Masterclassing

Lost on a Mountain? There's an App for That

David Murphy

Motor insurer swiftcover.com has helped reunite two friends who became separated whilst hiking in snow-bound mountains in Sweden. The pair used Swiftcovers iPhone app, Stuck, to locate each other and navigate their way to a meeting point.
Stuck uses geo-location technology to allow people to post a Twitter-style message, known as a 'Stuck' about the locations or situations in which they are stuck. This is then uploaded to a map of the world with a timestamp. Other iPhone users can then click on the Stuck and, using Google maps, zoom in to locate the person who posted the Stuck.
Nico Vittorio and Paul Alonso were hiking in the Sarek National Park region of Sweden when they became separated. Although they were in contact and knew they were close-by, because of the heavy snow there were no landmarks, making it impossible to identify a meeting point. The pair used Stucks Near-Me function, which flags up other users nearby, to locate each other, tracking their progress until their paths met.
The app can also be used for less adventurous situations, allowing people to upload a Stuck if they are trapped in a traffic jam, caught in the rain, stuck in a meeting, or even have a song stuck in their head. The app has a range of pre-set emotions that are quick to choose and upload. Users can even communicate their Stucks to friends and followers by sending them by e-mail or posting them on Twitter directly from the iPhone.
The app was developed by swiftcover.coms innovation lab and has already been downloaded by 10,000 iphone users in 50 countries since it was launched in January. Swiftcovers Head of Innovation, Ambarish Mitra, says: swiftcover.com is an innovator we threw out the rule book and started from scratch when we created the UKs first fully online insurer so we wanted our first mobile phone app to embrace that same spirit of innovation and be something that would be of use to everyone, not just swiftcover.com insurance customers.
Stuck is quirky and fun and takes social networking to another level with a truly global dimension for the first time you can locate anyone around the world just from the comments they make. But it also has a serious application, as Nico and Pauls experience shows.
Future developments for the app include one-to-one communication, linking individual Stucks to events, so people posting would be alerted to activities such as concerts or sales taking place nearby, as well as providing users with information on local amenities, like hotels or garages.
swiftcover.com does have something of a reputation for firsts in the online world. In addition to online insurance, it also developed the UKs first insurance .mobi site, designed for mobile phone users; the first mobile phone insurance quote system; as well as the My Swift Space feature which gives policy-holders complete control over their insurance, enabling them to update or change their policy using the Internet, via a PC or mobile phone.