Stephen Mabie was a runner-up from the Western Cape in the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) Small Business Stars competition for his application GeoSpark, an idea formed almost two years ago and currently under development.
“GeoSpark is an application that is going to be developed for smartphones, which is a location based model,” Mabie told HumanIPO. He added the app will be available on Blackberry devices first, before other smartphones, desktop computers and tablets.
The app should be ready for download through Blackberry’s App World on January 5, but Mabie said the app is still in its early testing phase.
GeoSpark is currently being developed by Vertex Web Design, a professional relationship Mabie describes as “a blessing”. Once GeoSpark is ready and the submission process approved, it will be launched onto BlackBerry App World through Vertex Web Design’s vendor account.
“I don’t want to release it in the Blackberry App World yet because all the bugs aren’t sorted out. That will be the quickest way to cause people to delete the app - if it doesn’t work properly,” said Mabie.
According to Mabie, this is because the Blackberry has “flooded the South African market”, but creating the GeoSpark platform for Blackberry is not without its challenges.
“At the moment you have your Blackberry 8520s that run on version 5 (Blackberry operating software) and the Blackberry Bolds that run on version 6 and up, so its like building a different app for each version of Blackberry software.
“Android also has a lot of challenges, but it’s a whole different interface perspective.”
On how the product works, Mabie said: “GeoSpark picks up the phone’s GPS and shows you where you are. Based on that, it will show you all the retail offers that are in a certain area or from a 20 kilometer radius. It works on Geo location, hence where the name comes from.”
This means subscribers will be able to compare prices before making a purchasing decision.
GeoSpark also offers social matching, which is calculated according the information supplied on the subscriber’s profile. “So if you’re looking for a tennis buddy or business minded people, different types of events or a certain crowd, you’ll be able to do it through the app,” said Mabie. In addition to this the application will also accommodate instant messaging.
Mabie’s plans for GeoSpark’s future include an expansion into other African countries and a location based alert system, which can be used to notify the police of trouble or hailing a cab after a night out.