Bursting the social media bubble

Published on: 6 June 2014

Bursting the social media bubble

Could Vanguard's new app help us break the social media bubble? Image courtesy of Shutterstock

One of the drawbacks of current social networks is the temptation to only connect with family, old friends or friends of friends. But this rut could soon be at an end, thanks to the Exeter student designed Ripple app which recently won the national heat of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup.

Ripple, which connects you to other users using GPS, was developed by Guillaume de Boisséson, Femi Awomosu and Mikky Adedeji, a team of first year Business School students known as Vanguard. You can define the range over which your messages are shared up to a maximum distance of one kilometre  - so that two users can meet within a few minutes. This new way of interacting lets you share information or photos and make connections with people outside your social circle.

The student trio hope the instant information sharing capability of Ripple will create a fun social network where you can share interesting images, videos and messages about the things going on around you with other people in your vicinity - creating a hyper relevant social network.

The app will also enable users to share offers such as 2for1 restaurant vouchers.

Team Vanguard will be competing in the 2014 world final of Microsoft Imagine Cup.

Vanguard saw off teams from across the country to win the national heat of the Imagine Cup. But the team’s success is down to more than just the strength of their app, Guillaume explained: “Other teams came with pop-up displays and posters; we just had our laptops with the presentation but we had thought really hard about the business plan and how we’re going to target our demographic; our app and our business plan were both very credible - I think the judges saw that.”

The team will shortly be on their way to Seattle to try to repeat this success, as they represent the United Kingdom in the competition’s world final.

Last year’s World final was won by University of Exeter team Co-linked with their app SoundSYNK. But this hasn’t added pressure for Vanguard as they all agree that whether they win or lose, they will take the business forward.

In fact advice from Co-linked team member Edward Noel helped them secure their victory. Femi said: “Ed, from Co-linked told us that we need to orientate our presentation towards the business side of the app – which was really good advice.

“Ed was the one who instilled ‘business, business, business’ in us from the beginning; he told us that it’s all about how you market the app; you need to make sure that it’s viable and then, in the presentation, prove that it’s viable.”

The Imagine Cup world finals will be taking place in Seattle at the end of July; thirty five 35 teams from across the globe will be competing in four categories that celebrate the best in student technology innovation.

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