The Splash Report

Team: Canned Noodles

Allison Nam, Nabila Asif, Charles Engelman

The Splash Report

Requested Amount: $50,000

Expected amount of time to complete project: 6 months

Describe your project:

The Splash Report is a mobile application that focuses on bodies of water, specifically lakes, rivers, and ocean front areas that people use for recreational purposes. It provides users with up-to-date information regarding water quality and conditions. This information includes, but is not limited to, water quality, water temperature, presence of any water pollutants, bacterial counts, rip tides, fish health, and fish diversity. The majority of this information is already recorded, often daily, by the park service or beach patrol in certain areas. Many groups are attempting to use different forms of media, like Facebook and Twitter, to distribute this information to the public. The Splash Report will compile all of this data into one user friendly app. Locals, tourists, community organizations, or anyone with the proper interest or knowledge will also have the ability to submit their own findings.

We plan on initially focusing The Splash Report on Michigan and the Great Lakes Region. With the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, Michigan has a strong culture that is tied to the lakes. The state’s economy, tourism, and main resources all relate to the water. The Great Lakes alone contribute around $15 billion to the Midwest economy and 60 million people visit these lakes each year. The Splash Report will provide all the information visitors need about these bodies of water.

The layout of this application is completely interactive. When a person first opens the application, they will be met with a home screen that features a map of the United States. From there, they would choose a specific state and then a county. They then have the option of browsing and selecting a body of water. The app will be modeled after a style that is used by the immensely popular photo-sharing application Instagram. The page for each body of water will include a scrolling layout that features a photo and brief summary for each post. If a person wants to read more, he or she then has the option of expanding the post.

The Splash Report will impact two populations. The first population would be the local community. People would be more prone to visit these spots if they had more information about the conditions of the water. The Splash Report provides relevant information people want and need, such as swimming and sports activity conditions. It would help promote healthy, family-friendly activities. The second population is the scientific community. Our app will allow scientists to have easy access to data from many bodies of water. With this data they would be able to further their own research pursuits. It would create a collaborative environment, furthering development and encouraging positive changes around these bodies of water.

What unmet need does your product meet?

Our product addresses a huge gap in the current market. Right now, there are countless applications that inform users about restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment venues. At the same time, there is a general lack of applications that distribute information about rivers, lakes, and oceans. Communities cannot easily access information regarding beach conditions, pollution levels, fish diversity, and other important factors. Currently, this material is either buried in local government websites, scattered all over social media, or not even provided to the public at all. This is information that the public is interested in and would like to know more about for both recreational and health purposes. It is not only enough to have the data, but our app allows for this information to be very accessible and laid out in a way that makes it easy to comprehend and share. The Splash Report provides a single, user-friendly medium that allows a diverse population to get information regarding water related sites. Lakes, rivers, and oceans are constantly changing, and conditions are never the same day to day. This application provides the user with everything they need to know before visiting, fishing, drinking from, or just learning about these locales.

Interviews:

Lucy Engelman: female, 25, freelance illustrator, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Lucy visits a variety of waterfronts throughout the year. Before she goes out, she likes to know the types of activities available at a certain area, if they allow dogs, and if swimming is permitted. She is able to find limited information on Twitter. Many times she is forced to head out not knowing what to expect.

Kirby Engelman: female, 19, student, splits her year between Savannah, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois

Kirby spends almost every day of the summer at the beach. She enjoys canoeing in a local lagoon and visits the oceanfront in the winter. She would prefer to know the weather, if the location is open or not, water conditions, pollution levels, and wave heights.

Jong Nam: male, 52, president and owner of CIS Tech, San Clemente, California

Nam frequently jogs on the beach, goes fishing and occasionally swims in the water. He is most interested in information regarding the temperature, tidal waves, and health of fish. He would like to know more about beach attendance so that he can go to a site with fewer people.

Ryan Asif: male, 17, high school student, Rochester Hills, Michigan

Ryan currently does not frequent any of the local water sites. He says that he would never think of stepping in the water because he questions how clean it is. If he knew this information, he said that he would go there with his friends after school to swim.

How big is the potential market for your idea?

60 million people visit the Great Lakes annually according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Our app can be useful to every single one of these individuals. The Great Lakes contributes billions of dollars annually to the region’s economy according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Businesses centered around the lakes can take advantage of our app by directly connecting with consumers. 26 million people use the water from the Great Lakes according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The app can provide helpful information to public health researchers and local citizens regarding water safety conditions.

How is your idea innovative, new or different from something already existing?

