Mobile Apps have Exploded
But how to choose the right one for your organization
- By Christie Walters-Hebert
- Jan 01, 2015
How did you start your day today? How did you end your day
yesterday? For most of us, starting or ending our day involves
connecting in some way with a mobile application. In 2014, the
number of Internet users worldwide has reached nearly 30 billion.
While the majority of these users connect via fixed-line to
a PC, the growth of mobile- and cloud-based solutions has skyrocketed. Industry
experts estimate that mobile-only users (no laptop, no desktop) will hit 1 billion
The proliferation of mobile- and cloud-based applications is changing the entire
computing landscape. This vast array of apps is allowing users to control everything
from the TV shows recorded on their home DVR to the volume on a personal
hearing aid. Who would have guessed five years ago that the PC would now
be on the endangered devices list as tablets and smartphones become the preferred
devices for work and play.
Industry experts predict mobile applications will replace traditional methods of
media and entertainment, traditional means of communication and traditional ways of making payments in the next few years. The race is
on in all industries to provide the next mobile app innovation,
and the competition is only getting fiercer.
This is no less true for the security industry. Although
big technology companies have been testing
the waters in the security industry for years, the barriers
to entry for most core security offerings have been
too great or potential profits too small to make entrée
by these big players a reality thus far.
This is certainly not the case when it comes to mobile
app development. As a whole, the industry has a
lot to learn from the titans of the mobile app world.
Today, security industry end users are more tech-savvy
and more tied to their mobile devices than ever before,
and fears of managing critical elements of their
business via mobile technology are waning with each
Mobile App Development
For our business, we see mobile and cloud-based technology
as the cornerstone of future product development
and essential to our continued strong growth.
For manufacturers, there are some basic tenets of
building a mobile app that you need to understand
before that first line of code is laid down.
Although no product should ever be developed in a
vacuum, comprehensive customer analysis is essential
to developing mobile and cloud-based applications.
Let’s face it, if we don’t understand what the customer
really needs, which is often different from what they
say they need—that app will never be downloaded or
worse, will be downloaded and never used.
First and foremost to our customer analysis, understand
why you need an app. For a security application,
mobile apps can give a customer remote anytime,
anywhere control over certain devices or systems. At
a basic level, an app could allow a user to arm/disarm
intrusion systems, manage access control systems, or
interact with their video system—retrieve snapshots
or recorded video, view live video and share with others.
In a more advanced app, users can manage lighting
and environmental controls, personal security devices,
or business intelligence applications.
Second, who will use the app? If your primary audience
is the power user, your development will take
a different path from a mobile app developed for the
basic user. You likely will not need to replicate all
functions of your native applications, but can focus
on the most interactive features for maximum impact.
It is important to understand how tech-savvy your
users are, how often they will use the app, and from
what type of device.
Choosing the Right Mobile App
As a mobile app user, it is important to understand
what features you plan to use most often when choosing
a mobile app provider. Beyond the essentials of
stability and access across multiple mobile platforms,
four key attributes need to be considered.
Usability. Mobile apps must be easy to use and
manageable on multiple devices, deploy more graphics
than text and require little to no training to use.
What type of interface do you prefer? Is it easy for
you to get to what you need when you need it? Are
critical functions accessible, but not so much so that
you inadvertently trigger an unintended action?
Relevance. If the app isn’t relevant for you, it’s not
valuable to you. Does the app allow you to customize
your experience? Can you choose what notifications
you want to receive and when you want to receive
them? Does the app give you options and functionality
others do not?
Integration. Although less is sometimes more, if
your app allows integration of multiple technologies,
the greater the chance you will use it daily. Are you
able to manage your critical systems without issue?
Can you arm/disarm your intrusion systems, manage
access control or video data, or incorporate lighting
and climate controls? Can you interact with your security
system provider for monitoring or maintenance
assistance through the app?
Uniqueness. Your mobile app provider should look
beyond traditional security and seek to provide value
for your entire business. Does the app integrate with
your existing analytics or business intelligence platform?
Do you have a need for GPS-enabled, mass
notification, or wearable applications? Importantly, is
the app valuable across several departments and not
just for security?
The proliferation of mobile apps has opened up a
new world of interactive systems in the security industry.
For the manufacturer, a robust mobile app roadmap
can be a constant reinforcement of system value
and help achieve a deeper connection to the end user.
For the end user, choosing the right mobile app provider
can improve your bottom line and give you a level of
control over your systems previously reserved for the
integrator alone. The most relevant app is the one that
becomes an indispensable tool for your daily routine.
One thing is certain, we have seen only a fraction of the
potential power of mobile apps for
the security industry. How will you
start your day tomorrow?
This article originally appeared in the issue of .