The Value of Mobile Apps in Africa


Today, we decided to let a good friend of ours who is crazy about mobile apps, give us (and the 3 people who view this blog regularly) a marketers point of view on what mobile apps are and how they are relevant in our very African society. Enjoy the read. 

A mobile application is a software application build to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. They are available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry App World.

The development of Apple’s iPad and other mobile devices has lead to the advancement of enterprise mobile application (apps) development.

Mobile application development is the process by which application software is developed for low-power handheld devices, especially phones.

Apple were credited as the trendsetters when their late CEO unleashed the Apple App Store into the market

Apple were credited as the trendsetters when their late CEO unleashed the Apple App Store into the market

Application development platforms enable enterprise developers to design, code, integrate, test, publish and manage business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-enterprise (B2E) mobile apps.

Enterprise mobile apps must meet the customer needs, be able to support most mobile operating systems (OS), have proper supporting infrastructure, a distribution and maintenance plan.

These applications can be pre-installed on phones during manufacture, downloaded by customers from various mobile software distribution platforms, or delivered as web applications using server-side or client-side processing.

To develop a mobile app, developers have to consider a lengthy array of screen sizes, hardware specifications and configurations.

Currently there’s intense competition in mobile software and changes within each of the platforms.

Apps are here, and they're here to stay

Apps are here, and they’re here to stay

Common mobile operating systems include Android, iOS, BlackBerry, HP webOS, Symbian OS, Bada , and Windows Mobile. Most apps developers favour one or two of these platforms when they design apps. Gijima’s mobility offering supports all these platforms thus making mobility and has advocates accessibility through integration.

Centres of learning such as universities and colleges are fertile ground for fresh apps ideas and designs.  Gijima for instance has invested in a relationship with the University of the Western Cape through a programme called CodeJam which affords students to develop apps which can be pro, aimed at to encourage and support students to be innovative, develop entrepreneurial skills, empower themselves and become leaders in the ever-growing trend of mobility.

Great times lie ahead as African countires have decided to embrace the future and  invest in healthcare apps

Great times lie ahead as African countires have decided to embrace the future and invest in healthcare apps as MedAfrica have started to do in Niarobi(above)

The case for app usage in Africa

Africa has more than 500 million mobile devices – roughly one for every two people on the continent – and is partly credited with Africa’s recent economic surge.

According to the World Bank, an average of 10 telephones for every 100 people is enough to increase a developing country’s gross national product by 0.8 percent.

For example, mobile apps are the norm in Africa and several mobile apps see usage statistics in African countries that completely smother app usage statistics in the United States. One such app is Safaricom’s M-PESA mobile payment system. Customers can transfer money to each other via mobile phones (instead of exchanging cash) in Kenya.The app started last year and in just 365 days, garnered eight million customers, reported KPMG International. Eight million people are about forty percent of Kenya’s adult population. Adoption of the app has been so widespread that Kenyan banks have begun using the service. Due to the success of apps like M-PESA, other apps have started to pop up to try and reach the same kind of viral appeal as Safaricom’s app. Gijima has developed Mobile IT, an integrated platform for the development, implementation and full life cycle management of mobile applications, mobile users and mobile devices. This provides connectors that enable integration of data with enterprise resource planning, services desks and other backend programs, which enables the monitoring and management of mobile devices, users and applications.

However, its not all smooth saling an big money

However, its not all smooth saling an big money

Intellectual Property

Africa’s global IP contribution is the lowest with Japan having the highest. During the development of mobile apps, one of the key points to consider is Intellectual property (IP). (IP) refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized in law. Mobile app developers need to be granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets including the app design.

Some common types of intellectual property rights in the ICT sector, include copyright, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and in some jurisdictions trade secrets. The protection of intellectual assets is essential to the competitiveness of most ICT companies. It can also assist with attracting potential investors.  Building, delivering and changing quickly are the hallmarks of mobile apps.

There is a need to properly balance intellectual property systems, to ensure that they offer suitable incentives to invest in research and innovation.

Investment in the development of local IP is beneficial as it fosters entrepreneurial spirit without enormous capital outlay and is also cognizant of local needs.  For example, unlike the developed world the African mobility landscape is dominated by feature phones as well as smartphones.

Some tips on a developing apps

Some tips on a developing apps… if you’re looking at getting into the business or building one for your own business

Mobile apps are moving faster and faster into mainstream adoption, driven by the rapid return on investment (ROI) and the popularity of applications for smartphones and tablets – a strong suit of Syclo’s true cross-platform support!

Newly built mobile apps require cross- platform support to enable an ICT technology company like Gijima to position itself as a market leader. The company’s position in the technology market will be based on the ability to execute, as well as the company’s extensive vision.

Thanks goes to our guest writer Vincent Mothiba. Vincent is a Trends and Media Analyst currently studying PR and Marketing Management. He is passionate about marketing and hopes to one day play a crucial part in the industry in the near future.

Thats our piece and tell them you heard it from Matt “The Rat” Mkhize and @Mr_MediaX!

Follow us Starving Creative or follow @Mr_MediaX

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