Why apps are a business “must have”

imagesIncreasingly we turn to the web or an app for goods and services. Both provide the ideal shop window for any business wanting to be seen and heard. Apps have a further appeal because by their nature they are mobile.

Mobile media has become the number ONE media for consumers. To ignore this is to limit your business opportunities, reduce your market share and frankly, be left behind…the word on Commercial Street is written large and clear, get a mobile app, bring your website up to speed and link the two.

Smartphone ownership is growing. Here’s a quick check-list of the benefits of an app for business small or large, established or start up.

smartphone-sales-projection

  • An App will help grow your business, increase incomes, turnover and cash flow.
  • An app is always on, always available and always putting your brand in front of your customers.
  • An App will help promote your identity, your brand and your perceived image as modern and up to date. Your business icon will be visible on the user’s phone.
  • Add Push Notification and you have an immediate and easy to manage direct communication channel to those of your clients who have downloaded the app. For marketing departments this is the Holy Grail. Engage with your customers!
  • Apps will enable you to collect and collate information from your consumer base. What they like and what they want.
  • Retain existing customers by communicating with them through the app.
  • Keep updating the app either through inbuilt content management system or by refreshing content through your developer periodically.

Link the app to your website. A simple URL link will take your customers to your website where they can purchase goods, register their needs and more. All on the move. The mobile website in conjunction with the mobile app is here to stay and whilst many businesses have already seen the opportunities the combination offers, many are yet to adopt this beautiful synergy of app and website. In a couple of years the picture will be different as competition drives business’s investment into this channel. If they ignore it or leave it until later, their competitors will steal a march on them and grab market share. The advice from those who have already shifted gear would be;  act now, bring the app and website relationship to life for your business.

There are, in addition, a plethora of productivity apps which have helped business’s . The streamlining of working practice through communications and data collection, formatting and transmission in real time has sped up so many processes, reduced paper trails and increased overall efficiencies. Each month there are new releases and not all of these are distributed widely. There are many thousands of Enterprise release apps which have helped business’s gain an edge on their competitors.

Here at AppDevelopersUK we have created several business apps in this category and know from first hand testimony how powerful these apps can be out there in the field. One client commissioned us to create an app which links to their in house database of over 50 thousand component parts, each with a varying price. These can be schematically created on an iPad on the customer’s premises to give a real immediacy and to create a superb sales opportunity, whether it be fulfilling a need of the customer or up-selling. A business without an app is like a business without a website. Lost and rarely found.

 

Find it Fix it Love it – Official Press Launch.

 

fifili press launch banners 2AppDevelopersUK recently released Find it Fix it Love it, a smartphone app created on behalf of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH). This innovative app brings “people power” to the fore as it allows any member of the public to download a free app with which they can send positive or negative observations about their borough directly to their local authority. The LBTH team can assess the incoming submission and decide on appropriate actions. If there’s a broken paving stone, an upturned litter bit for instance, the appropriate service can be organised to tackle the issue.  On the other hand, if someone wants to report how much they like a particular flowerbed bench or other amenity, they can report this too. Everyone likes positive feedback and the LBTH is no exception.

We expect that this approach has added benefits of allowing the council to work in a highly efficient way, collecting useful information from the residents of the borough. In addition the feel-good factor between council and its residents is promoted because there is the sense of the local authority listening and acting upon news and information provided by its residents. The app enables a really useful channel of real communication to be developed with all participating residents. The app is available on both Apple and Google Play and the official press release is shown below.

Tower Hamlets Council launches Find it, Fix it, Love it App

Tower Hamlets Council has a new tool in its armory to further improve the appearance and maintenance of the borough in the shape of a new, innovative smart phone app, Find It, Fix It, Love It.

The Find it, Fix it, Love it app has been launched as part of the council’s commitment to making the borough an even cleaner and safer place to live, work or visit and will enable users to share what they love about the borough.
Through Find it, Fix it, Love it the council wants people to send pictures and share their thoughts of the many great aspects of the borough; anything from a special place or landmark, to a quirky shop or local character.

By using the app residents and visitors can also instantly tell the council about any issues that need addressing such as graffiti, fly tipping, broken play equipment, pot holes or over flowing bins.

Users simply take a picture of a problem and the app will pinpoint their location and send the details directly to the council’s environmental contractors, ensuring that problems are dealt with swiftly. The app also allows residents to highlight specific areas on the image or send comments and contact details if they want feedback, but this is optional, making the process very quick and simple.

