One of the greatest opportunities in ICT right now is developing apps. Mobile innovation is no longer tied to things like hardware design but to app development.
The mobile app economy has exploded in the past year. This industry did not exist in 2008, but it now generates millions of Euros in Europe. Apps are demanded by today’s connected world and they are much more than just something ‘cool’ to have. Europe has had a mobile focus for a long time in terms of innovation and user adoption, and it continues to play a major role in the mobile industry worldwide.
App competitions and hackathons are a great way for SMEs, entrepreneurs, and developers to get a head-start in app development, connect with the local developer community and learn from each other while maybe winning some cash and getting some fame at the same time.
We have also recently launched the European APPCUP 2013 competition, encouraging tech savvy and entrepreneurial Europeans to test their skills as developers and build apps on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms.
We had over 100 exciting, creative, and innovative apps submitted, and it was very difficult to pick our 10 finalists. But all apps are winners because Windows 8 is still new and it offers developers their best platform opportunity yet. These apps are basically the foundation of businesses with the added bonus of low or no overhead costs and no geographic limitation for distribution of their apps.
As they are so fantastic, I wanted to share these 10 innovative apps with you. They are a real example of Europe’s potential to compete in a truly global digital market.
BulldozAIR - Developed by Blockbase, a BizSpark member from France, BulldozAIR is a Windows 8 application for construction companies with employees working in the field. It’s a collaborative reporting system that allows engineers and architects to quickly report building site problems and then share any of these issues with subcontractors and suppliers. The reporting is done through pictures, text and also by sketching. I like this app because it has an added value: site managers can now monitor progress of tasks and operations on the field from their office.
TrashOut – The purpose of this app is to help fight against illegal dumps all over the world by reporting and localizing them. The illegal dumps are showed in the ‘trashmap’ and can be easily shared with municipalities and indeed the entire world. You can install this app in seven languages. TrashOut was developed by the company with the same name and has located more than 1,900+ illegal dumps so far. TrashOut company is a BizSpark member from Slovakia.
Hearing Test – If you want to check how good your hearing is, or perhaps that of any family member or friend, with this app all you need are headphones and a few minutes. Hearing Test is especially targeted to young people, who use headphones to listen to loud music for too long, which can slowly damage their ears. However, this app with an audiometer can help anyone check, keep in check, and also challenge users to keep their hearing health. This app comes from a Spanish developer, Jose Pedro Santos Burgos.
ExpenseFL – If you’re like me and you think of sorting your expenses as a chore, then ExpenseFL can help! With this app you can take a picture of your bills, categorize your expenses and send them directly to your accountant in an xls spreadsheet. You can use your laptop or tablet to save, send, project and track invoices you still need to send to your accountant. This app is for individuals as well as small businesses. ExpenseFL was also developed by a French BizSpark member, Flubber.
SPELINK – This app is an educational game and word puzzle by a developer from the United Kingdom, Jeynandan Nandakamur. SPELINK helps people learn English words and their meanings in a playful setting. When the game begins, the player is greeted with a jumbled word in a circular setting with a single letter in the middle, which has to be used in the guessing of the word. The objective of the game is to complete as many words as possible and qualify to further timed levels. Each player gains a score that will be included in a global ranking system. This thinking game can help boost vocabulary, spelling, speed of thought, as well as increasing analytical, observational and typing/ touch interaction/ coordination skills. There is a promotional site for the app here.
My Sorting Game – Kids love technology, and when an app is a fun game with an added educational value, it gets my parental approval. My Sorting Game is for children over the age of 3 and was developed by Commentor, an IAMCP member from Denmark. This app is designed to enrich children’s imagination by inviting them to put together the missing pieces of a fun and educational story. The game can play in a familiar setting such as the home or in a fairy-tale land. The story is always enriched by beautiful artwork and music. To play the game, kids pick the shapes from the side bar and drag them in the matching hole –it’s easy and does not need parental assistance. In addition to the imaginative and fun story and graphics, because this game is an app, it develops young children’s dexterity with touch or mouse while improving their finger-eye coordination. One last thing about this app, you can even print scenes included in the game and make them into a colouring book.
Human Encyclopedia – Bringing technology in the classroom is a key topic, so I’m happy to see an app about this. From the words of the two developers of this app from Portugal, André Barbosa and Joao Dias: “The purpose of Human Encyclopedia is to change the current educational paradigm, which is inadequate regarding the current generation of students. Nowadays students are accustomed to interacting with technology, which is something that most educational systems still fail to provide.” This app aims to bring 3D interaction and educational contents together in order to generate a more exciting and effective way of learning relevant information about the human body.
Practice Your Music – If you want to play your instrument and you don’t have anyone to do it with, Practice Your Music provides you with a musical ensemble to accompany you. With this interactive app, you can feel part of a real band while enjoying your instrument. You can also mute or change the volume of any of the performers, and even play their part. The application will also keep scores of the performance of any of the musicians that perform the song. This app was developed by a company with the same name. Practice your music company is a BizSpark member from Spain.
Taxibokning – This app is great in Sweden because with Taxibokning you can book a taxi all over Sweden with all large and trusted taxi companies. So far about 85 major taxi companies have registered in 780 Swedish cities. This app is also available as online booking. It was developed by the IAMCP member from Sweden, Exor.
Metroduino – Metroduino is an app by two Spanish developers Tero de la Rosa and Ignacio Cabra. For tech savvy people, Metroduino helps control Arduino boards over the Internet. A great example of the Internet of Things to come! It uses a simple and elegant interface to provide all the switches and controls present in Arduino boards, along with some advanced data graphing capabilities for physical sensors connected to the board.
You can already find some of these great apps in the Windows Phone app store and in the Windows desktop app store !And also think about developing your own app for Windows 8. No great app idea is too small.