Home-grown miniNAV system hits Fringe phones

Home-grown miniNAV system hits Fringe phones

Four years after it was developed, miniNAV navigation and event planner software is making its second mobile phone-based debut at Adelaide's annual arts festival, Fringe.

Created initially by South Australian-based developers, Kukan Studio, for the World Congress on IT in 2002, the software is designed to be customised for specific event schedules and venues. It is written for Java 2 micro edition and can be downloaded onto 3G mobile phones, regardless of the operating system, via the Internet or through a premium SMS service.

"Basically the event organisers pay for the customisation, then the software is provided to the end-users for free," managing director of Kukan Studios, Che Metcalf, said. "They can then enter their current location and the events they want to attend, and the software shows them how to get there."

According to Metcalf, the software has been ready to launch since it was showcased at the 2002 conference. However, the company's progress was partially hamstrung while waiting for 3G to be introduced to the Australian market.

"We couldn't launch it here until 3G became widely available," he said. "So we spent the last few years focused on overseas markets and games development for mobile platforms."

The company is currently working with a number of different events. Metcalf also wants to make the product more widely available for navigation purposes, by integrating either GPS or telephone tower triangulation techniques into the service.

"It's been slow to take off but we have now reached the point where there is broad take-up of 3G locally, so event organisers can see the benefit of providing miniNAV as part of their overall service," he said. "We are sticking to these sorts of custom implementations in the pilot phase, but the next phase of development will be creating a standardised module."

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