The Splash Report is completely different from anything that is currently out there. Similar apps exist, such as “Beach Report Card” and “Surf Report,” but these apps are much narrower in focus. They include a limited amount of information regarding beach conditions, focus on specific regions, and neglect to include inland lakes and rivers. There is no other app that provides such an informative description of bodies of water in one place. Our main competition for distributing this type of information would be Twitter and other forms of social media. In comparison to these other platforms, The Splash Report makes information about rivers, lakes, and oceans much easier to both find and use. This app provides information regarding every state in the United States. There is no need to look at separate websites or Twitter feeds. In addition to being extremely useful in compiling scientific information, the Splash Report is also interactive and allows users to be in control. Our app combines information provided by tourists, locals, community organizations, and anyone interested in the environment or public health. There is no fear of the government or middle party filtering the information, or hiding anything about the water from the public.

How will your idea be financially sustainable?

The Splash Report relies on input from organizations and individuals. It is a platform that relies on crowdsourcing to function. As such, it will not require major finances once it is created. Still, we have incorporated methods to generate income. Our idea will be financially sustainable through our utilization of sponsorships. This app acts as a medium that allows local business to showcase their services in one place where users will be able to see exactly what they offer. Our users are usually people who want to visit lakes, rivers, and oceans. It can be inferred that they would want to participate in all of the water activities that are available around them. It is extremely attractive to companies that our site will showcase all their information, as well as include their contact details. Also, because The Splash Report is free to download and use, we will have an option for users to donate funds.

Why are you and your team the right people to develop this project?

Canned Noodles is a diverse group of quirky individuals united by a passion for the environment. Nabila Asif studies political science, but also has a passion for promoting health. She believes in the importance of empowering a local community to make small changes that will lead to big outcomes. Charles Engelman studies ecology and evolutionary biology. He understands how scientific research is conducted and can connect scientists with the information provided by our app. Allison Nam is studying cellular and molecular biology. She is passionate about spreading knowledge to the public, and she would like to use her creativity to do so.

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3 Responses to “The Splash Report”

  1. Great idea!! Love it. I used to live on by Oak St. Beach in Chicago, and we had to deal with occasional shut downs due to pollution and the presence of certain bacterias, and extensive information about the conditions were scarce. When it shut down, they posted a report which was pretty explanatory, but your system would be much more comprehensive because it would be available daily, independent of the conditions, which is really cool.

    A couple things I want to mention:

    First, people these days get hung up on the “mobile app” trend. I think for this system, you might be better off writing it as a website, then using the back end of the website to power a mobile application. That way, you can have a super comprehensive website, and with the complementary mobile application for people who like that medium better. This would be beneficial especially for the scientific community that you would be marketing to. Mobile apps are inherently simpler than their web-app counterparts, so you could use that distinction to create to products that cover a wider range of needs.

    Also, it is becoming apparent in the market that “sponsorship” – mobile/online advertising – is becoming a riskier revenue source. While the prices of mobile advertising are rising, many think that this is a bubble waiting to burst. While that is debatable, it is always good to have another source of revenue that you can supplement with ad revenue. So, I was thinking something like a premium, scientific version, that gives much more detailed analysis of the waters. Something like this could still be based on the same amount of information, but could plug the info into algorithms to make projections and find trends in the data, which could be useful to scientists, and could also be interesting for the more curious regular people.

    Also, I wonder if it may be hard to get the amount of information at the frequency you need to keep everything updated. It’s one of those things where yes, the guy says he would totally input information every day to benefit the community, but in the long run, will he actually? Just something to think about. You might have to incentivize input somehow.

    Overall, I think this is a great idea, and it would totally benefit beach-goers and scientists all over the U.S!!

  2. I think you’re right that there is a good market for this kind of product. I really like your market research section and your statistics. Your look at potential competitors also is well written.

    I agree with Ben that it will be difficult to collect all of this info, especially if you’re aiming to launch this simultaneously in different parts of the country, as your user interviews suggest.

    I wonder if there’s a way to crowd source some of the data collection. How would you include an element like that?

    Again, great idea. Keep polishing it.

  3. Thanks so much your comments and suggestions. We really appreciate the fact that you took some the time to read our application. Your comments were very helpful and we have modified our proposal to address your concerns. We have designed an incentive plan that will encourage people to submit information. Crowd sourcing is the way we are planning on getting this content. The Splash Report will function mainly as platform to share and provide this information. We also took into consideration your comment about adapting our idea to a website. We think this would be very feasible and a great extension to our current application model. We look forward to seeing you both at the pitch tomorrow!

    -Canned Noodles

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