We want to draw attention so the developer that’s trying to pick an area to step into would look at family history and see, not only is it interesting to almost everyone on the planet, it’s also an area with a bright future.

In this day and age, there are very few areas that haven’t been fully overtaken by the technology revolution. The sports world is currently buried beneath mountains of data, the transportation industry is getting cheaper and leaving angry taxi drivers in its wake, and streaming music has unlocked the beautiful reality of any music, anytime, anywhere. My point — it’s hard to find areas where the true opportunity to innovate abounds.

One of those areas is family history. Maybe it’s because family history enthusiasts tend to skew older in age, or maybe it’s just because the world has many unexplained mysteries and this is one of them. Regardless, if you have tech-oriented abilities and a burning love for family history, the 2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown is opportunity presented in its finest form.

“This really represents one of Utah’s emerging clusters and that resonates with people,” said T. Craig Bott, President and CEO of Grow Utah. “We’re good at aerospace, we’re good at outdoor products and energy, but what’s the next wave? This is an emerging cluster because we have all the ingredients for it. We have big companies, based and headquartered in Utah, in this space and we have innovative talent. If you think of the Mecca for human record keeping and sharing, it’s Utah.”

Because you are men and women with valuable time, and mainly because I’ve already written two paragraphs that explain absolutely nothing, I will cut to the chase — applications for the 2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown are now being accepted, a perfect opportunity for developers and entrepreneurs in the family history space to flex their muscles and compete for $100,000 in sponsor prizes ($50K in cash, $50K in services). Applications will be closed on December 1, applicants will be whittled down over the course of the following months, with the final round held February 5 during the world’s largest family history and genealogy conference, RootsTech 2016. It’s time to get on your innovator horse and ride.

“Rootstech attendees, they are interested in what’s out there that can help them — that means technology,” said David Pugmire, Director of the Rootstech Innovator Showdown. “Just like a general consumer audience is interested in Shark Tank, we’re taking that same approach for family history. So we’re getting this technology in front of the consumers, which is really good for everybody.”

To the developers of the world, this competition is for you. Three weeks remain before the deadline hits home, more than enough time to stay up every night working through the kinks of a new family history app. Your submission can be directly or indirectly related to family history, but must feature a working software application that remedies some sort of problem (complete contest guidelines can be found here). If you’re ready, apply for the competition. If you’re not, get ready, then apply for the competition.

“We want to draw attention so the developer that’s trying to pick an area to step into would look at family history and see, not only is it interesting to almost everyone on the planet, it’s also an area with a bright future,” said Bruce Brand, Business Development Manager for FamilySearch.

If you fancy yourself as a person of talent and innovation in the areas of tech and family history, apply here and let the world know your vision.

Published 11/11/2015