Monday, 31 October 2011 13:33

Roamz delivers local knowledge to iPhone

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A new iPhone  app merges and filters data from multiple sources to alert the user to nearby events and venues.

Roamz aims to deliver personalised, real-time information about local events, attractions, restaurants and so on.

Roamz CEO Jonathan Barouch told iTWire that the app is designed to overcome the problem that even with social networks, "it's still too hard to find out about things going on nearby."

"Unless you follow the right people at the right time, you miss out" on events that would have been of interest. Just because none of your friends know about (or care about) a kite festival at a nearby beach, you might stroll down if you heard about it at the right time.

The Roamz servers aggregate data from multiple social media services, filters it according to the user's expressed interests, location, usage history, and other signals provided by the device. Roamz is still learning how best to mine the available data, but has a team of 11 including data scientists and mobile developers working on the problem, Mr Barouch told iTWire.

The app currently works on the iPhone and iPod touch, and the company is considering an Android version. Mr Barouch is enthusiastic about combining Roamz with Siri, for example to respond to "I'm bored" with nearby activities including those that friends or family are engaged in.

There's no charge for the app, and Roamz is looking to monetise it by delivering selective advertising and possibly to earning commissions from venues and other businesses when the app brings a paying customer to the event, restaurant, or whatever. "We want to do it in a way that's consistent with the product," said Mr Barouch, and pointed out that Sydney-based Roamz received funding from Salmat, which has deep relationships with advertisers.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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