery’s other parent learning resources. 

“The Lovevery App is designed to complement our Play Kits subscription by offering the right child development support at a parent’s fingertips at just the right time, without information overwhelm,” Jessica Rolph, cofounder and CEO of Lovevery, said in the announcement. “This launch represents an important step forward for the growing platform we’ve created, integrating our network of experts, science-backed products and educational resources for parents.” 

Vacasa releases new app, expands tech for vacation rental experience 

Vacasa, the leading vacation rental management platform in North America, announced Nov. 2 the release of its homeowner app connecting homeowners with insights into the management, care and performance of their vacation rental home.  

“The number-one requested product from our homeowners was a mobile app to monitor the management and performance of their home. We built our Vacasa Homeowner app based on direct feedback and input from our customers, simplifying their ownership experience and providing greater peace of mind around the management of their homes,” said Mike Xenakis, chief product officer of Vacasa, in a press release. “This is a great example of how our product team of nearly 200 data scientists, engineers, product managers and designers help Vacasa provide custom, industry-leading tools for our homeowners that few other vacation rental management companies can offer.” 

Many of those technology-related positions are based in the Boise area. 

The Vacasa Homeowner app helps homeowners stay more connected to their vacation rental with a user-friendly, mobile interface. With key functionality like a revenue performance dashboard, owner hold management tools, booking calendar views, real-time push notifications for bookings and facilitating easy customer support, Vacasa offers homeowners greater transparency into the performance of their homes, even if they live thousands of miles away. 

The Vacasa Homeowner App is a native app available for Vacasa homeowners to download in the App Store for iPhones, and Google Play for Android devices. 

The app joins a collection of innovations developed to simplify and enhance the vacation rental owner and renter experiences, like the Vacasa guest app, which allows guests to book a stay, provides all the information they need about their home — including its location, door codes and access instructions — and offers convenient customer service channels. 

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