Mobile applications and their impact on our daily routine

on 12.04.2012 by Steve Ilbury BLOG

A recent stint without my phone raised my attention to the fact that I am an absolute app addict.

It’s not that my life is governed by the applications installed on my phone, but rather  that I have become accustomed to the convenience offered by these apps.

With Facebook’s recent $1 billon acquisition of Instagram (my personal favorite), many people are questioning the future of the app. A possible future without Instagram is not something I’m pleased about and this has had me thinking about the applications I use and how they have become an integrated part of my personal life. To better understand this I thought it would be fitting to break down a typical day for me, looking at each mobile app I engage with throughout the day…

First things first

  • Typically my day begins with a greeting from Alarm Clock Pro. My main reason for choosing Alarm Clock Pro over my phone’s standard clock was the gentle wake-up, which can be set to play any song from your phone’s music player.
  • The first thing I do after waking is check my email, SMSs and Whatsapp. Whatsapp is a cross platform instant messenger that allows me to chat to and share content with all of my contacts. As far as applications go, this is probably the most used item on my phone and has quickly replaced SMSing as my main form of communication with friends and family.
  • Another part of my daily routine is checking updates on my various social media platforms. To do this I use the respective platforms applications, which include: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google + and LinkedIn.
  • Throughout the day I use free time to check on these platforms. If I find articles of interest, I add it to my Instapaper ‘Read It Later’ and videos are queued on my Squrl account.

Getting around: app life

  • I’m very bad at directions and no matter how long I’ve lived here, I still get lost driving around my neighborhood. Luckily, there’s an app for that. TomTom have condensed their GPS technology into an incredibly intuitive and user-friendly app, which is simply called TomTom Southern Africa. My favourite function of this app is the ‘Google Search’ feature, which allows you to punch in the name of a business or building and the app will use Google Maps to find the address and location for you.
  • Like most, I love sharing content, particularly in the form of photos. As a hobbyist photographer, I’ve always found the simplicity of my phone’s camera frustrating. Enter Camera+. Essentially this application takes your standard phone camera and gives you a lot more control over the photos you’re taking. This includes extra zoom, exposure, focus and some basic editing features.
  • In the past I would upload multiple photos from an event or location as a new album. This whole process quickly became very tedious and frustrating, especially when traveling across country. As a solution to this, I’ve begun using Diptic. This simple app allows you to combine multiple photos on your phone and save the collage as a new photo.
  • When I feel a photo is ready for sharing, I publish it to Instagram. After adding a filter, I share the photo across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. My favourite thing about Instagram is that I can use it as a central hub not only for sharing photos but for checking-in too. By geotagging a photo in Instagram, I can use the app to check-in to a location on both Facebook and Foursquare.
  • Occasionally, I will go to a venue that I don’t think is worth sharing a photo of, or worth bragging to my Facebook friends about. For cases like this, I will simply open the Foursquare app and check-in. After all, no matter how boring the venue, it’s still worth the points.
  • Lastly, another app that I find myself using almost everyday is the Internet Movie Database. Whether it’s looking up reviews on a movie we are about to watch, settling the “Who’s this actress married to?” argument or putting the name to the face of an actor, I find myself pulling the IMDB app out almost every time I sit in front of the TV with my family.

I personally don’t feel that applications are a disruptive force, but rather have become an integrated part of our daily lives, adding convenience to our daily routine. I have covered only a handful of the many applications I use on a daily basis.

Take a second to look at your phone, your tablet and your computer. Think about your own personal routine and the hundreds of applications you encounter on a daily basis. The mobile app market is a multi-billion dollar industry and is constantly growing. Is there room to expand your own brand onto this medium?

Comments

The biggest issues with extending a brand into the app market though is, especially in South Africa, the majority of individuals are still using feature phones that don’t support apps, and that data costs are obscene in this country. This makes it impractical, and expensive for a brand to try justify pushing an app out onto the market. Even if a brand does find they can make effective use of an app, they’re still left with the question of which platform to develop for, both Apple and Android have their own pros and cons; and you still run the risk of antagonizing the users that you don’t develop for. Developing an app for ones brand is no different from any other marketing exercise and at the end of the day the cost to expenditure has to be well justified.

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