Posted By oomphhq on January 18th, 2012

Giving Apps More Oomph

19th January 2012

Giving apps more Oomph

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Digital action in the Asia-Pacific

Originally from Ireland, Keith Ahern came to Australia via Silicon Valley, where he worked for Netscape on the Navigation Browser and Philips Research and Development, where he was granted two US patents.

After arriving in Australia in 2000, Ahern worked in various online roles before co-founding the Oomph Tablet Publishing Platform, which today powers over 90 iOS and Android apps for brands including ACP Magazines, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and News Corp.

Ahern talks to SMK about how it’s becoming easier and more profitable for brands to use tablet apps.

It all started with the iPhone

In September 2008 Ahern left News Digital Media (a division of News Ltd), where he was Mobile Technology Manager, and started working with Tom Adams, whom he’d worked with on mobile projects previously. The two launched Mogeneration and began developing apps for the recently released iPhone, which then accounted for 1% of the handset market.

Their client list grew as the iPhone gained popularity, and Ahern and Adams soon moved from making custom apps to a platform they licensed to media companies and publishers.

They called their platform Oomph.

Giving apps more Oomph

The idea for Oomph, a tablet publishing platform, arose as a way to streamline the often-costly app development process.

“We created Oomph because a certain percentage of what every customer wanted we were building over and over again. So Oomph makes that available, but in a way that the customer gets to brand it and show it off in a way that they entirely own.”

Click, point, create

While Oomph uses sophisticated technology, it remains easy for clients to use.

“We literally try and disappear behind the scenes. We let the creative people realise what the product vision is, using terms that and tools that they are familiar with.”

Clients start by selecting a plan on the Oomph website, where they decide what type of content, such as text and video, to include in the app. The next step is to create the app, with Oomph’s staff providing technical support throughout the process.

Once the app is complete, Oomph work with Apple and Android to publish and push out the content, for example via Apple’s newsstand.

Users more willing to pay for mobile content

Before the iPhone, consumers were typically only paying for ring tones and wallpaper on their mobile devices.

With the App Store, Apple offered a curated, trusted selection of apps and a streamlined payment system that changed that way consumers engage with and pay for content. Ahern sees this trend continuing in the burgeoning tablet market.

“With its bigger screen and price-tag, people are willing to pay a little bit more content on the iPad. It’s very easy to reach a world market through the app store is very well established on the iPad. The app store tends to provide a richer experience [than the web] that people feel has more value attached to it.”

Tablets changing e-commerce

Ahern sees the rise of tablets as a game changer for e-commerce, as consumers can now shop within the app. Oomph recently produced an app for Fitness First that showed a 360 degree view of each trainer and a tap to buy feature that led to a price comparison engine, showing the best price for the product.

As tablets continue to grow in popularity in Australia, Ahern sees the brands becoming increasingly able to profit through apps.

“We’ve all seen the stats, but there is a huge usage of iPad in the evening time which is a high e-commerce time. All indications are that this will be one of the most important e-commerce platforms within a really short chunk of time. Apps help the brand connect with the consumer in the way they want to be connected with.”

Who needs an app?

Oomph works with a range of clients, all the way from News Corp to small businesses. Ahern says clients who have content, whether it’s written, photo, video or media rich content that they want to reach a tablet audience can benefit from apps.

“We take on any kind of client that wants to use social media to engage with customers, and who want to monetise and measure. So we’ve know we’ve got clients right across consumer, B2B, government, education and enterprise.”

Posted By: Dan Kuseta