Nokia Launches JobLens – Augmented Reality Job Search Platform

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The smartphone manufacturer gives graduates at Entrepreneur First early access to develop new businesses based on its app

On Friday, Finnish mobile device manufacturer Nokia launched its JobLens augmented reality search platform in the UK. The app, currently exclusive to Lumia smartphones, allows users to simply point the camera at the landscape, and see all the relevant vacancies in the area.

Nokia hopes JobLens will help tackle youth unemployment and transform looking for a job into a simpler, more pleasant experience. To this end, it has partnered with Tech City start-up accelerator Entrepreneur First, to give recent graduates a chance to develop new businesses on the platform and possibly adapt it for other mobile operating systems.

JobLens was first revealed during a “soft launch” in the US in June.

Lumia helps jobseekers

“You cannot get a job without a phone,” said Nokia’s Bryan Biniak, VP and GM of global partner and app development, while speaking at the event. A phone lets a jobseeker contact the potential employer, arrange an interview, and find out whether the application was successful. However, most of the process of looking for a suitable vacancy still takes place at home.

JobLensJobLens hopes to change that, and help its users find a job using just the phone. It’s a location-aware application that pulls together information from different sources, including social networks, and uses Nokia’s patented augmented reality technology to present it in real-time, on top of the images captured by a smartphone’s camera.

There are no forms to fill – the app will automatically retrieve all the necessary information from LinkedIn or Facebook. JobLens knows where the user’s friends work, and whether they can help with introductions or networking. It can estimate and compare salaries for every position through a partnership with Payscale, and instantly show related company and financial news.

The app can even check out the neighbourhood where the job is located. It pulls information from data.gov.uk, including statistics on housing, demographics and such absolutely essential data as the ratio of men to women in the area. When a suitable position is found and the interview arranged, JobLens can guide the applicant to the interview using Nokia’s HERE maps.

Nokia says that its app, quite simply, has more features than any other job search solution on the market. “JobLens redefines and simplifies how people look for new jobs by combining the power of some of the best brands in career services together with social networks and HERE Maps in one single app,” said Biniak. “By making it easier for job seekers to find new opportunities we hope to give Nokia Lumia owners an advantage in today’s job market.”

The particular focus for Nokia and its partners is youth unemployment. “Youth unemployment is an issue of key importance to us and London in general. All of us share an interest in the future of viable, vibrant entrepreneurial sector,” said Mark Boleat, chair of Policy and Resources at the City of London Corporation, while addressing the audience at Entrepreneur First headquarters. “We recognise that entrepreneurs, like many of you here today, hold the key to developing big, global, innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems of our time, including youth unemployment.”

And who knows this problem better than young people themselves? This sort of logic has led Nokia to offer free JobbLens developer licenses to 32 recent graduates and full-time members of Entrepreneur First 2013 ‘cohort’.

“Our partnership with Nokia not only demonstrates the traction that the whole idea of graduate entrepreneurship is enjoying, but will also provide our participants with a new set of tools and relationships to build the next generation of disruptive start-ups,” commented Matt Clifford, co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneurship First.

In the future, JobLens could be expanded to feature property search and similar location-based services. Eventually, it could blossom into one of the first “killer apps” for Windows 8 Phone ecosystem.

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