Once upon a time, when we were wee honours students with our whole careers ahead of us, we went to some conferences. Those conferences were our first exposure to academic networking; it was exciting, new, strange, hectic but wonderful. And so began our start to build our networks - such a fascinating experience!

That was 8 months ago! Such a long time ago really. These conferences are all just blurs, in our memories, however this leads us to a problem; from those conferences we remember few if any names of people we met, let alone other contact details.

I remember what we talked about like; where they worked, what they worked with, and even some stories about the good old days of game arcades!

But that doesn't help me network now that I'm a post-graduate looking for jobs with no names or other details to contact.

If only there was an app that could have helped me network at an event... This has lead us to make Conference Connect.

What it does

Conference Connect is a networking app for conferences and conventions, and down the line, who knows maybe other things, like sports games and rock concerts. This app is a conference curation tool. No scratch that the conference curation tool. Initially we aim to make a basic concept app that pulls LinkedIn profiles locally via bluetooth connection. Before establishing a full conference organisation platform.

How we built it

This is an Android app at the moment, and is made in Java. It will access the LinkedInn API when user A's bluetooth contacts user B's bluetooth for a minimum of 10 seconds, as this is likely to indicate these two users are talking, or intending to talk to each other.

Challenges we ran into

Well, funny thing is...we have no experience with Android app design. There are programmers, but...they don't understand how Android app design works. So this was one of the biggest problem we experienced.

As for more serious problems, there was a very real problem with scope creep; that's to say, so many good ideas! But with little experience and only 48 hours, most of it was unreasonable, but not necessarily impossible. Regardless, these ideas are good ideas, and we'd like to continue this app outside of U-hack.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We worked as a team, and we had fun...except for the guy with the sprained ankle. Maybe we shouldn't have made him present...whoops!

But in all seriousness, two of our team members have learnt how to code for Android in under 48 hours. It might not be the best, however that is important as it's a starting point for all of us as a team. We're very proud of idea. We feel like we've successfully found a niche that needs to be filled. We have created a product that not only do we want to use, that other's will want to use.

And we didn't kill each other, in fact we are somehow still friends at the end of it.

What we learned

Our team worked together to build an application and program from the ground up. Importantly learning about group development, planning and business practice. The wonderful mentors and judges helped throughout the event to make us understand how to make our ideas real.

What's next for Conference Connect

Conference Connect will continue development, incorporating interactivity and flexibility into the platform, allowing conference organisers to sign up to the service quickly and painlessly. The attendees will see ongoing service improvements, increasing the accuracy of the device when detecting relevant connections and guiding them effectively through their events.

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