Attack of the Killer APPS
Will the next one come from Ottawa?
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