CompetitiveAnalysis-SabaKhalilnaji

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Group Proposal: Epileptic Eels

The Epileptic Eels have proposed an application that aids users with allergies in deciding whether a particular food is safe to eat by scanning the barcode of a particular food item and giving the user a red light/green light based upon its safety.

Competitive Analysis

NoPeanut

Platform: iPhone

Target User Group
This application targets users with allergies to Peanuts.
Functionality
The application offers multi-language digital warning cards that can be used to warn food preparers of the user's allergy to peanuts and ask for safe alternatives. They provide a list of foods to avoid in over 50 restaurant chains in the US. Lastly they provide multi-language digital help cards that help users ask for emergency help. The scope of these features are limited by the 50 or so restaurants the application includes and a few languages the help-cards support. Our idea is functionally less limited like a food list. Since we scan the barcode, we can help the user make safe choices for virtually any food item that's sold in a commercial store.
Usability
The emergency help cards are supposed to be useful in places outside the US where 911 is not used, however this seems to render the other half of the application useless. Since being out of the US, there would not be many of the common US chain stores, so the menus would be irrelevant. Once again, barcodes are useful in overcoming this problem because they are used all across the world. Multilingual support can be added to match the usability of NoPeanut.

Food Additives

Platform: iPhone
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8d6W5PeUoo&feature=player_embedded

Target User Group
There are food additives that are potentially dangerous or unsafe to one's health. This application aims to help people with health risks related to these additives, health conscious people, vegetarians, vegans and other people on restricted diets.
Functionality
The application contains it own database of additives color coded by their danger level (red to green). The user can organize the additives based on its risk level, name, and by their symptoms, and by the user's diet. Both of our applications essentially help the user avoid certain foods based on diet restrictions. However this application forces the user to find the additive on the food label. So they have to decide which additives to avoid, and read the label to see if they are listed then decide whether to purchase the item or not. Whereas with our application the user simply scans the barcode and is instantly given a yes or no.
Usability
Usability issues arise when one has to consider the fact that the user needs to be comfortable reading food labels in order to find the specified additive. The labels have small print, so proper lighting and good eye-sight is need (or the user needs to have their glasses). Furthermore with other 450 additives listed, if you want to avoid even 30 of them, it will take a while to compare each one to the label's listing.

Food Scanner

Platform: iPhone
Video Review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsiPHcHoDzg

Target User Group
This is for users looking to track calories on the foods they eat, essentially those with diet-restrictions however this application focuses of calorie tracking.
Functionality
It works by scanning the barcode of the food item OR by typing in the name of the food. It has a comprehensive database of over 200,000 foods. The user scans the food, types in their servings and can add it to their food log. The application only counts calories, so all the decisions of whether they want to eat something or not is made by the user. Our application differs in the fact that after scanning an item the result is a yes or no and no log is kept, it's very simple.
Usability
The usability of my group's application and Food Scanner are very similar. Both of our applications need the user to have steady hands for the picture of the barcode. However the Food Scanner requires the user to have more knowledge of their goals. For example someone looking to lose fat needs to know about proper diets, and have knowledge about fats, carbs and proteins because 200 calories of butter is not the same as 200 calories of beef, even though they share the same caloric value. Our application only requires the user to be aware of their own allergies to make the application useful in a practical sense.

iEatOut

Platform: iPhone

Target User Group
Targeted towards user with common allergies to foods. It helps the user prepare questions to ask for safe ordering.
Functionality
The user can chose from 10 allergies: Corn, Dairy, Eggs, Fish, Gluten, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nuts, and Wheat. Then when the user eats out, if they are eating Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Steak & Seafood or Thai, the application will let the user know of common culinary practices of those types of foods and warn them of possible allergens. I believe this application has no purpose or use, because if the user is at a restaurant the application can warn them to ask the waiter not to include peanuts for example. Just to be safe, the user can just make sure the dish has no peanuts without the application telling them to do so. Our application bypasses the need to ask anybody anything because the user red/green light will tell the user whether he/she can eat the food item or not.
Usability
This application is only usable for users with the listed allergens eating the listed types of foods. The use of the barcode scanner will avoid this limitation by allowing the user to check a larger array of food items.

Allergy Guard

Platform: iPhone

Target User Group
This application targets users of CookingAllergyFree.com. It has the 2000 ingredients and their relationship to over 150 different allergen groups that you can find on the site. It's perfect for users looking to avoid certain allergens.
Functionality
The application works by selecting certain food or ingredients. If you chose a food like cheese, it has many ingredients in it, then you can go through all the ingredients to see which ones have associated allergens. Perhaps they contain allergens the user would like to say away from, so they will stay away from the food associated with them. This application has many steps involved in figuring out which foods to avoid, you have to trickle down a hierarchy of food -> ingredient -> allergen to decide. Our proposed application will simply scan a food item and instantly give you feedback on whether it has something you're allergic to or not, there's no need to look anything up.
Usability
There is a bit more required in using the Allergy Guard because you have to know the name of the food in your hands at the store to be able to look it up. Now obviously this is usually not an issue, however a great feature of the barcode aspect of our application is that the user can simply pickup any item scan it and know whether he/she can it or not without ever reading a label or knowing what it is.

