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Highlands and Islands businesses invited to get app happy

12 April 2012

Finance, travel, games, shopping, design, news, music - you can find an app for them all. By 2014 it is expected that 77 billion mobile applications, or apps, will have been downloaded from the Android and Apple markets.

And this month companies in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to a free business event being held in Inverness which is looking at how to capitalise in this multibillion pound industry.

The half day workshop is being organised on April 25 by Interface, the knowledge connection for business which matches businesses with the world class expertise and skills within all of Scotland's university and research institutes, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Robert Gordon University.

"If you want to find out about apps and whether your business might benefit from having one then this event will give you all the information you need. We have experts coming along who are working at the cutting edge of software development and in research. They can show you what apps can do, how they have affected the availability of products and services, and how you actually go about developing them," said David Chapman, Senior Project Executive with Interface.

Providing improved services through creative innovation and technology, particularly to rural and remote areas, is something HIE is keen to see developed. Iain Hamilton, Head of Creative Industries, commented: "Many people associate apps with convenience and entertainment, and they certainly can provide new ways of engaging with customers. But apps also have a much wider role including providing life saving services for people with medical conditions.

"Their potential is already important to medical researchers in the North of Scotland as they explore how technology can provide digital health services to patients in their own homes. We also want to see developers themselves living and working in the Highlands and Islands."

Gordon Murrison, is co-founder of Open Planet Software, an Inverurie based company that specialises in app development. As well as developing apps for clients they have successfully created several of their own apps. One of these is 'Smoovie' - an iPad app for creating stop motion animations that's enjoyed by families and educators around the world. He will be speaking at the event.

"Although I'm going to be talking about how to develop an app, I'll be careful to ensure the content will not be too technical. I'll give an overview of steps involved - from the initial idea through to distribution on the App Store." said Gordon.

He thinks it is an interesting area for businesses to consider, and that the ease of use is key.

He added: "I'd say an app has to offer some sort of value that would make a user want to come back to it after they've downloaded it. Always ask WHY someone would keep your app installed on their device. In general, simply packaging up some information about your company and distributing it as an app is not a particularly engaging experience. For example, an app for a car insurance company could help you if you have an accident by letting you record the relevant information, take photos and even submit your claim. You're much more likely to keep this app over one that just gives you renewal quotes each year. Features like this might be slightly more costly to build but the app is likely to be a success if it's 'sticky'."

Other speakers at the event include Shaun Allan of Vector76, who is a Virtual Worlds/Augmented Reality Developer; Graeme Grant, Principal Designer, c4di at RGU; Gavin Dutch, of Kotikan who will talk about Edinburgh Fringe apps and there will be a guide to legal issues in App development with media and technology lawyer Angus MacLeod of Wright, Johnston and Mackenzie Solicitors.

  • The event will run from 11.30-4pm on Wednesday 25th April at the Ironworks and is free to attend.
  • Interested companies can find more details and register on the event page.

 


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