Sync the City 2016: Friday update

November 18, 13:38

Sync the City 2016 is now well underway, and it’s a hive of activity here at the King’s Centre, Norwich.

Last night, twenty-nine creative thinkers took to the stage to pitch their business or non-profit idea. Those twenty-nine were whittled down to just twelve teams, who are now working hard to develop their business idea ahead of the live pitch tomorrow night. That’s when the panel of judges will pick their favourite, and everyone else gets the chance to pick their ‘people’s choice’ winner.

With £4,000 in prizes up for grabs, the stakes are high for our busy teams.

If you couldn’t make the opening pitches last night, check out our video roundup of the event:

Each of the twelve teams took time out of their hectic schedule to chat to us about how they’re getting on so far. Here’s what they said…

Team: Eleven
These guys are working on a Google Chrome extension that provides fact-checking and citations for other peoples’ online content. The main selling point is that it will allow readers to see where newspapers have sourced their facts. They anticipate three types of user: moderators, contributors, and consumers. The team hopes it will encourage closer regulation of the media, as journalists will fact-check their peers to ensure accuracy.

Team: Eight
This team is working on a social enterprise designed to show thanks and recognition to under-appreciated public sector organisations. The idea is to give a ‘tiny thank you’ to the staff that work in schools, hospitals, care homes, and hospices, that often don’t receive the recognition they deserve. These will be in the form of vouchers, so staff don’t have to pay for their own milk, tea, or biscuits (as is often the case in these organisations). The funding for these tiny ‘thank yous’ will come from leveraging larger companies that want to make an impact in their community.

Team: One thousand 
Team one thousand are working on a piece of software to help musicians learn song structures. All they have to do is upload the song to the platform, and the software will demonstrate any nuances of the music coming up that the musician needs to be aware of. They think it will be useful for teaching new band members how to play existing material, as well as a useful tool for music teachers. We’re hoping we get to see a live demo at the prototype demonstrations on Saturday afternoon!

Team: Strand 
The first team we spoke to that had actually named their company! These guys are so busy, it’s often just not a priority. Strand’s idea is to collect discarded hair from hairdressers, and use this to make fabric. They argue that it is much more ethical and sustainable than using synthetic and animal fibres. Hair is also incredibly strong – according to them, a head of hair can hold twelve tonnes. That’s as much as a T-rex…

Team: It’s Bookd 
Continuing with the hair theme, these guys are working on a platform for booking appointments at hair salons and barbers. They believe it will offer a simple and convenient solution for customers looking to book hair appointments. They want to integrate it with a messaging system, so customers can book repeat appointments through SMS.

Team: Codename 89
Formed by a group of students from Norwich’s UEA, Codename 89 are working on a sign-in system for university lectures. Currently, the system involves a piece of paper being passed around: simply not up to scratch in their eyes. As well as allowing students to register their attendance quickly and easily, the app will also allow the university to collect data about attendance, as well as student satisfaction, and feedback on course content.

Team: Hector Help 
Hector Help are developing an online chat programme for children suffering for bullying. The chatbot will offer coping mechanisms to children that seek help through Hector Help. Protecting children’s safety is of the utmost importance, so if certain keywords are triggered, the conversation will be referred to a specialist who can help ensure the child’s safety. They believe this will be popular among children who are victims of bullying, as it will allow them to remain anonymous and not single them out as victims.

Team: Prospect
Prospect are developing an online platform to match students with potential internships. They believe that CVs are impersonal, and don’t reveal important information about motivation and personality. Prospect is designed to match students with internships at companies that will be a good fit for them, encouraging better long term success.

Team: Echo Freight
This team are working on a web-based app to streamline and improve efficiency in distribution and logistics systems. Through their own experiences in the sector, they’ve discovered that a lot of time is often wasted if warehouse staff are not available to properly plan for the arrival of deliveries. This system will track delivery drivers by GPS, informing warehouse staff when deliveries are expected so they can plan for it, and letting drivers know what they’re supposed to do when they arrive at their destination.

Team: Room Halo 
This team are working on a product to improve home safety. Battery-powered smoke detectors, while effective, require a lot of maintenance and upkeep. Once the batteries run out, people often remove them and never replace them. Room Halo is a product that plugs into a mains-powered light socket, allowing smoke detectors to be powered through the mains. When the lights are off, it features a rechargeable battery to keep the device active.

Team: Michael 
From a team featuring three Michaels, ‘Michael’ was the obvious name for this AI-powered chatbot. It operates through Facebook Messenger, or hopefully other channels of the user’s choice, and provides suggestions of what’s on near you. Smaller venues can upload their events for free, while bigger venues will be charged a fee to list their evenets. In return, they’ll get lots of data and insight on how customers are buying tickets, and how they can increase attendance.

Team: Pantry 
Pantry is a shopping list platform with a difference: it’s AI-powered, and able to make recommendations based on your preferences for health, ingredients, and family members. It has a parental lock, so parents can stop their children adding expensive goodies to their list without permission.

That’s it for now! We’ll be reporting back with more info on how the teams are doing later in the day!

Photography by: Tim Stephenson Photography