Appy Monday – FoodCloud

 
On this weeks AppyMonday we’re looking at FoodCloud, an Irish App and initiative co-created by Trinity students Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien. 
 
Foodcloud is an app that lets businesses upload details of their excess food. The service then texts a local charity, who in turn can pick up the donation and share it with those who need it.
Ward and O’Brien looked at ways to get food that would otherwise be discarded into the hands of these people. They estimate that Irish retailers produce about 87,000 tonnes of surplus food a year, most of which is dumped at a cost of €8.5 million. With no existing redistribution infrastructure they set up FoodCloud.
 
The App itself is very basic but that isn’t an issue; it gives the retailer a very simple signup process to get them up and running and able to submit their details quickly and easily.
 
The largest retailer to work with FoodCloud has been Tesco who trialled the service from October 2013 to February 2014 in 18 Tesco stores and donated almost 60,000 meals or 27 tonnes of food to 38 charities. They now plan to roll out the service to their stores nationwide.
 
Any charities or  retailers  who are interested in participating can register with the app or visit www.foodcloud.ie for more information.

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Appy Monday – BeoirFinder Supporting Craft Beer in Ireland

Craft Beer has become very popular in Ireland in recent years with microbreweries and brewpubs popping up all over the country not to mention the ever growing list of pubs stocking the extensive and sometimes daunting list of beers.
 
BeoirFinder aims to make the finding and the drinking of said beers much easier. Developed by Beoir.org who are “an independent group of consumers with a primary goal of supporting and raising awareness of Ireland’s native independent microbreweries”, it uses the extensive database of Beoir.org.
 
The App’s name comes from the Gaelic word for Beer. While a great choice of name for an Irish beer app it actually makes it difficult to locate in the app store and doesn’t appear for typical search terms you would use if searching for an app like this.
 
The interface is simple and to the point. It is broken down into four sections, Maps, Venues, Beers, and Events. The Map screen shows your location and icons for venues nearby. These can be filtered to narrow your viewing to pubs, breweries or even off licences.
 
  
 

The next tab is an extensive list of beers, a description of them, and the ability to rate and leave comments for each beer. A must have feature for the beer connoisseur.

 

Finally the Events section which as of writing is empty. A quick visit to the Beoir.org website shows upcoming events so hopefully this will be something that is fixed or updated in the next version.

Overall a really great app that will only improve with the planned updates and a must have for people new to the craft beer scene and those already enjoying it.

The app is free to download from the iTunes store and Google Play store.

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Let’s B*Different: Lorna Sixsmith Talks Self-Publishing

Life on the farm can be hectic, Can you tell us how the book idea came about? 

It was inspired by a blog post entitled ‘Advice to those considering marrying a farmer’ which was written in a very tongue in cheek style in September 2012. The inspiration for the blog post came after a session of sorting cattle with my husband! It became really popular and I started thinking about writing a book in April 2013 and went on to write 10,000 words. I attended a talk on crowdfunding in Wales in early June and decided to run a crowdfunding campaign to determine if there was sufficient interest in the book (testing the market) and to raise some finance via pre-orders of the book.

The campaign ended successfully on 20th August and I received delivery of a thousand copies of ‘Would You Marry A Farmer?’ on 29th November, selling 750 before Christmas. I have now printed a second print run and it is available in all good bookshops. 

Can you give some advice to people interested in self publishing a book? Workload, Important factors to consider?

Keep writing and write a little every day. Most self publishers will be working full time so it’s important to stay motivated and keep at it.

Be realistic about the costs involved. Even if you just self publish on kindle rather than print it out too, the costs will still include an editor and an illustrator for the front cover design as an absolute minimum. 

Set yourself a deadline and stick to it. It could be very easy to keep editing and tinkering with the manuscript – sometimes you just have to take that jump and publish. However, do leave sufficient time for a good edit.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media in terms of growing brand awareness about your book and helping you to get free press coverage. 

Getting the word out about your book will be more work that you might imagine, particularly if you have printed it and want to get it into bookshops but it will all pay off. 

You went the crowd funding route, what was the response like? and would you recommend it?

