A strategy for mobile in Government and Higher Education

I recently did an interview for a journalist in the USA, in which we discussed mobile app strategy, here is a summary...

How does Weejot position brands to succeed that the more common app publishing process does not address?

Weejot.com makes it outstandingly easy to get mobile apps to market fast and in real time. As well as providing a suite of templates that allow non-technical users to design and deploy apps in minutes, the service provides a framework for developers. Since we launched Weejot just under a year ago, we gathered some pace with our enterprise customers - in Government and Higher Education in particular. The City of Edinburgh, a beautiful Gothic city and capital of Scotland, uses weejot for their presence: http://edinburgh.weejot.com as does the famous City of Manchester http://manchester.weejot.com - Both these organisations can manage and control their mobile presence in real-time and at very low, almost zero cost.

In Weejot's vision of the future, are mobile sites taking the place of apps - what role do they play in app industry disruption?

We really see responsive web design as the immediate future of the website - websites should work on all devices. The Responsive design approach uses one design solution for one website that adapts to all devices phone, tablets, laptops and desktop browsers by detecting screen size and displaying layouts optimised for that device. 

We believe mobile web apps (as opposed to sites) will be taking the place of native device apps for a lot of cases. Native apps are ideal for rich application development or immersive apps and games - but for businesses who need content management, transactional apps, payments, collaboration, real time communication and social engagement - this is where the mobile web offers much more real time potential.

Mobile, task oriented apps in real-time. This is where Weejot.com provides something that every business, government and education institution really gets value. We provide the tools to create and organise tasks for customers and users to consume on their mobile devices, tablets and touch / gesture based devices.

A lot of that can be delivered without writing a line of code, however, if you know HTML and Javascript, you can fly first class and build anything you want. We take care of all the infrastructure and a lot of the cross device testing.

We remove all the infrastructure and provide the publishing tools for business users and developers to get productive fast.

The disruption is coming from the mobile users, who download apps rapidly and then delete or ignore them. They change their devices regularly and expect content delivered everywhere. That's a huge investment for an organisation- for something that might have a short shelf life, particularly after you have spent all those dollars in marketing to persuade users to download and install the app from an app store. That's where changing content, presentation and data in real-time using the web alone is a killer app. The way we interact with the web is radically changing to real-time, rapid publish, rapid consumption and on any device - and we want to be at the front of that.

What has been the most surprising thing your team has learned about the market or otherwise since the project launched?

Honestly, the best apps we've seen developed in Weejot have been by young people. One example recently is a 12 year old school child who built out an entire Weejot app in about 20 minutes just using the standard templates in the Weejot AppStudio- it looked as good as anything we've made!  Another example was a 17 year old high school student who wrote an App Template in JavaScript in less than three hours. His app is now live on a Government Weejot App (http://suffolk.weejot.com). That experience started the Weejot in Education mission and that young developer became the youngest Weejot employee! His name is Thomas, we hired him and he now builds for us during his school vacation time.

On the flip side, one of our business users, a CEO of a major membership society, built out a Weejot App for his local Church. He did the entire thing in his hotel room after a meeting in about three hours (http://wacc.weejot.com). The one thing we have learned, is that there is a huge demand for mobile web apps and there are a lot of people who now understand that shiny native apps in app stores isn't the right mobile strategy.

The right strategy is simple:

  • Content is for the responsive web and mobile apps are for tasks.
  • The technology behind that is the web.

What do you think about the shift of app to the cloud?

Its amazing how many business leaders understand the value of cloud services and the huge amounts of money that can be saved and better spent. We have had zero resistance from our enterprise customers.

Weejot is on the new UK Government 'Cloudstore' which means any government or public agency can just subscribe to the service in a day and be live in minutes.

If we had not build weejot.com as a cloud service, but as an on-premise enterprise application, we would never have moved as fast as we have. We certainly would not have been able to offer weejot.com to students for free. Our mission now is to revolutionise computing education and build a nation of mobile programmers, one app at a time.

We also want to revolutionise charities - and how they collect donations and manage fundraising campaigns.

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