Launching the app, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it” is simple to use and an innovative reporting approach for issues. The app will also be great for showing what people love about the borough. There are so many good things in Tower Hamlets and it will be fascinating to see what people think are our hidden gems.”

Cllr Shahed Ali, cabinet member for the environment, added: “The reporting side of the app will enable us to efficiently and effectively deal with problems. I encourage residents to help with reporting issues as we can’t be in all places at all times. I’m excited by the potential use of the app and the role it can play in reducing costs and improving efficiencies in dealing with clean and green issues.”

Jamie Blake, Service Head, Public Realm, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it has been developed to meet the reporting needs of the mobile generation. The app is unique as it focuses on the positives of the borough whilst also allowing users to report problems that may occur. The app will hopefully capture the imagination and allow us to build a unique picture of Tower Hamlets through the eyes of our residents and visitors to the borough as they tell us why they “love it.”

The app has proved popular during the pilot phase with over 100 reports being made to date.

Download the Find it, Fix it, Love it app for free at the Apple App Store or via Google Play, search for FiFiLi. For more information about using the Find it, Fix it, Love it app visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/clean.
October 23, 2013

XploreGhana! App from AppDevelopersUK

XploreGhanaHome

XploreGhana! App from AppDevelopersUK has just been released on both the Google Play and Apple app stores.

This is one of those apps that has been fun for our developers to work with. Its very simple and very useful for all those planning a trip to this fantastic country.  The app includes an RSS feed of news views and opinions about subjects relevant to the user. Rather than use further words describing it I will include a number of screenshots and a live link to both stores so that you can check it out for yourselves. It’s completely FREE to download.

Give it a try.XploreGhana!

XploreGhana4

XploreGhana3

Explore Ghana 22013-10-10 12.01.47

IFCS’s Foster Care App

IFCS’s Foster Care App - App Developers UK

IFCS’s Foster Care App - App Developers UK

Independent Foster Care Services have just released a smartphone app aimed at helping prospective foster carers.The iPhone app provides a valuable social service by bringing together various sources of information. These include pod casts of interviews, application forms and some tasters for the many training modules available.

The app gathers information for the user too, enabling the IFCS head office to make initial assessments and to follow up with appropriate individuals. Of course, the long term aim is to make Fostering a much less daunting process for those who have considered it. With this in mind the Advice Links are invaluable as in the general information about how to become a Foster Carer.

The look and feel of the app has been designed to be as straight forward as possible. The design is clean and navigation is completely intuitive with main menu features taking the user into each topic where a sub menu allows for further detail to be accessed. Here at App Developers UK we are proud to have been a part of this process and hope that by developing the app for IFCS we can help promote this service. If you know of anyone considering becoming a Foster Carer please point them in direction of the IFCS app
.

The Google Bill Settler

going-dutchThe Google Bill Settler is upon us, well its coming soon anyway….

You know how awkward it can be at the point in a meal when the bill is produced.  There are 4 of you and one of you didn’t have a sweet, or was driving so had nothing to drink. So the bill comes in and everyone is wondering “how are we going to split this up fairly?”. Well its easy if you can all agree to work it out and add up the parts you are responsible for and pay accordingly. But, in fact that’s the socially awkward part because no one likes to point out that “hey, I only has a salad!”.  So somehow it ends up unfairly split either someone pays too much or someone else pays too little.

Our friendly and ever present master of the digital Universe, Google, has now addressed the problem, has filed a patent for the technology and is working to release a smartphone app which tracks payment transactions between a group and works out who owes what exactly after a joint activity be it a meal, taxi or holiday. What’s more it takes care of the messy business of transferring funds between the respective accounts of these people in the group. But o make it work there is still a need to input the amounts involved and assign them to a joint account which has been set up for the purpose. Let’s hope there are no bugs, that could be a recipe for disaster. Well in my opinion this could cause more problems than it may solve so not one for immediate download. It just moves the argument a little bit further down the digital route instead of resolving the issues. It provides a neat way for doing the maths but the discussion still needs to be had as to who had what and who owes this that or the other.

Maybe this is the point I am coming to…apps cannot necessarily add to your quality of life. They may do, and they may seem essential in some cases and some situations but as consumers we need to be on our guard against spurious apps that simply digitise an issue rather than resolving it. perhaps this is being a little harsh…the proof will be in the pudding.(eek!)