Crowdfunding is hard work, it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted and I would argue that a strong online following is essential for success. However, it is so worthwhile. The benefits are so much more than financial – it generates brand awareness, publicity and pre-sales. It gives you increased confidence in your book and it allows you to test the market. 

You’re writing another book in 2014, will you change the way you do any of it? 

In some ways, I need to run another crowdfunding campaign if only to give myself a strict deadline!  Although I’m writing another book, I’m also working on marketing and selling the first one. I’m going to be selling it at the Sheep Shearing Festival in Gorey next weekend and I’m judging the Blue Jeans Country Queen festival in Athboy the weekend after. I’m delighted to have just heard that I’m being interviewed on TV3 Ireland AM next Monday morning. 

This book is a different genre so I’m still undecided as to whether I will print it out or not or just sell it as an ebook. 

What was the highlight of the process for you? 

Being interviewed by Ryan Tubridy (as he really knows his books) and hearing him describe it in such glowing terms. 

‘Would You Marry a Farmer’ is available in all good bookshops now. It can be purchased on Kindle and ordered online from irishfarmerette.com

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Appy Monday – Skyscanner

I have been using this app for quite a while, but it’s only since the weekend just gone that I have realised what a gem it truly is.

After meeting up with friends over a coffee, we decided that we should look into booking a city break away in the new year. Normally, one person it left with the task, and a gazillion emails on flight options later we either give up or someone ends up with less hair! Not this time, while we were all there, I took out the phone and opened the Skyscanner app, selected dates that suited us all, inputted the information and in less than a minute, we had our options right in front of us. 

Skyscanner is the handiest go-to app for checking flights. Not only is it free for iPhone & android, there are no service charges for booking through Skyscanner either. ‘SkyScanner saves you time and money by finding the cheapest flights, fast. It’s free, flexible and simple to use’. – Basically, it does exactly what it says on the tin!

It is so easy to use, just input where you are looking to fly to and where from, it even lets you have a wide search, so instead of selecting Dublin, you can select Ireland, and it will pull up flights from all suitable airports in Ireland flying to your destination.

You can also filter your results by price, airline and take-off and landing times. Skyscanner has the option of chart view, which lets you see prices for flights across a particular week or month.

For those feeling a bit more adventurous, you can select the ‘anywhere’ destination, choose your travel dates, and it will show you what countries are available and the cheapest price for flights to that country. How much time does that save you jumping back and forth on Ryanair’s app looking for the cheapest city break for a particular weekend?? A lot, plus your nerves will stay intact 😉 For that reason alone, this app gets my vote!

Skyscanner will give you your journey breakdown, showing which airline carrier, flight departing/arrival times, flight duration and of course the price per person, in a simple eye scanning layout. 

Once you have chosen your flight, Skyscanner gives you the option of sharing flight information (through email, social media, text etc., handy if you are researching that group city break!) or booking the flights. Once you hit ‘book’, Skyscanner will redirect you to the airline carrier to continue with your purchase.

So have you any plans yet for the October bank holiday?! Skyscanner may give you a few options 😉

 

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Appy Monday – Publin

It was only a matter of time before Publin released their app after the success that they have received with their facebook and Twitter following.

Publin is the new free app to find pubs and drinks promotions that are on in and around the city. The app gives you the option of searching for a particular pub or you can use the GPS on your phone to locate pubs close to you and give you information on those pubs such as drink prices, offers, wifi, opening hours, disabled toilets, craft beer etc. You can also search pubs by amenities, for example beer gardens, handy for those (rare) sunny Sunday sessions! All this information in one handy app.

The app is also linked with their facebook and twitter feeds, so that you can keep up to date with the daily deals that are currently going on in the city. Publin seem to have a good relationship with the different pubs around the city, who will contact Publin about their offers.

The creators have plans to further develop the app to include deals from pubs, event listing and other entertainment. 

