Think about the wall plaques or audio guides that shape your visit to a museum: They're no different for visitors more interested in history than art, or those who want to dive deeply into a particular artifact and skim past others.
A Boston startup called Spotzer wants to change that, by letting you use a smartphone as your guide, and deploying Bluetooth "beacon" technology throughout museums so that you can chart your own course. The company just got its start last year, but it has already done pilot tests with institutions like the Boston Athenaeum, MIT's List Visual Arts Center, and New York's Neue Galerie — and Spotzer founder Brendan Ciecko is in the midst of wrapping the company's first funding round.
Maxwell Health, a local startup that’s trying to simplify the experience of navigating health benefit plans for employees and the companies they work for, announced a $26.4 million round of funding on Thursday, money that it says will use to expand its user base and develop new features in its current products.
Read MoreTapping tech talent in BostonPharmacy giant CVS Health will open digital innovation lab in Boston
Rhode Island-based CVS Health, operator of Minute Clinics and the country's second-biggest drugstore chain, is planning to open a technology development center in Boston this winter. Chief Digital Officer Brian Tilzer tells me that the CVS Health Digital Innovation Lab will fit about 100 people — some of whom will move from CVS HQ in Woonsocket, and some of whom will be new hires. "We may not hire all 100 next year, but we're going to hire a lot," Tilzer says. The lab's focus will be on "building customer-centric experiences in health care."
Read MoreDoctors ordersHigh blood pressure? There’s an app for that
Among the ills of the American health care system is the disconnect between patients and their doctors. John Moore has an app for that.
Moore is cofounder of Twine Health, which is making a mobile app to improve communication between doctors and patients and nudge the sick to more closely follow their treatment plans. Read MoreOne less errandWashio's laundry ninjas infiltrate Boston
To the list of services that can be summoned with a few taps on your smartphone, you can now add laundry and dry cleaning. A California startup, Washio, launches in Boston this week. The company pays contractors with their own cars — they refer to them as "ninjas" — to zip around town picking up and dropping off sacks of clothing, and promises 24-hour turnaround. Washio will compete with local cleaners who already offer delivery services on price and convenience; founder Jordan Metzner says that customers can specify a half-hour window in which they'd like a pickup or dropoff to occur.
Just a few blocks away from where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, entrepreneur Ray Ozzie and a small team have been reimagining telephone calls for the 21st century. And today, they're debuting a new iPhone app called Talko that seeks to nudge the phone out of the "just dial a number and hold it to your ear" era and into the 21st century.
Read MoreTech face-offSeven Boston startups that Apple is now competing with (Infographic)