Nutrition Facts

Platform: iPhone
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hysY0D4Hk_0

Target User Group
Users with any specific reason to want nutrition facts for a certain food. I will analyze this application assuming the user wants to nutritional information because of dietary restrictions or calorie analysis.
Functionality
The application lets you search for foods in its database, analyze its nutritional information and add it to a calorie log. Once again this application is limited by the knowledge of the user, in that any benefit the user can get from counting calories depends on the user's knowledge of fat loss or muscle gain or whatever their goal is. Calorie counting alone does not allow you to achieve any of those goals, the user might as well tally calories on their arm. The functionality of our application allows the user to achieve their goal without any added hassle.
Usability
As mentioned above this application is usable by anyone, however it only benefits those knowledgeable on the subject of nutrition. It will have a large user base that will receive no benefit or will use this application until the false idea that it will solely assist them in reaching their goals. The application my group proposed has a more specific use that does not compare to the wide range of possibilities of Nutrition Facts, so only users looking to avoid foods they are allergic to would use our application.

Red Laser

Platform: iPhone
Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_hFGsmx_6k&feature=player_embedded

Target User Group
Users are anyone who would like to scan a barcode and find competitive prices, reviews and more online.
Functionality
The application does a great job of scanning barcodes. Its use is very open ended and users can do whatever they like with the information they receive about a scanned product. All in all the scope of this application is very large ranging from price matching to product reviews/warning. The functionality of our proposed application will different from RedLaser in that our application will make a specific decision for the user (whether they can safely eat the item or not). Rather than giving the user a bunch of information about a product and allow the user to decide what to do next, our application is essentially a more specific version of Red Laser with a more defined user group and niche.
Usability
We will avoid usability issues with Red Laser because of different target groups. Scanning a barcode and finding information about a product online may not easily or quickly give the user allergen information. Our application will essentially refine the search to allergen information and retrieve it for the user rather quickly.

Don't Eat that

Platform: iPhone

Target User Group
Any user trying to remove potentially harmful additives or ingredients from their diets.
Functionality
With over 1500 additives and ingredients, users can look up anything they are unsure of to ensure its safety for children, asthma, cancer risks, and more. Compared to our allergy application, this one has a much larger scope in that it can cover almost anything harmful to the user. So the user can avoid a plethora of harmful substance, but how do they keep track of them all? There's over 1500! Our application allows users to make a profile of their allergens while this application requires the user to check each one.
Usability
Users are expected to look up each substance in the database to decide if they want to eat it or not. One review in the link above mentioned, "I tried using it at the store. It worked fine but after checking about 12 ingredients I got bored". The hassle of checking the ingredients seems to limit the user base to those truly serious about changing their diets. Our application does not need such a time commitment, other than making a simple profile of the allergens to avoid.

iCanEatOnTheGo

Platform: iPhone

Target User Group
Users who would like to avoid common food allergens while visiting selected fast food restaurants.
Functionality
If the user has allergies to eggs, fish, gluten, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, nuts, or wheat they can select which ones and have the menus at the 15 fast food restaurants that the application supports be organized in such a way that allows the user to avoid those allergens. This application is limited to the 9 allergens and 15 restaurants they support.
Usability
Usability is limited to users who eat at the selected restaurants with the selected allergens. Our application will support a larger array of allergens while also supporting a much larger user base with its use of a barcode.

Scan Avert

Platform: Android

Target User Group
Users who would like to restrict certain allergens or substances from their diets for medical, religious, health, or any other reason. This directly competes with our application.
Functionality
Users create a profile of the substances they would like to avoid online, then scan the barcode of the product they wish to purchase. An indication is given on whether they can eat the item or not based on the user profile. Unfortunately this is functionally identical to our proposed application. Perhaps a functional ability to assist in medical emergencies could set the two applications apart.
Usability
The only difference our proposal has with this application is possibly the usability. Scan Avert requires an internet connection to create the profile, while our proposed application will allow the user to create profiles on the iPhone without internet access. Furthermore, $5.99/month is required for Scan Avert and our proposed application will not limit the user's budgets with monthly fees. Lastly it is restricted to the Android marketplace and no such application exists for the iPhone.

Summary

Fortunately, I did not find any iPhone applications that functionally matched our proposal. Generally, either the application was a database of harmful substances where user had to manually look up ingredients/additives listed on the product and decide if they want to avoid them or not. Or the application scanned a barcode for a product and gave the user general information on a product; the same as if you Google the product name. Having a large database of things to avoid, creating a profile of things the user wants to avoid, scanning barcodes for product information, and warning the user of dangers were all seperately covered well by these applications. However they were never combined, until I found Scan Avert. This application for the Android combined all these features into one application that is nearly identical to our proposal and does a great job of implementing our idea! It even allows users to add medication to their profiles to avoid foods that conflict with their drugs. The pricey monthly cost, different platform, and required internet connection does set our two applications slightly apart. However, there is one unique feature I found in the NoPeanut application that involves giving assistance when the user actually does ingest these harmful allergens. So much of the focus was place on prevention, that emergency care, or preparations for accidents or mistakes were almost neglected. Our group could possibly include this feature to further set our two applications apart. If we focus solely on food allergies we can tailor our application give more food-allergy related features.


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