As mobile becomes increasingly vital to online retailers, former Microsoft developers are promising to take the headache out of exploiting the channel.
They have developed Merlin, a management system that can simultaneously run mobile apps for a range of devices including iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows.
The technology has been developed by Paul Cleaves of Bitmix Media, which most recently has worked on the new mobile apps for News International titles The Times and The Sunday Times.
Other apps he is responsible for is the one for the FIA World Rally Championship and one for Glamour Magazine. Cleaves has teamed up with former Microsoft colleague Steve Abrams, director of design and usability specialist UXEye, to bring Merlin to market.
Abrams told Travolution: “Today, when you ask someone to build you an app you can either go to a great big service provider and they charge you a fortune or a small garage developer who more often than not will be an expert in one of the platforms.”
This means many firms are putting off getting into mobile due to either prohibitive cost, or the fear that they will invest in the wrong platform.
However, Abrams said the Merlin system allows an app to be adapted to different platforms and uses for a minimal additional sum.
For instance he said the firm has been in talks with an international conference organiser which needs an app for each of its many individual conference around the globe.
“Merlin will re-skin the original app with information tailored to the current event, so the Moscow event app will be effectively retired with minimal effort and the next event’s app will go live,” Abrams said.
Due to the content management relationship UXEye builds up with clients apps can also be managed in terms of what information is presented to whom.
This means apps for internal corporate use only can be tailored so PAs see different information to the management team.
“We can subset the readership,” Abrams said. “Plus there may be times during the year when the customer want the app to look different.
“We can change and control the app without the client needing an expensive team to do so.
“Loads of companies provide software development kits (SDKs), what we like to do is provide more of a service and develop a close relationship.”
Abrams sees the travel industry as having plenty of potential for apps, saying mobile is on the cusp of experiencing a gold rush, although he currently does not have any clients in the sector.
“What we don’t want to do is build you this thing and bugger off and you won’t see us again. There are plenty of people doing that. Small and medium sized businesses are going to have to partner with someone.”
- UXEye does not currently have a website. For more information email Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org