BARS, cafes and coffee shops could soon be offering their customers personalised marketing thanks to a community-based social platform, developed by two students and a recent graduate from the University of Glasgow.

OBrand Communications has developed a location-based mobile app that can detect a registered device and send real-time information to opted-in customers, enabling businesses to tailor their marketing.

The technology has just been named a winner at the first-ever IoTUK Boost event in Scotland. IoTUK is a Government-backed national programme designed to accelerate the UK’s smart technology capabilities.

Founded by Latvian Gatis Gaumigs, 25; Rafal Ciesielczuk, 23, from Poland; and Francesco Vanduynslager, 23, who is half Belgian, half Italian, OBrand’s technology is still being developed, but the fledgling firm says there has already been significant interest from potential clients in the tourism, hospitality and retail industries.

Mr Gaumigs said: “Our product can offer businesses a specialised marketing?platform that allows them to engage directly with?the right customers, at the right time and with the right information.”

Such platforms are already available, but most target larger chains. OBrand aims to give the same level of service to independent businesses.

Mr Vanduynslager added: “The product allows businesses to learn more about their customers, which will lead to high sales and high levels of satisfaction for both business owners and customers.”

OBrand Communications was one of five winners at Scotland’s IoTUK Boost event, organised by Scottish Funding Council-backed CENSIS, The Data Lab, the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Ventures and IoTUK. It will now undergo a month-long period of incubation and mentoring to refine the business model and make it fully fundable.

The idea was first developed by Mr Gaumigs during his bachelor’s degree studying electronics and electrical engineering after waiting in a queue at a bar, unable to find out more information about the products on offer.

He added: “The technology can be used in a range of ways but will be most effective in providing an opportunity for the tourism and hospitality industries, benefitting both the app user and the partnering business. At visitor attractions, such as museums or zoos, OBrand can provide up-to-date information about what you’re viewing directly to your device as you walk around the attraction.”

What was initially an ambitious project soon became the foundation of a business when Mr Gaumigs pitched the idea to Glasgow University’s enterprise manager. The team went on to win the most promising undergraduate business award and secure entry into the summer company programme, which gave them access to office space at the university.

The team has also secured development funding from Enterprise Campus to develop and says there has already been significant interest from potential clients in the tourism, hospitality and retail industries; all of which are keen to provide customers with a more personalised service.

Mark Begbie, business development director at CENSIS, commented: “We were impressed by OBrand’s energy, enthusiasm and commitment to their business. They are a young company entering a market that is exploding and by targeting smaller businesses they have a great future ahead of them.”