The Canal & River Trust’s eNatureWatch app

mzl.ciwsksnh.320x480-75AppDevelopersUK.com  have re developed the Canal & River Trust’s  eNatureWatch app.

Press Release July 2013 from the C&RT.

USE YOUR EYES AND IPHONE TO PROTECT WATERWAY HABITATS

Following a national report earlier this year stating that 60% of more than 3,000 animal and plant species have declined in the UK in the past 50 years, the Canal & River Trust today [Monday 29 July] launches Great Nature Watch – a campaign to get members of the public to help to protect 2,000 miles of waterway habitats.

The old industrial routes of canals and inland waterways have become a unique corridor for wildlife, providing essential shelter, food and breeding grounds.  The habitats they provide are helping to support many of the UK’s most valuable, yet threatened wildlife species such as kingfishers, butterflies and dragonflies.

mzl.qivsukui.320x480-75

With the State of Nature Report highlighting that ‘freshwater and wetland habitats occupy just 3% of the UK’s surface but support around 10% of our species’, the Trust is asking for help to map its waterside habitats to ensure they remain a thriving place for hundreds of animal and plant species.

By using a free app called enaturewatch, or online via the Trust’s website, visitors will be asked a series of questions which will help paint the picture of a cross section of canal or river habitat being surveyed.

Peter Birch, Head of Environment for the Canal & River Trust, says: “Our ultimate aim is to ensure there are plenty of habitats for wildlife to move up and down our waterway corridors, through city centres, as well as remote parts of the countryside.  We’re hoping Great Nature Watch can support the great environmental progress we’ve made over the years. People power can make a big difference so we hope visitors to our canals or rivers will get round as much of our waterway network as possible and help create a ‘living map’.

“The countryside has been fragmented over the last 50 years with increasing urban environments.  Our 2,000 miles of waterway corridor are unique and we need to do all we can to keep them this way as we’re seeing so many species struggling for survival.  To do this, it’s vital that we continue to learn more about the state and health of our habitats so that we can help them flourish through our ecology work.”

Whilst out on the towpath, budding environment enthusiasts and families will be able to learn about what they see through a ‘spotter’s guide’, a section of the app designed to teach people about the wildlife, plants and trees that can be found on the towpath.

The revamped free enaturewatch app is available from iTunes and Google Play.  For more information on Great Nature Watch please visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/great-nature-watch.

For media enquiries please contact:Claire Risino, National Campaigns ExecutiveT: 0203 204 4430  M: 07785 920 863   E: claire.risino@canalrivertrust.org.uk

SmartWatch 2

SmartWatch 2 from Sony, it is with unbridled joy that we can note the forthcoming release of a a gadget that may actually be useful. yes, useful. Hooray ! That’s is to say that there are many gadgets ….who whispered “Google Glass”?….which are “invented” using blindingly clever and exciting state of the art technology and amazing interconnectivity combined with beautiful design properties….but which, are just plain daft. Here though, is what we at Appdevelopersuk believe is a genuinely useful gadget which, we think will be a game changer in the field of wearable technology.

phpoug5qe

Not only is the SmartWatch2 a useful and arguable beautifully designed device, but its got some great working features too! These include the holy grail of phone protection….waterproofing. Yes, stand under a shower and talk to your loved ones, swim upstream whilst explaining to your boss that you may be late due to adverse river currents, or…well you get the idea. Tip: Maybe best not stand under a shower until you are absolutely sure that the product is fully waterproof.

Lets be honest, the practical value is possible secondary to the fashion value (again we would question the value in that respect of the Google glass product) and this device features an aluminium design, along with the button  recognizable from the Xperia Z family of phones and tablets and will come with a range of strap styles and colours. What fun !

In earlier watch/phone devices the screen size has been small and frustrating but this model has a 1.6 inch screen making reading the time, texts or mails is less of a challenge. Its still smaller than a phone screen of course, but what you may miss in screen size, you gain in convenience. This kind of wearable technology is currently predicted to be a strong developing aspect and with devices like this which include Near Field Connectivity as well as a familiar Android interface, then inevitably we can expect exciting and useful development to come.

Glastonbury Festival App

2013-06-07 15.03.12

Glastonbury Festival app is now available to help all festival goers get the most out of the event. As any festival veterans will testify the most oft heard query over a festival weekend is: “How do I get to the Pyramid stage” or “where am I?”. The great news is that this free app, created for and owned by the telephone network EE, takes the strain out of the weekend and helps you find your way around the vast site. This is a great tool for all those visiting Pilton during the festival at the end of June.

