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This article was published 9/5/2011 (3783 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A small Winnipeg company is telling the tech world how to use Google's tools at the California company's big developer conference in San Francisco this week.
While BookedIn Online Scheduling may be a small Winnipeg company now, the plan since Day 1 is for something much bigger.
Getting invited to present at Google's global event is a coup for a little company that has only recently launched its application. But it's an indication of the potential power of the idea.
BookedIN's founder and owner, Mike Iwasiow, is the first to admit there are probably hundreds of different versions of scheduling software out there.
But there aren't any that have been designed from the beginning to eventually become the online site that people all over the world will use to book their haircut, car tuneup, dentist appointment, and the list goes on and on.
"This is kind of a first step into eventually creating that large system," Iwasiow said. "The vision is to become the biggest scheduling network in the world -- THE online portal."
After a 12-year career as an independent information technology consultant, Iwasiow dedicated himself full-time to BookedIN last year.
The movement to so-called cloud computing and Google's own development of tools that eliminate the need for desktop programs and in-house data servers makes Iwasiow's vision something that is not so far off in the future.
Iwasiow said Google's development of its Chrome operating system imagines a day when computing devices run everything through web applications so that nothing needs to be installed on your desktop.
"Google was impressed with how we utilized its technology to produce a commercially viable product and also how we are using its cloud service, called Google Ap Engine, that is just starting to get into the commercial arena," he said.
Philippe Beaudoin, who was BookedIN's lead developer and designed a key piece of the technology that it uses, recently accepted a position with Google where he'll start working next month.
"I'm firmly convinced that BookedIN is on to something," Beaudoin said in an email from the Google conference in San Francisco. "Both the vision and the timing are right: Very soon owners will want to consult and update their appointment schedules from any of their multiple connected devices, while clients will use their smartphone to locate the closest barbershop and book an appointment."
The soft launch was last fall and with only about 200 users to date, BookedIN is just starting to embark on a more aggressive sales and marketing campaign.
It is also just completing some finishing touches to its software so that soon individuals will be able to log in and book their own appointments, with the services that have subscribed to BookedIN.
Iwasiow knows there is plenty of hard work ahead of him, but he is convinced that if his little Winnipeg company does not offer such an online service, someone else will.
"No one else is doing this," he said. "I know a bit about the competition and I don't see anyone else going after it."
Scott Griffith, vice-president of business development and one of the founders of the Winnipeg tech company, Tell Us About Us that was recently sold to a large U.S. marketing company, has known Iwasiow for several years.
"This is an idea that could really catch fire and become something ubiquitous that everyone uses," Griffith said.
He said the fact that a commercially viable product has been created so quickly is a good sign and rather than build an early version that might break as business grows, BookedIN has started the other way.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.