 

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New Guinness Ad receives over 4 Million hits in 7 days

The new amazing, heartwarming and totally unexpected (we could go on!) Guinness wheelchair ad has racked up a serious 4.4 million hits on YouTube since its release 7 days ago. And it’s no wonder, Guinness are well known for their ads, and this one is no exception, however it comes with an unpredictable twist that will pull on both the girls AND the boys heart strings, not an easy feat for a drinks company. We won’t ruin the ad for you, but at the end you just may have to wipe that tear from your eye, pick up the phone and organise that date with the buddies for a pint of the black stuff.

As the narrator says;   

Dedication. Loyalty. Friendship. 

 

The choices we make, reveal the true nature of our character.

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Appy Monday – Hailo

We’ve all struggled to flag down a taxi, at one time or another. St. Patrick’s day, Halloween, or even just a regular Friday night, you can be left standing out on the curb, in the cold, for what seems like an eternity before you manage to commandeer yourself one of those elusive, fluorescent lit chariots. Even ordering one from your own home to head out on the town can be a labour in itself! 

Hailo changes all that. You sign in to the app, with the usual account creation mumbo-jumbo, and it uses wi-fi, gps or your internet connection to not only locate you, but also the closest available taxi to you. 

It gives you an estimated time of arrival, details on the driver, and the ability to select what type of cab you need (whether it be standard or 6-seater, etc.). It even allows you to choose whether to pay in cash, or to set up your account with a credit or debit card. So you can get home, even if you don’t have any money on you! 

It’s fantastically simple to use, free to download, and performs beautifully. No calling, organising, or any fuss. Just flick it on, and within a couple of clicks you’ll have your transport provided in a few short minutes. 

You can’t get home without it! 

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Young Irish Entrepreneurs Spotlight – Focail Iontacha

Young Irish entrepreneur Alex Whelan from County Cork answered a few questions for B*Different on behalf of Focail Iontacha on what appearing on Junior Dragons Den with the board game Focail Iontachahas done for the business.

How was your business doing before appearing on Junior Dragons Den?

Before appearing on JDD our business was only in the early developing stages as we specifically made the business and product for the purpose of entering the competition. Before the show we focused mainly on the creation of the game and the physical product aspect of the business as our aim was to have it ready to present to the dragons.

How has the show helped you?

The show has helped us by providing us with some urgently needed start-up cash and has also acted as a vital source of advertising for our company as many of our customers know us from Dragons’ Den and related events. This has been our primary source of advertisement as we are running on a low budget and so has been essential for us! 

What have you done since the show?

Since the show we have had the game produced and it has gone to market. Our sales are doing well considering our limited marketing and advertisement to date and we have managed to get our game into a popular retailer for school books in Cork City with no mark up. This is a great opportunity for our game as it maximizes potential for profit and makes distribution easier! We have been busy giving demonstrations to schools in our area as well as making influential contacts in Gaeltacht regions. We are continuously looking for new funding ideas and searching for grants to help us with our new business and relieve some of the financial burden! 

What are your plans for the next year?

We plan to re release the game in August/September when the school year is to begin again as this will be prime time to sell to schools and parents who are in search of Irish resources. We hope that our game can feature on The Late Late Toy Show as this would be brilliant advertising for the Christmas market, which will be very busy for us with educational toys back in vogue. We are planning to do a press launch sometime during the summer and we hope to get some celebrity endorsement as we travel around the county to various summer shows and festivals with the game! Over all we hope to reach our target sales of 1000 units so that we can go ahead with the next phase of Focail Iontacha! 

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Social Platform Phlok to create 100 jobs with $600,000 investment

Phlok Helping People Shop Local!

 

Irish owned Social Platform Phlok, are delighted to announce the creation of 100 new jobs over the coming 18 months following investment of $600,000.

With the investment of $600,000 from private and institutional investors, Phlok will be recruiting over 100 new staff in the areas of Software Development, Sales, Training and Account Management over the coming months across the island of Ireland.

Phlok is a unique rewards platform that offers end-users the opportunity to earn virtual currency as they interact with businesses on Phlok. Paul Graham (CEO) said, “Gaining these investors allows us to execute on our vision to assist local businesses to attract consumers back to their main streets.  Phlok’s goal is to connect local businesses with local people incentivising consumers to Shop Local.

