CS39820 – Business IT group project – Week 2

Week 2
6th September – 12th October 2015

Time spent on project: 10 hours

Lectures
In the lecture we looked at web applications and smartphone apps. We looked at which category the most popular mobile apps belong to, in terms of Global sector revenue. This would give us an idea, of where there is still a vacuum to exploit the market and develop applications. We then looked at web applications, what kinds of possibilities there are and how you would get an income out of it, e.g. advertising, subscription, sales etc. Finally, we were told to brainstorm within out group, rank the ideas and shortlist some of the more viable ideas, making sure that our idea offers something new or better than things that are already on the market.

In order to make money from an application, there are endless possibilities, I will list a few examples:-

  • In app advertisement.
  • Affiliate schemes.
  • Cost to purchase the app.
  • Monthly subscription.
  • In-app purchases, e.g. pay to unlock certain features.
  • If the app sells things, take commission on each purchase.
  • etc..

What have I learned?
This week I have learned, the best way to work with a group, how to organise meetings and the best way to stay in touch with your team. It is important to have regular meetings, because with everyone pitching different ideas, you can get inspired to add extra valuable features to your idea, or cut some down if they are too much, opinions and ideas go a long way. I have also learnt that the best ideas tend to be the ones that you are passionate about and have good knowledge about. If you focus on an idea that you have insufficient knowledge or not interested in too much, then you will not go the extra bit to make it special, which is at the end of the day, what will make the app stand out to the rest and potentially create a reputation and name for itself. A good example is facebook, even though, there were plenty of social networking sites back in 2004-5 facebook had some innovations that made it extra popular with the public and eventually outperformed its competitors.

Achievements
This week we organised group meetings, where we sat down and presented various potential ideas. We then decided, that we would each shortlist what we thought were our strongest ideas, and scrutinise them individually and finalise one idea over the course of the coming week. I have finalised two ideas, which I will now outline:

  1. Bike point – An app that will allow users to rent and find bikes near them.
    Whilst holidaying in a different city or country, very often you want to have a convenient and affordable way of touring the destination independently and at your own pace. The problem with cars is, that you may find a cheap car to rent, but there is too much legal hassle and paperwork, such as insurances and minimum ages and it usually ends up costing a lot more than you anticipated when you signed up for the rental. With bike point, there will be a fixed deposit on how much the owner values it, and a daily price of the bike. The deposit will be reserved from the user’s account, and returned when the bike is returned, this is to avoid theft or damage to the bike. There will also be a rating system and there will be rewards and more convenience if you have rented a bike from/ to someone a certain amount of times so that well reputed bikers find it easier to use the service and to motivate people to keep their profiles clean.
    Competitors: I checked the app stores on apple and android and there is no app like this with an international or even national reach. There are a few apps designed for specific cities such as New York and Toronto, but this will not create a community nationally or internationally, which is I think the only way to break into the market and get people travelling into different cities and knowing that there is a community that is willing to share their bike with you, if you rent out your bike.
    Income: I can think of three different ways to monetise the application, the first one and perhaps least favourite is advertising, which will probably have to be used in its first year to introduce the app to people and make sure it gets a high customer base. The second way is to charge premiums/ subscription fees, which would deter a lot of customers and allow other apps to offer the service for a better offer. The best way in my opinion is to take commission from every rental, this will ensure a continuous income and it will automatically cover growth.
  1. Fix my phone –  An app to let people find people with technical knowledge to fix phones
    This is another app that relies on a community, it is however much simpler and acts like a directory. If people damage their phones somehow and they do not have any cover on the phone, they can look for someone in their vicinity who can do the job. There will be no payments conducted via the website, the app will merely allow people to find someone that will fix their phone, near their location. Users will have to make an appointment on the app, and the person fixing it will have to accept, this is in order to control bogus reviews and make sure only genuine business is conducted.
    Competitors: There are various directories found on websites and applications, but none specifically targeted at fixing phones, tablets, laptops etc. and they will usually only list businesses with a shop. This service however will focus more on freelancers who want to make a bit of money, but aren’t dedicated to this market.
    Income: This app will most likely feature advertisements, and perhaps when advertising as a phone mechanic, there could be a small fee to bump up the listing of your service.

An update on the group:
We have managed two get two more team members and created a group of four, we all posses different abilities and strengths and therefore we decided as a group, that similar to the group project last year, we should have a formation with different roles. For now we have decided the roles of project leader and QA manager, which will be Moad and myself respectively. The project leader will be responsible for contacting the group members and finding out the best times for meetings, making sure the project runs smoothly, is headed in the correct direction and that the work is progressing at a good pace at all times.
My responsibility as the Quality Assurance manager will be to go through all the paperwork and presentations etc. that is handed in by various group members and make sure that it is all of high quality and nothing is missing from it, I will also be responsible for laying out what the group has discussed in meetings and what it needs to do and then email it to all members of the group and possibly to Bernie.

We held a two hour long meeting after the lecture, where we all shared our two best ideas. We discussed their viability as a business model, how we’d make profit from the business etc and as a result, from those eight ideas, we managed to shortlist four ideas for our group project.

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