At­tack of the Killer APPS

Will the next one come from Ottawa?

Techopia - - Cover - BY STE­FAN DUBOWSKI

With 115,000 iPhone and iPod pro­grams and count­ing, Ap­ple Inc.’s App Store cer­tainly is a hot­bed of ap­pli­ca­tion ac­tiv­ity. And while many say Ottawa’s ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try is well-po­si­tioned to make its mark in this pop­u­lar arena, oth­ers cau­tion suc­cess here might look some­what dif­fer­ent than ex­pected.

One thing every­one can agree on, though, is that lo­cal ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment shops are mak­ing head­way by us­ing busi­ness sense and flex­i­bil­ity. Se­lect Start Stu­dios is just a few months old, but ac­cord­ing to co-founder Adam McNa­mara, its con­tract app-dev busi­ness has taken off – es­pe­cially since switch­ing busi­ness mod­els to go af­ter cash in­stead of flash. The com­pany started out by de­vel­op­ing applications to sell on the App Store, but found rev­enue streams from paid down­loads rel­a­tively thin; now, Se­lect Start spends more time build­ing apps com­ple­ment­ing other ef­forts.

A cus­tomer might hire the stu­dio to de­velop a game as part of an on­go­ing mar­ket­ing pro­mo­tion, for in­stance, or a pro­gram de­signed to pro­vide mo­bile ac­cess to an ex­ist­ing busi­ness-fo­cused soft­ware sys­tem.

“There’s been a lot of in­ter­est in the last month,” Mr. McNa­mara says. In mid-De­cem­ber the com­pany had four em­ploy­ees, and planned to ex­pand to seven by early 2010. “Fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies are one of the ar­eas we’re work­ing with, and se­cu­rity.” Se­lect Start de­vel­oped an iPhone ap­pli­ca­tion for Gazaro Inc., a Web firm with offices in Ottawa and Moun­tain View, Calif., spe­cial­iz­ing in help­ing peo­ple price on­line items. The pro­gram, avail­able for 99 cents on the App Store, lets users com­pare prices and an­a­lyze cost trends.

Par­liant Corp. is an­other Ottawa ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment house rid­ing the Ap­ple wave. Ac­cord­ing to com­pany pres­i­dent Kevin Ford, the firm cre­ated an app al­low­ing users of its PhoneValet com­mu­ni­ca­tion soft­ware to ac­cess fea­tures of the main sys­tem from their mo­bile hand­sets.

Par­liant also does con­tract work for

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