NSW developers shine in national apps competition

6 September 2013

Chris Hanger.

A clever app developed in Sydney that allows students access to the best online tutoring took out the top award in a prestigious national competition announced on Monday, 2 September, 2013.

Sydney app developer Lexi Thorn's Tutor Bee won Best App category in the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation's (ACBI) Apps4Broadband competition along with $20,000 in prize money at a presentation in Sydney.

Other NSW category winners included developers of a smoke alarm app that sent an alert to the owner's smartphone and called emergency services if there was no response within two minutes and an app that allowed social networks to discuss favourite TV shows as they aired.

The winning Tutor Bee app has tapped into a potentially huge market. According to IBISWorld market research, private tutoring was worth around $1.17 billion in Australia in 2012, but only two per cent of the market is online, creating geographical and other barriers.

Ms Thorn's app breaks down those barriers and creates an avenue for students to access the tutor they want by utilising broadband bandwidth for an effective online learning experience.

For example, if a student is studying for a topic and having difficulty, they can use Tutor Bee to search the topic and be instantly directed to a list of tutors categorised by their individual ratings and areas of expertise.

Tutors who are part of the Tutor Bee system can then provide online tutoring services through virtual whiteboard, chat and drawing features.

Director of ACBI Colin Griffith said Tutor Bee also won ACBI's Best Business to Business App and was joint winner of Best Health, Education and Social Services App.

Other Sydney-based category winning apps included Pass the Popcorn, an app that allows for personalised social discussion around catch-up television, and the Bop Smoke Alarm app that manages alerts, false alarms and battery replacement for smoke detectors.

"These apps highlight an exciting future. We are living on the dawn of a new "app" age, where next generation broadband will allow us to more effectively manage our lives online and remotely," Mr Griffith said.

"It's estimated that by 2020 the average person will own six smart devices connecting us to more than 37 billion things – from cows in the paddock to our cars and washing machines. App development utilising this connectivity potential is crucial to future innovation."

NSW Trade & Investment Acting Executive Director Chris Hanger thanked the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation for organising the competition.

"The Apps4Broadband competition is a tremendous forum to acknowledge and celebrate Australia's app-developers, their creativity, brilliance and contribution to our lives," Mr Hanger said.

"These apps demonstrate the innovative thinking of our Aussie developers as well as the huge potential of the applications and wider digital and tech industry, especially when married to cutting edge broadband."

The NSW Government has a range of initiatives in place to foster the growth of the State's digital credentials as part of efforts to strengthen and grow a strong economy.

The apps4nsw program was designed to support app developers' efforts to make government data more accessible and useful to people and industry.

Innovate NSW, run by NSW Trade & Investment, connects technology businesses in key sectors of the NSW economy to develop globally competitive business-to-business solutions that address compelling needs.

For more information on the future trends in broadband applications and for a full list of winners from the Apps4Broadband competition, download ACBI's 'App-treneur's Guide to Broadband Connected Services'.