Tuesday, 23 January 2018 00:23

VIDEO: Social IM app Sweep swoops on Geochats and future AR to 'engage users'

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New Australian start-up, Sweep, has its eponymous app using geo-location, messaging and AR skills to allow users dubbed "Sweepers" to "discover and interact in the world around them".

Will Sweep users be swept up in the latest social augmented reality craze, allowing them to use "Geochats to join conversations with other Sweepers in the same location and find content in close vicinity?"

We'll know later this year when Sweep's AR functionality launches in the app, but the company, which bills itself as the "Social App of 2018", and whose company video is embedded below, said "Sweep was born from the desire to move away from the current environment where people are retreating into a private world, posting quietly from a distance and not engaging with their current surroundings."

We're told that "Geochats" is the app's "initial hero feature", which lets those aforementioned "Sweepers unlock exclusive chats in their location using innovative geo-location technology and chat to connected people in the physical world through their phones".

Thus, "the aim of Sweep is to encourage users to connect in real life, as well as the digital world and bring the community back together".

It is "aimed primarily at millennials and digital natives", with the company stating "Sweep creates a new way for people and businesses to connect with each other. Whether you are at a large-scale event, waiting for a train or hanging out with friends at a bar; Sweep provides a way for people to chat and connect in a hyperlocal area."

Sweep's "exclusive chats" can be done for now in various locations, with "the first batch of venues" being "in Sydney, Gold Coast, Melbourne and Byron Bay".

At the app's App Store description (links to iOS and Android at the end of the article), we see the following description:

"Sweep is a brand new FREE app that allows you to engage with the world around you in a completely new way.

"Whether you’re sitting at a bar, a lecture hall at uni or waiting for your train, Sweep’s unique Geochat features allow you to unlock exclusive chats in your location.

"Geochats aren’t just like any online chat room, only people that are in the same area as you, are able to access that chat. As soon as you enter a venue with a Geochat available, you can instantly chat and connect with the people around you. Ask everyone for a beer recommendation, request a song to the bar staff or get notified when happy hour is nearly over.

"Find someone funny in the chat that you want to get to know better? Follow them and chat to them privately as well. Our mission is to bring the community together in new and exciting ways."

The app was "engineered by millennial entrepreneurs Mez Gallifuoco, Sweep's chief product and growth officer, and Michael Cerbara, Sweep's chief technology officer" with the idea "conceived through their combined curiosity of how technology can transform the ways people interact with the world and each other".

With Gallifuoco's expertise in social media and psychology and Cerbara's background in technology, Sweep was "developed to reconnect people".

The company says the pair were friends first, both working in separate start-ups prior to coming together.

Cerbara said: “We had always discussed emerging technologies and the ways in which those technologies could change our everyday lives.”

Gallifuoco added: “We are excited to launch Sweep. Sweep was born from our passion to create a product that remedies the disconnect people feel with current social media. We spoke to users to ensure we built something that achieves that aim in an engaging way. Sweep’s use of geo-location and chat makes this idea a reality.”

With social media having caused a sensation over the years, the company notes it it nevertheless "has contributed to reduced real-life interaction and discourages people from creating more meaningful, in-person connections with one another".

Gallifuoco continued: “Now, Sweepers can link up at pubs, clubs and venues and discover like-minded people in a more engaging way. Sweep will transform communications through virtual discovery and position itself at the cusp of the technology revolution.”

The company also announced the release of its "exclusive and first-of-its-kind Augmented Reality feature which it will be trailing during O-Week. The Sweep app is one of the first to have successfully combined location-based messaging in a social setting, with augmented reality experiences."

The Sweep technology stacks contain six augmented reality and location-based capabilities, including:

  1. Marker AR (use of visual triggers)
  2. Marker-less AR (invocation of AR content without a visual marker)
  3. Geo-based AR (use of GPS maps)
  4. Geo-chats (location triggered public chats)
  5. Beacon-based AR (use of Bluetooth & Wi-Fi to invoke AR content)
  6. Filter-based AR (use of filters via computer vision to invoke AR content)

Since it’s initial launch late last year, Sweep reports garnering "over 7000 monthly active users, with a conversion and activation rate of 71%, more than twice the industry benchmark".

We're also told that the Sweep app is "currently sitting in the 98th percentile in terms of organic conversion rate in the Google Play store with 59.6% of all people who visit the store page downloading the app."

On top of all of this, Sweep has at least one very interesting director, and parent company.

The company states it is "under the umbrella of innovative technology company, Thred" which recently announced the appointment of "Rob James to the company’s board of directors, taking the role of independent non-executive director of the board effective immediately."

James is said to bring with him "a wealth of experience as a chief information and digital leader across the public and commercial sectors".

Most notably, James is the CTO of Australian airline, Qantas.

Speaking of his appointment, James commented: “Augmented Reality is an emerging technology with enormous growth potential. I believe Thred has all the ingredients to become a top-tier player in this market. I am looking forward to adding value to their growth plans and building on their early success.”

Sweep is available now on iOS and Android through the App Store and Google Play

Here is the company's video:

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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