What we at appdevelopersuk especially like is the Map feature where you can mark the position of your tent (or any other specific part of the festival site for that matter) and always know where you are in relation to it no matter where you may be in within the vast festival site.  So, no more “I couldn’t find my tent” excuses from now on ….hmmm maybe a downside in there somewhere folks, better get ready with the “my battery is out of charge” excuse too. But with a re charge tent and numerous other portable battery charging devices available throughout the site this blag could fall on deaf ears.

2013-06-07 15.03.20The app allows you to sort out a schedule of events and acts so that you have more chance of seeing the performances you want to rather than the usual frustration of forgetting who is on where and when which often blights a festival day. Broken up into site areas as well as by stage, the app displays information to enable the modern day festival goer take a more organised approach. No more lolling about in your tent wondering what day it is, the app will alert you to every chosen event, direct you to the venue and keep you informed about any changes to schedule as some performer or other gets held up due to” leaves on the heli- pad” or some such minor disaster.

If you are an EE customer with a 4G plan you will be able to take advantage of higher speed services throughout the festival weekend. EE are also providing a free recharging service for all festival goers. If you are going to the festival why not try this app and then post your experience about it on this blog once you get back.

5 Stars for I Plan Success App

Apps Magazine awards 5 stars for iPlanSuccess© This comes as no surprise ofcourse but is a welcome addition to other 5 star reviews (see below where a google search reveals CNET and iTunes have also racked up 5 start reviews for the app.)

iplan article 5 star

iplan successgoogle CNET and iTunes rack up 5 Stars for iplansuccess

Since its release just before Christmas, the iPlanSuccess©  App has been succeeding in the self help space where others have fared less well. The purpose of the app is to enable users to track their progress over a number of key areas of their lives. They plan for success by using the app as a companion to remind, to log and to inspire. Now we all need a bit of help these days to organise and prioritise in as simple and clear a way as possible and that’s why this app has gained a substantial fan base already!

iPlanSuccess© is a practical application that allows you to be more successful. It helps you:

  • Identify what is important to you; what you value and makes you feel good
  • Assess your own capabilities; your strengths and how you might limit yourself
  • Develop well thought through goals and appropriate actions; identify support to draw on, and set realistic timescales
  • Monitor progress with a clear real-time overview and…
  • Achieve more, in all likelihood, than you would have done.

iPlanSuccess© is much more than another one of those task or reminder lists. It is a serious tool for people who really care about achieving their ambitions. It ensures you identify the goals and actions that are right for you.

AppDevelopersUk developed the app on behalf of two professional workplace consultants who have been developing the concept behind their unique approach to this for many years. They came to us with a paper based version which was already tried and tested in many blue chip companies on their client lists. The task of turning this into an iPad app was one we relished. Working across numerous iterations our development team produced a fine tuned final version which was released in December 2012. To date there have been no updates or upgrades (testimony to our developer’s skills as well as to a fantastic brief!) but in the future there is scope for white labelling as well as feature upgrade work. If you are interested in white labelling this app do contact us and we will be happy to put you in touch with the company who designed the app.

Free Apps Rule


imagesMost Apps are downloaded for free, But that doesn’t mean they are not making money for their owner
. In App purchases are really adding up and generating profits for their owners. If you are thinking about app development as a revenue generator then a free app is often the most profitable route to take and why free apps rule in the app stores.

In 2012 the total download was 25 billion apps. Of which 22 billion were free downloads. The total number of apps downloaded across all platforms so far in 2013 is  a staggering 46 billion. Most of these are on the Android and on Apple platforms. According to data from consulting firm App Manifesto, more than half – 58 per cent – of apps in the US Appstore are free, with a further 21 per cent costing just 99p.

So why provide an app for free? Answer:  “In app purchases”.

Most apps which come free contain some form of I app purchase element whereby the user is invited to purchase additional services or functionality once they have the free app. The free app is acting like a shop window. The actual goods for sale are there in the “window” and purchasable seamlessly as in app purchases. App Developers UK have released many such apps and our experience suggests that the trend towards free apps is strengthening rather than decreasing.

May of the gaming apps contain in app purchase opportunities as we featured recently with regard to the Ofcom investigation. However there are also a huge slew of business or self-help apps with in app purchasable content so its important not to think of this mechanism as purely a gaming app phenomenon because it applies across the whole spectrum of apps.