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We live in a world increasingly driven by apps. Apple’s famous “there’s an app for that” slogan is more of a truism these days than it is a marketing ploy. Research from Mobithinking suggests that the estimated number of app users worldwide will hit more than four-billion by the end of 2017. Such a figure not only indicates the growing demand for mobile applications, but the reality that mobile content is shaping the way people utilise their mobile devices.
And while emerging markets may have been slower to adapt, an influx of cheap smartphones from the likes of China means that they’re starting to catch up quickly. Indeed, even in a country with as mixed an economy as South Africa, around 20% of the population has a smartphone.
It makes sense therefore that people should be rewarded for creating great apps in those markets. One even which looks to do exactly that is the MTN Business App of the Year Awards. The awards, conceptualised by headline sponsors MTN Business and event organisers Creative Space Media, are now in their second year and claim to be “the premier showcase of South Africa’s innovation in the mobile app space”.
This year’s winners include:
Best App 7 Best HTML5 App — SnapScan
With SnapScan you can pay using only your phone. According to Nomalanga Nkosi, GM: Enterprise Marketing at MTN SA, “This team demonstrated a solid passion for application development, and this, along with their innovation and understanding of what a mobile user really wants from an app has led them to receiving this.”
Best IOS Consumer — DStv
In 2011, the DStv guide launched on iPad in addition to its print and online form. DStv viewers were able to access their 10-day viewing schedule on the go. Since then, the team says, has added a number of features, such as entertainment news and the ability to share content.
Best IOS Enterprise — .comm Telco Data Visualizer
Deloitte Digital have developed the “.comm Telco Data Visualizer” app which takes big data of telcos, utilities and large corporate customer segments (in this case a telco) and visualises these (initially on the first data layer) within an interactive bubble chart to allow for 3 dimensions of the data. The app also features an interactive timeline where a user can drag the timeline to view the various customer segments for various daily timeframes. Unlike historical telco data, the data was grouped by user behavior and analyzes the way people interact with their mobile devices as well as tracking their migration to different uses and spend patterns.
Best Blackberry app — PriceCheck Mobile
It’s been a good year for PriceCheck’s BlackBerry app. It also won International App of the Year at BlackBerry live back in May. The app basically brings the company’s price comparison service to mobile.
Best Android app Enterprise — MarkitShare
MarkitShare is an application that claims to “modernise the entire process of listing real-estate to an end-point or client environment such as a real-estate website”. It allows real-estate agencies and agents to move information around within a social platform, maximising the day to day performance of the industry itself.
Best Android app Consumer — Nedbank App Suite
The Nedbank App Suite, launched in June last year, claims to provide clients with a “one of a kind, customisable and accessible banking, financial services and lifestyle mobile experience”.
Best Windows app — Kids Aid
The First Aid is designed to give parents first aid information on the go. According to the app makers, “With step-by-step instructions you will be guided to ensure your child or infant is treated immediately for the most effective results”.
Most innovative app — bookly
Built by digital agency Native, bookly is an e-reader app for Mxit. The app allows users to keep a virtual library of books, and includes features such as automatic book progress saving, bookmarks, in-app moola purchases, gamification and more.
Best independent (garage) developer — Gautrain Buddy
Gautrain Buddy displays Gautrain Train and Gautrain Bus timetable data on your phone, featuring a summary view showing your next trains or busses.
“The aim of these awards is to provide an environment that allows local developers to thrive and really showcase the originality of their market approach and this can only be achieved when we continue to work together with our partners in the industry who share in this vision. There is no doubt that local apps are certainly revolutionising the South Africa Business landscape and MTN Business is so proud to be at the fore of such a prestigious event. If these Awards show us and the rest of the industry anything, it is that the talented pool of local app developers needs to be nurtured and we feel that we have certainly achieved this and would like to thank everyone who participated in making this event another great success. Congratulations to all the winners this year – we look forward to seeing more of your work in the industry going forward,” concludes Nkosi.
The judges who adjudicated this year’s awards included; Melissa Attree, a social media expert, Kojo Baffoe, the editor of Destiny Man magazine, Toby Shapshak, the editor of Stuff magazine, Jonathan Hoehler, the manager of mobile technologies at Deloitte Digital, and Max Stone, a divisional director at Pinnacle Africa.