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Google Glass competition emphasizes business aspect for aspring entrepreneurs

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Google Glass competition emphasizes business aspect for aspring entrepreneurs
Celebrating the big win are members of VizorTeam: Shaun Wassell, Ziyad Al Obaidi, Arnaud Crowther. VizorTeam presented their proof of concept for Anthem, a Google Glass application focused on musical improvement.
By Colleen J. Campbell, Digital PR Manager

When Ziyad Al Obaidi walked into his Technology and Leadership Keys (TALK) organization for business students wearing a pair of Google Glasses earlier this year, it got his adviser thinking.

“She started researching ideas for something beneficial to do for OU (with Google Glass) and came up with the Google Glass App Development Competition,” said Al Obaidi. His adviser, Amy Rutledge, is a faculty member in the business school’s Decision and Information Sciences department.

Rutledge wanted to get students on the ground floor exploring technology's newest platform. 

"Google Glass is like where the cell phone was in 2007 with the apps," she said. "There’s nothing built on this, the sky is the limit."

Not only were they building apps with little to no documentation about the platform, the students were charged with creating a business plan. 

"I wanted to get them thinking about sound business ideas. We’ve seen the Internet bubble burst with all these websites that seemed like cool ideas but there were no business concepts behind it," she explained. "If you build it, you won't always make money."

Sponsored by the School of Business Administration and the Oakland University Credit Union, the competition was in two phases. Phase I was judged solely on the business case and Phase II was judged on the presentation of the proof of concept given in late April. 

“Business is everywhere,” said Michael Mazzeo, Dean of the School of Business Administration. “This competition underscored the importance of business planning in new product development. Requiring participants to consider and communicate critical business aspects of their idea gave them a foundation for developing their application beyond the competition. It also provided them with real-world business skills that every young professional — regardless of major or industry — needs to have to succeed.”

Al Obaidi, a junior in computer and electrical engineering, ended up being on the winning team for the competition along with Arnaud Crowther, a senior in Information Technology and Shaun Wassell, a sophomore in Computer Science. 

Now that they’ve won the competition, Al Obaidi said the business case is helping them with that next step.

“When we started we were just hoping to compete in the competition and win some sort of prize,” he said. Then as they built out their app, they started to think about what they would need to do to get it to market.

“As for our next step, we will be using the business case and the ideas we presented in it as a rough guide to developing the software fully,” said Wassell. “We are now forming a start-up called VizorTeam LLC, through which we will develop and publish Anthem and other apps like it.”

From humble beginnings in the Google Glass competition, VizorTeam is anxious to see their idea turn into to a full blown business.

“This has been a very exciting experience for us and it's a pleasure to see it go somewhere,” Wassell said.

ABOUT THE WINNING APP: 

Anthem is complete with tools every musician should have, as well as interactive lessons for beginners and professionals alike.

"Everyone has musical ambitions of some sort, whether it's picking up a musical instrument, learning to sing, or simply improving your musical ear. It's Anthem's job to help make these dreams a reality. By taking advantage of the Glass's hands-free technology, our software gives you access to a host of uniquely developed tools that take your musical abilities to the next level. From absolute beginners to experienced professionals, Anthem has something to offer everybody."