 

Having launched just six months ago Phlok has already gained 300 businesses throughout Ireland including shops, restaurants, bars, off licenses, pharmacies, coffee shops, car dealerships, clothes retailers and even clairvoyants. Phlok businesses have already witnessed in excess of €200,000 worth of sales and over 10,000,000 social media impressions occur through Phlok’s innovative platform.

A unique social media concept, Phlok is the new web and smartphone platform that incentivises consumers with virtual currency (Phlok points), collectable and spendable with any business on the Phlok network. Businesses worry less about their social media presence as their customers are promoting them when collecting their Phlok points and consumers gain more than Phlok points, they are exposed to exclusive promotions that local businesses can target them with from time to time. The innovation with Phlok is the ability to collect immense value as a consumer without it costing any individual business more than a few cents. Phlok points accumulate extremely quickly and can become quite addictive, bringing people back to Main Street more often. 

Paul added “We established Phlok to be the key digital incentive platform and become pervasive in the marketplace. Phlok is becoming an additional integral element of the business to business and business to consumer economy.  Our overall aim is to get local customers to transact more often with local business and support an ongoing vibrant community. Phlok makes the term ‘Shop Local’ make sense

The impact that Phlok can have on a business is extremely measurable. Phlok’s Business Control Panel gives simple to use and vital information on the people that have connected with them on the Phlok platform. Not only, can they see who is connected to them, but they get visibiity of key consumer data based on spending habits with the ability to communicate individually or by demographic group when encouraging them to try their service or product.

Phlok is not targeted at a specific demographic, in the past six months statistics have shown a range of user profiles expanding across all ages, professions and geographical areas.Phlok uses virtual currency incentives to make social media easy and profitable for businesses giving consumers a reason to shop local.

To download Phlok, click here

Phlok for business, click here 

To visit the main Phlok website, click here 

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KickStarting 21st Century Patronage with Kickstarter

The greatest artists of history required the financial assistance of the wealthy when they wanted to undertake projects. Fast forward centuries and how do modern-day innovators fund their work? Well, there’s a site for that. That site is the four year old KickStarter. It is the new facilitator in canvassing people for money in backing your proposed project. You create a page with your proposal, the amount you are targeting to collect and date by which you want to collect it by. If visitors to the site have not pledged the complete target amount by your proposed date, then the project is cancelled and the creators receive no money.

The creator who proposed the project retains 100% ownership. Why do people support such projects and initiatives when they do not receive any shareholding in the company themselves? It is quite simple. In most scenarios the pledger may just receive an early copy of the album if they have supported an artist, or a discounted unit of the product if they back an engineer. Sometimes it is products that visitors to the site wish to see created and will gladly support its development in the hope of the product being brought to market. Once such example of this type of project is the Pebble Watch. This watch is the most supported venture ever on the KickStarter site, with the project having over $10,250,000 pledged from 68,928 visitors to the site. This is far greater than the relatively smaller sum of $100,000 that the creators originally targeted to collect.

This new form of crowd sourcing could be the way forward for anyone looking to fund any ideas, but the reach of such sites comes at a cost. Traditionally you may have been able to cross the street if someone was looking for funding, but now they can send you the link anywhere and at anytime. Not only that, but one may also receive a large number of requests from connections in your network that you may not know very well from all over the globe.

There is also the perceived lack of control by site management over what appears on the site and what happens to the money that has been raised. The creator could easily just used the money to go on holidays. There is no assurance that the cash will be used responsibly or efficiently or at all. The site also charges a 5% administration fee, excluding the 3-5% additional charge that Amazon charges to process the money. A 10% collectors fee is still better than the assignment not starting at all due to cash flow difficulties.

With the site’s vices in mind, it is still difficult to ignore the impact it is having and its potential into the future. KickStater claims that over 4.3 million people have pledged over $670 million, but we don’t know what proportion of this figure has been passed onto project creators.

Also striking is the power of the cumulative help of modern day patrons. Similar to Obama’s election fundraising strategy, it may be more beneficial to have many smaller donators rather than a limited number of larger givers.

