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Wearab.ly, a news app for Google Glass, is a national award finalist

Wearab.ly, a platform for news and publishing organizations to deliver content to wearable devices such as Google Glass and smart watches, has been selected as one of ten finalists in The Mobileys, a national contest for mobile developers sponsored by Mobile Future. The company is one of two D.C.-based businesses to place in the final round of the competition. Winners of the Mobileys will be announced at a private event Dec. 11.
"We are very excited about what we are building," says Antonio Zugaldia, CCO for Silica Labs, the company behind Wearab.ly. "Wearable devices are exploding, and it's still early days."
Zugaldia met his cofounders—Stephanie Nguyen, lead designer, and Marvin Ammori, CEO—through Startup Weekend D.C. in April. The trio created HelpCloud that weekend and then moved on to Wearab.ly. The platform integrates with RSS/Atom feeds to deliver content to the latest wearable smart devices. "We try to integrate [with publishers] as easily as possible," Zugaldia says, acknowledging that each device and each publisher has its own set of specifications for creating and delivering digital content. 
Wearab.ly is currently working with National Geographic, NPR and Atlantic Monthly to bring their content to wearable smart devices. How that content is transformed depends on the device. For Google Glass, content is read to the user, with images displayed in the background. For smart watches, it's more about getting a nugget of information quickly, without the bells and whistles of audio or video.
"A smart watch is about one-fourth the size of a Post-it note," says Nguyen. "The format is really small. You just get the information quickly—an image and a headline, with the option to read it later. It's so different from reading articles on a desktop or a mobile phone."
"We've always had some way of getting the news," she continues, "from the Pony Express, to the paper on the doorstep...We have to adapt to how people want to consume their news."
As Wearab.ly grows in the next few months, Silica Labs will hire engineers to help build the platform. Zugaldia doesn't have a set number of hires in mind. "We have learned that the most important thing is to have the right team," he says.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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