14 December 2016
Aspiring entrepreneurs from the University of the Sunshine Coast have taken a high-tech approach to hunger-busting by trialling beacon technology at cafes on campus.
A group of students in the New Venture Operations subject used a beacon platform, developed by local start-up Epicuest, to launch a program that let students and staff access information on daily specials from USC’s Brasserie and Cafe C without setting foot inside.
Beacons are small devices that emit a Bluetooth signal with unique, location-specific information that can be picked up by nearby smart phones.
The students – Felix Drucker, Sam Joyce, Marc Stockreisser and Zak Smareglia – spent 12 weeks developing a full-scale trial of the menu-broadcasting beacons, before presenting their project to Epicuest founders Billy Bowyer and Scotty Thomas.
Sam, 25, said it was satisfying to take a real-world project from start to finish as part of his Business (Supply Chain Management) degree.
“The app works using geographically based notifications and allows users to decide what they would like for lunch from any area of the University,” he said.
“I’m really interested in the startup scene, so it was really helpful to get some hands-on experience with a startup while I was still a student.
“It was really satisfying to be using cutting-edge technology to enhance the experience of staff and students, while working with a local business.”
Mr Thomas said the students had shown tremendous initiative in undertaking market research, implementing the Epicuest trial and analysing the results in a tight time frame.
“We gave them a run down on the technology, and they did the research and came back with their suggestions for how to implement it,” he said.
“I was actually quite blown away – I wasn’t expecting the level of research that they did. It was extremely thorough.
“The report that they presented us with gave us some really good insights into the market, not just at the University, but potentially for other businesses as well.”
— Gen Kennedy