So it’s the working class helping first time artists and developers? Well, not in all cases. For example Zach Braff , star of the hit TV sitcom Scrubs, raised over $3.1 million dollars for his film “Wish I was Here”. Braff has an estimated net worth of $22 million so it really proves that the site is open to all. Celebrities like Braff, and others with large social media following, can really effectively raise money.

With Braff passionately supporting  KickStarter, and with other well-known faces almost certain to utilize the sites tools in the future, it would appear that the sites success and popularity is only set to rise. So why don’t you post that project that you’ve always wanted to complete but never had the support of the cash? If you do, please send us on a link so we can help you in your efforts. 

About The Author: 

Shane McCarthy Business Information Systems student in University College Cork. 

Shane can be found tweeting from @TechShane and is always open to chats about business and technology! 

Check out his Webasite, Twitter and linkedin

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Part 3: A Need to BDifferent – Claremorris Colts RFC

As the season entered the home straight we were about to have our biggest moment as a club to date. Firstly our girls were chosen as the Connacht representative to attend the Aviva mini rugby festival in Ashbourne, Co. Meath. In a truly magical day our girls were fantastic in the way they conducted themselves on and off the pitch. Then in early April our secretary got a letter to say we were one of three nominations for Connacht rugby club of the year for the 2011/12 season.

To say we were shocked was an understatement, however although we were nominated we really didn’t think we would win as other nominees Connemara RFC & Loughrea RFC were more established than us and surely in our view in with a better chance of winning.

A wedding on the same night meant I was unable to attend the black tie affair in the Connemara Coast Hotel however when the phone rang at approx 11pm I knew from the crackling voice on the other end we had done it. Connacht rugby club of the year in our third season WOW!

As the season wound down things got even busier for us in the committee room. Recently we acquired 5 acres of land in town and we knew we had to put a plan together to fund the development of the grounds.  George Hook agreed to broadcast his Newstalk show the Right Hook live from the McWilliam Park hotel Claremorris. We then held the launch of our pitch development fundraiser that night in the McWilliam. The following day we planned a scrum clinic for local coaches,  truly was a rugby first for the West of Ireland.

So the Newstalk crew rolled into Claremorris on the Friday afternoon with George all set to do his thing. Club chairman Fergal Leonard and yours truly even got 10 minutes on air with the gregarious broadcaster to help spread the rugby gospel country wide.

It didn’t stop there however as later that night came the launch of the ‘Buy a Sod’ campaign. The draw was launched by a who’s who of the rugby world including, George Hook , ex Irish international Jim Glennon, current Connacht captain and Mayo man Gavin Duffy, world renowned scrum coach the great Roly Meates and ex Connacht, Munster and Wasps man Peter Bracken. The idea of the night was to boost the profile locally and help generate some sales. As the night went on the four post squares were auctioned off to crowd who had assembled.  The auctioneer for the night was Jim Glennon who judging by his performance certainly has a backup career if he ever gives up the day job. It was a fantastic night for all involved with the club.

The club also received a huge surprise on the night when local women Liz Killeen presented the club with an Ireland jersey signed by the grand slam winning squad of 2009 on behalf or her cousin John ‘The Bull’ Hayes who could not attend on the night, but promised to give the Claremorris Colts ‘New Field’ the once over once it was up and running.

The fun didn’t stop there as the Mayo club had an even bigger day planned for Saturday. We organised a Scrum Clinic and invited every club in Connacht to send their youth rugby coaches along to the clinic and hear the rugby bible according to Roly Meates. We also organised a Family Day and invited all locals to come and watch the scrum clinic and enjoy the activities such as bouncy castles, face painting, a BBQ and many others.

There was a fantastic turnout with over 70 coaches from across Connacht learning from Roly Meates, George Hook and Peter Bracken. Roly Meates gave a master class in how to coach the scrum and I can certainly say that every coach learned something new from the great man. There were also an army of parents and helpers on hand to ensure everything ran smoothly on the day and more importantly everybody got fed and watered. This was a truly magical rugby weekend from a fledging club and we now plan to build on this success and know we must continue to grow if Claremorris RFC are to have a home of their own in the very near future.

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