Chattanooga residents are capitalizing on the application revolution.
They aren’t simply using apps—they are creating them—and the potential uses and benefits are still untapped.
“The opportunities are available,” Taylor McDonald, co-founder of Second Site, said. “It’s only limited by your imagination.”
According to MobiThinking, there are 5.3 billion mobile subscribers. That’s 77 percent of the world population.
The company’s 2011 research also shows that more than 300,000 mobile apps have been developed in the past three years. Apps have been downloaded 10.9 billion times and demand for mobile apps is expected to peak in 2013.
From games and news to maps and music, people worldwide are using apps on cell phones and other devices, such as iPads.
McDonald likened the jump from cell phones to smart phones with apps to the jump from television to computers.
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Chattanooga residents on Twitter shared some of their favorite apps.
@MsWonderland — Kindle, Beerwhere and Urbanspoon.
@Nosie_Rosie — Vlingo — an app that reads aloud all incoming email and text while the user is driving.
@MKelley — Springpad on the iPad.
Chattanooga residents have also created an app review site for small business, professionals, and entrepreneurs. For more information click here.
As cell phones and computers become even more affordable and portable, it provides the opportunity to take application development to a higher level, he said.
“You can watch videos on your computer, just like on your TV, but it’s all the other stuff that makes a computer, a computer,” he said.
Chattanooga Assistant District Attorney Boyd Patterson saw greater potential for lawyers to use technology, so he created a new iPad application and an online jury consulting program, which is the first of its kind.
Some app creators work with software developers on their projects, while others have the knowledge themselves, either from self-taught skills or working in related fields.
The Company Lab co-founder Sheldon Grizzle, which sponsored 48-Hour Launch, said that the most recent event had more app ideas than the previous two.
“I think everybody is still trying to figure out how to tackle the mobile world,” he said.
Local resident Chante Newcomb, who also participated in the 48-Hour Launch, said she saw many “innovative” app ideas during the weekend.
But, she said an idea might not be enough. She thinks some projects need better marketing to explain the technology in a simple way.
“I think, a lot of times, techies think if we build it, they will come,” she said. “But that’s not always the case. There needs to be a value for the app that solves a problem and a simple explanation of why it will solve that problem.”
But she said that, perhaps the time crunch of working within a 48-hour period hindered the clear explanation of apps.
Heartland — Chattanooga
Adam McElhaney, a UTC graduate and IT administrator BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, is a mostly self-taught software developer who loves Chattanooga and thought it needed to be the focus of a video game.
So he created a mobile app that puts Chattanooga in the center of World War III. The oil supplies have gone barren. China and Russia have joined forces, the United States is in ruins and a Russian-led invasion of Chattanooga is underway. They want the rail systems and it is up to fighter pilots to fight off the enemies.
“I love Chattanooga and I wanted to bring Chattanooga’s landscape and its environment to a video game,” McElhaney said.
The app is currently available on iTunes and McElhaney has others for sale there, too.
Rob Richmond and Chris Enter are in the process of creating an app that allows for residents to communicate in real-time via mobile a device app or website about happenings in their neighborhoods.
Enter lives in North Chattanooga and a couple of summers ago there was a string of break-ins in the area. That problem helped prompt the app idea.
The business partners have experience with phone apps and websites, but also brought in others to help with their vision.
Once the app is complete, local residents will be able to pick a neighborhood and an area surrounding where they live and then enter relevant information about any activity that they witness.
Then other people in that area will be able to see and use that information.
The business partners said they hope it creates more communication between neighbors, raises awareness about crime, and sends a message to criminals that they are being watched—ultimately creating safer communities.
Second Site’s Open Blu
Second Site is a company that develops augmented reality content and applications. McDonald was one of several people who participated in the recent 48-Hour Launch event and worked on app-related projects.
His app is called Open Blu, which is still in its alpha stage. The idea is that it allows for crowd-sourcing of life science, such as water quality.
So, if a local resident noticed pollution, the app will help them understand what water quality laws are applicable where they are and will allow them to notify the appropriate regulatory agency about the issue, McDonald said.
City Councilman Andrae McGary has created a app concept that allows citizens to participate in the city’s budgeting process.
Through the online site and mobile app, citizens can identify problems and generate ideas about local projects. Then they can identify leaders who can work with politicians and other experts to shape the project.
Local residents can then vote on what projects are most important that elected officials can include in the budget.
As early as January, city department leaders will begin putting together a budgetary “wish list,” McGary said.
He hopes the application allows for transparency in government and increases knowledge among citizens.
“For democracy to be successful, you have to have an informed population,” he said.