The first time is the one you are most nervous about. How will it go ? Will you be on top of your game ? Will it all end well ?
Mobile Monday launched the first event of 2012 on 30th Jan with a major bang !
Over 200 mobile enthusiast arrived at Cafe Culture for the Vodacom sponsored Mobile Apps and the Development community in South Africa event. The aim was for developers and business to get together and recognise the opportunities that are available in Mobile Development.
The drinks were flowing, networking opportunities kicked into high gear and techies reunited after the holiday season where they saw sunlight for the first time in month. Richard, Momo’s co-chair, welcomed everyone and handed the mic over to Jon who was running the show. Jon introduced the evening’s theme by showing the Nokia 3310 and the first mobile app we all recall having: snake . Jon goes on to discuss how the mobile app have significantly changed as the phones and networks have evolved
Gift from Vodacom addressed the audience by sharing information and statistics about the Vodacom App Store. Most surprisingly was the breakdown of the downloaded applications by Platforms : Java was still 43%, Blackberry 15%, Symbian 16%, Android 7%
The esteem panel discussion was up next ready to be questioned (interrogated ?) by the audience. The panel was made up of a mix of industry experts consisting of:
- Gift Mphefu from Vodacom – Portfolio Manager, Vodacom App Store
- William Price from South African Tourism – Global Manager Emarketing
- Grant van Wyk from PBEL – Head of Mobile Development
- Helga Letowt-vorbek from Mantaray IT – User Experience Design
- Adrian Lee from Samsung – Mobile Content Lead, Samsung Mobile SA
- Toby Kurien an Independent Android Freelancer
Gift discussed the Vodacom App Store and its advantages to Developers and even announced that Vodacom is to launch an incentive scheme for innovative apps to encourage developments of local application. Vodacom App Store has 800 000 downloads of which small percentage are paid for. However, paid applications were only introduced in December 2012.
Grant explains how customers demands have changed over time and how the most popular request for development is Mobile Gaming which is a novel way of putting the company brands into people’s hands.
Adrian confirms that Samsung believes that the talent is here in South Africa and features local apps on the Samsung app store. The Samsung store has had over 220% month-on-month growth in amount of applications downloaded.
Helga reiterates that the end user experience is important – a simple development glitch can derail a customer’s experience. When designing mobile apps and using phone gestures, “do not confuse the user by using the gesture to perform one task in one location and another task in another location. Be consistent as the user is learning the application as they are using it.”
Toby described how using HTML5 is not always the best practice. “Whilst you can design applications once and use them on multiple platforms (ie iPhone and Android), the experience for the user is not great.” Toby goes onto say that “HTML5 doesn’t allow you to take advantage of the phone’s features and capabilities” .
Once the Panel was done, the three companies that were shortlisted to pitch their mobile application were up next. The Moderator, Andrew, had a “pitch your app for exactly 2 minute” rule which he stuck to rigidly !
Three apps that were pitched were :
- House4Hack – a cell phone based security for homes
- DLING – Searching shopping centres for deals and promotions
- WIMapp – facility to explain what you want by drawing it on your phone and it is converted to a video clip and sent onto anyone.
The panel huddled to discuss the pros and cons of each application to determine the winner. This discussion was rather intense as all three applications had merits and it was finally agreed that WIMapp was the overall winner.
Vodacom pulled out all the stops and all three companies received Galaxy Tab 10.1 from Vodacom for their efforts. I am sure that we will be hearing more about these applications in the future – watch this space.
So in summary:
There are two indicators for a successful evening. The first: when the bar tab has run out and people still stay and pay for their own drinks. The second: is the time that people leave the event when the event is officially over. By my two very scientific indicators, the evening was a runaway success. The Bar tab was reached just before the panel discussion (about half way) and by 10pm there were still people chatting away…they were there from 5:30pm !
I would like to thank the Momo people for an awesome night and I am sure the rest of the year’s events will be just as great. Anyone who has not been to any Momo events, I am not sure why not ? Its free to attend, you get a great mix of socialising, networking, food and drinks and even learn a thing of two about technology…any reason not to go ???
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