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iPhone apps make sense

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The ease of use of smartphone applications makes you wonder why companies aren’t falling over themselves to use them to push their brand. BRENDAN LEWIS

Brendan Lewis

By Brendan Lewis

This afternoon I popped into a corner coffee shop in the city to have coffee with a friend of mine. She was, in her own words, “super excited” as she had just launched (yesterday) her first iPhone application.

She of course hassled me to download it, but apparently it wanted to download via the internet, not via a GSM network, so I thought I couldn’t get it.

Surprise, surprise though, the café we were in had a free WiFi connection, so I had no excuse. I suspect that I was fixed up, but I was pleased with the outcome anyway.

Her iPhone application is called Drink and was simply fascinating. It wasn’t just some silly game, but a useful tool that took advantage of the natural attributes of the iPhone.

Not too many applications do this; normally they are just an idea dumbly ported to as many platforms as the developers can find.

Anyway my friend Michelle publishes decks of cards with titles such as Bar Secrets Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane. Her company Shopping Secrets now has heaps of titles, for cities all over the world. It’s likely that you’ve seen them on a book store counter or own a deck yourself.

Her format is basically 52 cards, each on a different interesting bar she has picked out. But that’s not what’s important here; what’s important is her innovation.

She could have just provided an iPhone version of her cards, but instead she integrated it with other applications on the phone.

  1. With a press of a button, you can add a bar to your contacts, then give them a call.
  2. With a flick of a finger, you can enable the GPS function which will tell you which bars are closest to you and their distance (useful at 1am in the morning).
  3. With a wipe of an unsteady finger, her application will use Google Maps to give you graphical directions from your current location to the bar in question (we all know why that’s going to be handy at 3am!).

This completely changes her business. She is now in a position where via the Apples iTunes store she can sell to millions of people in every country in the world, and regularly give them updates. She is no longer constrained by existing distribution channels.

The platform of course is easily reusable so all her other titles (24) can easily be uploaded.

The more I think a about it, the more I like the iPhone model. All that information easily available in a simple, interactive mobile device.

Makes you wonder why Australian organisations aren’t jumping all over it to push out their brand. For instance:

  • Australian Universities could be building apps that have clever models for calculating statistics or trigonometry.
  • Engineering firms could push out “ready reckoners”.
  • Accounting firms could be publishing out financial calculators.
  • Parking firms could offer GPS linked parking guides (that let you know how many places are currently available, and how to get there).

Anyway, Michelle’s Drink application really impressed as it took advantage of the attributes of the platform. Two words, “useful” and “smart”. And since I bought the application, she felt obliged to pay for the coffee. Not sure if everyone can access that deal though 🙂

 

If you have iTunes installed, click here to get the ap.

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=296494896&mt=8

 

Brendan Lewis is a serial technology entrepreneur having founded : Ideas Lighting, Carradale Media, Edion, Verve IT, The Churchill Club, Flinders Pacific and L2i Technology Advisory. He has set up businesses for others in Romania, Indonesia and Vietnam. Qualified in IT and Accounting, he has also spent time running an Advertising agency and as a Cavalry Officer with the Australian Army Reserve.

To read more Brendan Lewis blogs, click here.

 

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