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38 : UTC Startups - series II

Following suit to Series I presenting just some of UTC’s start-ups, we offer our readers the Series II which will continue on UTC’s WebTV facility and via our social network pages. They indeed are the living proof that UTC through it’s a la carte pedagogy and its training/research continuum enhances the maturing and personal development of all its students, encouraging them to express and release their creative and innovative talents.

38 : UTC Startups - series II

Timeshot, the simple way to share snaps of an event

Is there a simple, immediate way to share snap-shots of an event for all those present? The answer is ‘Yes’: Timeshot, an ‘app’ developed by three UTC undergraduates (Lucas Willemote, Nicolas Zantour and Valentin Paul) presented at the recent Start-up Weekend.

 

It all started out of sheer curiosity, when I decided with Nicolas Zantour and Valentin Paul to attend the Start-up Weekend, in fact to learn how you launch a business from scratch”, explains Lucas Willemote, doing an engineering apprenticeship course in Computer science and applications. “But the idea of this ‘app’ came when I was at a surfing event with some 60 or so other UTC undergrads”, he adds. “At the end of the one week stay, we simply had not managed to get everyone’s photos collected together – the reason was that there was no easy way to do it. So I thought, wouldn’t it be terrific if we had an ‘app’ that solved the problem. After the Start-up Weekend, our team came second* with an ‘app’ called Picatch’Us (renamed since as Timeshot). And the enthusiasm raised round our project was such that we decided to pursue; our ‘app’ met the requirements perfectly”, says Lucas.

The Timeshot ‘app’ should enable any user to create a photo album that can immediately be shared by all present at the event. But as Lucas sees it: “the problem with this sort of app is that you have to store the photos, on server stations and that calls for a hefty infrastructure. So, what we decided was to use an existing format, viz., Facebook®”.

 

After downloading the ‘app’ (available for Android and iOS), users connect to their Facebook® account and the ‘app’ automatically recovers all the Facebook® events that one intends to attend. During one of these events, when the user takes a photo with the ‘app’, the photo will be displayed immediately on the relevant Facebook® page. Anyone present, whether they have downloads the ‘app’ or not, will be able to see all the photos on Facebook. But why did they make the choice of Facebook®? “Today, a large majority of events where students get together are already on Facebook® - birthday parties, festivals, concerts, barbecues … so it was a logical move to use Facebook® to rapidly and simply share the photos taken. Facebook® also allows self-promotion, since the photos published via our ‘app’ are marked. Moreover, it allowed us to develop our ‘app’ much faster since we didn’t have to accommodate the issues of storing-archiving. When all is said and done, we developed the functionalities in the core of our ‘app’ over a 4-5 week period. Nonetheless, it was quite a race towards the end of 2015, striking a balance between classwork and our start-up”, adds Lucas®.

Several events organized by students at UTC, such as the Imaginarium Festival, have allowed the team to progress in offering a scale-one test area. This enables several improvements to be made in the app through user experience “For the moment, we are three: Valentin Paul, majoring in Computer science and applications like me», explains Lucas, and Nicolas Zantour, doing Mechanical engineering and who envisages moving to an entrepreneurship-elite status. We also rely a lot on project workshops at UTC to progress. This we saw a group that analyses the market competition and which defined a ‘launch’ strategy and another worked on our business plan. We made the best use possible of all the resources that UTC offers!” says Lucas enthusiastically.

In reference to the business model, if the ‘app’ is totally free for the users, “we will then propose a wall-image format to the agencies that organize events, a wall on which the photos taken by the participants”, reveals Lucas, “a wall on which they can display publicity for commercial partners”.

But our three students are already thinking ahead: “We now envision the possibility for users to download those photos they prefer. Next step, depending on the evolution of the start-up, but also the changes in Facebook®! Of course, we retain the option of being able to back off to our initial idea, i.e., the possibility and to store our own photos directly with the ‘app’, on our own”.