British Students' Entertainment App Wins MS Contest - InformationWeek
12:32 PM

British Students' Entertainment App Wins MS Contest

SoundSYNK, an app by Exeter University undergrads that harnesses cellphone speakers for surround sound, wins the British leg of Microsoft's global student technology creation competition, the Imagine Cup.

Google Nexus 7, Take Two: What To Expect
Google Nexus 7, Take Two: What To Expect
(click image for slideshow)
Have four British university students just created one of the best ever mobile entertainment apps to come out of the U.K.?

Microsoft seems to think so; it just gave the app top prize in the British leg of the company's global student tech Imagine Cup competition.

The prize was won by four University of Exeter students who say they have come up with a way to boost the sound of cellphone MP3 file-based music. The app came out of a hackathon run by SETsquared, a partnership of British universities that work together to support students in enterprise activity, in partnership with a network called OpenMIC and the University of Exeter Students' Guild.

[ Like your entertainment on the move? Read BMW Brings iPhone Apps To Dashboards. ]

The students said they got their idea after complaining to each other about the volume of music playing from their cellphones while they were participating in a 48-hour coding contest. Inspired, they created an app that uses Bluetooth to link together potentially unlimited numbers of mobile phones to stream the same song in perfect timing, effectively creating a "symphony of speakers." As the students say on their charmingly un-corporate website, "We realized if we linked all our phones and laptops and used them as speakers we could have an awesome surround system amongst friends." Hence, the new startup, SoundSYNK.

Off the back of their win, the four have turned some intensive mentoring from Cambridge Cluster-based entrepreneur and former judge in the popular BBC TV show Dragon's Den Doug Richards into a new business, and have even managed to secure seed money of £10,000 ($15,313) from a body called Creative England.

Next for the quartet is taking their app to the Imagine Cup finals in Russia to compete for $50,000 in prize money. "We are absolutely ecstatic. Representing the U.K. is an honor and we are going to do everything we can to win in Russia!" said student Edward Noel.

"Anyone can build an app to a certain degree," said SETsquared's partnership director, Graham Harrison. "But turning it into a successful business, as these students have done, and making the most of the U.K.'s booming app market is another thing entirely."

Natasha Joseph, a representative of the Microsoft Imagine Cup team, also had high praise. "The progress SoundSYNK has made has been incredible. When I first met them, they hardly knew each other; within 48 hours they'd created an amazing idea," she said. "It was clear when they won the regional finals that they were real contenders for the top spot and their pitch presentation yesterday put them head and shoulders above the rest."

Attend Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10, and learn the emerging trends in information risk management and security. Use Priority Code MPIWK by April 29 to save an additional $200 off All Access and Conference Passes. Join us in Las Vegas for access to 125+ workshops and conference classes, 300+ exhibiting companies, and the latest technology. Register for Interop today!

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
2017 State of IT Report
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends for 2018
As we enter a new year of technology planning, find out about the hot technologies organizations are using to advance their businesses and where the experts say IT is heading.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll