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Everyone's talking mobile apps. GE is solidly committed to creating them, both for their B2B and consumer businesses. We sat down recently with the the team responsible for creating them: Andy Markowitz, director of global digital strategy; Dayan Anandappa, director of digital media technologies, and James Blomberg, director of new media & emerging technologies to learn more about the company's approach to app development and deployment, and to see some of their work.
Sales are a criterion when new apps are considered for development at GE, but utility matters just as much, as does speed-to-market. As far as GE is concerned, the time to develop apps for customers is now, before the wow factor wears off and while the company can still impress customers with an app's added value. Ease-of-use is also key. One app, geared to engineers in the field, is avilable on the iPhone, but also on the iPad. Why? "Because engineers wear gloves."
At present, the company is primarily working on apps for the iPhone and iPad. There are a few apps available for BlackBerry users, but only one so far for the rapidly growing Android market.
At present the company has two apps for consumers. The GE Moodcam helps customers select the correct lighting for an area or a specific task. Users can take photos of a space and adjust the lighting quality. They can then find the products that match their selections.
Morsel was developed to help consumers lead healthier lives. The point is to be fun, engaging and participatory, not preachy or boring. The app delivers simple suggestions for healthier eating and exercising. It tracks and graphs a user's progress over time, and integrates with the leading social media sites.
The company is equally, if not more, committed to providing apps for B2B customers. GE Transformers, which monitors the health of transformer equipment, is one example. It offers powerful custom graphing tools and interactive mapping of transformer locations.
How does the company decide what apps to create? First and foremost, it solicits ideas from across the company. Employees with even a germ of an idea for an app are invited to submit the idea for development - and the marketing value of apps is communicated to the staff.
GE's advice to companies considering apps? Build them...now. There's no excuse to wait, and every reason to provide customers with utility and functionality - wherever they may be.