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Local Businesses To Get Online Thanks To Smart Phone App

Nathan Axelsson, Executive Officer RDANI, Matt Savage, Jay Tolhurst, Mark Korsch, My Car and UNE Senior Lecturer Neil Dunstan.
Nathan Axelsson, Executive Officer RDANI, Matt Savage, Jay Tolhurst, Mark Korsch, My Car and UNE Senior Lecturer Neil Dunstan.

A partnership approach between Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI), the University of New England and ‘Locals 4 Locals’ businesses in Armidale has led to the development of an online shopping app by two UNE Computer Science students. The locally developed smart phone app, completed as part of a final-year project by students Matt Savage and Jay Tolhurst and supervised by Senior Lecturer Neil Dunstan, will have real-world benefits for the local business community.

“This is a win-win both for the students and local businesses. It’s a complex and expensive process to design a smart phone application, but these two students have each invested over 150 hours and saved Locals 4 Locals upwards of $10,000 in set-up costs by completing this project as part of their studies,” RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson said.

UNE Student Matt Savage said the application is based on the Locals 4 Locals website and was a valuable learning process for all involved. “Creating an iPhone app is easier said than done. Unlike traditional website-design, it was a steep learning curve and a valuable part of our studies. It’s fantastic to see that the app we created will be used in real life and contribute to the local economy here in Armidale,” Matt said. 

Locals 4 Locals Advocate, Mark Korsch of MyCar Sound and Communication said the app will be an interactive directory for local member retailers.  “The app will provide contact details and locations as well as a newsfeed showing current specials. In the near future we hope to establish a full online shopping website for customers to shop with our members and receive a same day delivery service in town,” Mr Korsch said.

“The threat of online retailing is changing the way many businesses operate in regional areas. This is all about moving with the times, responding better to the needs of our customers and competing on a global scale”.

There are further opportunities for future UNE students to work on Computer Science projects that will contribute to the growth of the region. “We will continue to identify communities or businesses that would benefit from the development of a smart phone or tablet app and put them in touch with students who clearly thrive at the chance to work on practical real-world projects,” Mr Axelsson said.

The ‘Locals 4 Locals’ app is now available in the Apple App Store.

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