Before social networks, universities were a different place. Get this: just to find out what my friends were up to, I had to call them, or text them, or even walk across campus just to find them. These were dark days indeed… And yet while technology has jumped ahead, events scheduling has mysteriously remained unaffected – stuck to Google Calendar or iCal – the same layout we’ve been using to make appointments for over 400 years.
“If a dozen events are happening on the same date, a 100 by 100 pixel doesn’t really help,” says co-founder and CEO Myke Nahorniak of Localist, the makers of Tailgate, a white-label mobile offering of their calendar targeted towards students.
It’s white-label, so individual schools can license out their own branded version with the options they want built in by the Localist team. The app ties into social media sites and is branded for different schools with their colors and logos. Nahorniak says that with everything going to mobile, the current week/day/month layouts for calendars don’t work. Tailgate solves this problem by being built on the Localist platform, using a simple clean layout, but it also solves the problem with a list-style of events located by geo-location that surfaces trending events to the top of the list.
It’s a tricky space, as most events have several different factors that need to be incorporated. But Tailgate solves this issue by having several offerings inside a scaled-down app that can be turned on and off at will. Each school licenses the application, getting a pared down version of the full Localist events management system with the added features that they want for each school, as well as branding.
Nahorniak says that some universities are even using their program for recruiting, as a way to show students the quality of their on-campus social events.
For beta testing, Nahorniak and his team only built 90 percent of the app before rolling it out on a few campuses to allow room for suggestions from students. They found that two features specifically requested were check-ins and, if an event isn’t happening for a few days, a way to save it into a schedule for a reminder.
Nahorniak says that 90 percent of incoming freshmen look to the university for what’s happening on campus, but often campus event planning is mixed in with administrative plans. Tailgate allows students to sign in and post their own events using their student ID.
They now have several apps for different universities around the country, ready for launch – “at the mercy of Apple’s approval process,” says Nahorniak.
The app isn’t limited to universities either. The team recently has been speaking to a high-frequency trading firm that wanted a clean, effective way to track its clients’ events to get a better grasp on what was happening within the companies.