SETsquared Blog

What’s Your App?

SETsquared is running a hackathon next weekend to find the best apps to put forward to the Microsoft  Imagine Cup competition. This set me thinking, what apps would I want on my phone that I don’t currently have? Are there PC apps I would like too?

My first thoughts turned to travel as I spend so much time racing around the country between our five Universities and visiting government in London. It would be great to have an app that wherever I was I could ask it what my options were to get to my desired destination, preferably with the costs too and how long each option would take. This came to me the day I walked out of any office on the South Bank to be met by a snow blizzard. I knew the underground was a walk but I wasn't sure how far and I would have loved to have known if there was a bus or taxi close too. I know there is an app to request a taxi and it will tell you how far away it is but I think the next generation of apps will be slotting information from different apps together to make it more efficient for people.

I was then thinking about my foreign travels. Call me a typical woman but one of the joys of travelling is shopping for different and locally made products but it’s often hard to locate these. Having country apps where local handicraft could be located would in time allow smaller independent sellers to get a strong tourist trade rather than selling to the middlemen. Idealistic possibly but the charity I run, Friends of Colombian Orphans, which provides vocational training to orphans in Colombia could certainly benefit. They currently produce beautiful knitwear and wooden handicrafts but finding channels to sell these products to tourists is challenging. As well as selling their crafts, they would also have the opportunity to promote the work they do at the orphanage to a tourist trade. Perhaps this should be a Trip Advisor add on. Get the knowledge added by locals and travellers alike. So many ideas but it is translating them into what can be practically created that is the real challenge.

Imagine Cup is only open to students but before our hack kicks off next weekend we also have a mobile apps network, openMIC, providing so industry expert speakers on developing dream teams to create great apps. It is essential to get the right mix of commercial and technical skills to develop viable apps. Most apps have the techies but also they have to have a commercial strategy unless they are just for fun. Look at Angry Birds. Yes it was a cheap game to purchase but there were add ons like buying a rocket to blast the pigs so you could get to a new level. This is a marketing strategy. Get’em hooked and then sell them add ons.

So as the weekend draws nearer, I am intrigued to see what apps these student teams will come up with. Will it be something that will change my life or even change the life of others across the world? So What’s your App?