For some time at Adapptor we’ve been talking about building services rather than just apps. We believe it reframes how people think about mobile applications. In reality the best ones offer more than just device specific features, and thinking of them as services sets organisations up to think of the opportunities a lot more broadly. It also helps these organisations consider the implications from a user’s point of view, which is critical in today’s world.
It’s interesting to consider this perspective when looking at some apps that have gained a lot of recent publicity.
Dark Sky is the app store’s recent poster-child; a mobile service that tells you when it’s about to rain in your exact location. Not something we can get in Australia just yet, and in all honesty, not something we need much of in Perth (given the propensity for the place to almost always be sunny). However, it gets rave reviews in the US and UK.
Dark Sky’s secret sauce is its unique weather data service, they rather obviously named, ‘Forecast’. When designing the Dark Sky solution, the company built a very intelligent service that could make hyper-local predictions about weather. It wasn’t simply a cooler design applied to the same data, it was a whole new set of data, which allowed them to create a new type of forecast. This was the key to Dark Sky’s success, and intelligently the company now offers Forecast as an open API with a very simple cost structure: the first thousand API calls per day are free, and then $0.0001 each thereafter.
Uber is one of Adapptor’s other favourite applications. It’s an easy one to talk about given the publicity, and in most cases people have used the service. What’s more interesting is that it’s certainly not just an app, and what’s more, it’s actually not a new business model; it’s a service that’s improved an industry that hasn’t changed in a long time. What differentiates it is clearly visible with their website’s list of features.
Like we said it’s certainly more than just an app. It’s a sophisticated service that involves a company with engineers, designers, marketing, support, operations, finance, and obviously a good legal team. It’s not a throw away 99 cent app.
Just to mix things up a bit, we thought we’d throw in the newly launched range of apps from the Kardashians.
Well it seems that after Kim Kardashian’s success with her ‘Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ game (still in Apple’s Top Grossing list) and apparently making Kim “$43 million in three months,” the rest of the clan hatched a plan to reach out to fans through their own collection of apps. Will Kylie Jenner’s New App Beat ‘Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’?
Each app provides content from a family member; a mini-magazine of sorts, with it’s own monthly subscription. It certainly makes you wonder where this leaves gossip magazines and traditional television shows. A brand new avenue for celebrities to reach out to their audience, by-passing television networks and magazine publishers.
What’s even more interesting is what it means when you consider B&T’s recent interview with Hewlett-Packard’s marketing director Darren Needham-Walker, in which he says, “Gen Ys Are Interacting With Their Devices 35 Times An Hour,” and that “(It’s) engagement over fan size. I rate someone who puts a comment or share much more than someone who purely likes.”
Unsurprisingly, the Kardashians are very much in touch with how to engage today’s fickle audience.
What all these “apps” teach us is this audience expect more than just a throw away app, they want something with intelligence, depth and ongoing engagement. This means that brands need to create are compelling services, with real and scaleable models that enhance a business, service or product. It takes some thinking, but really does offer some amazing opportunities, you just need to think like a Kardashian.