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Becker alumnus taps into the exploding mobile application industry
Knowledge is power. Time is money. Remote access is paramount.
Few people understand these simple tenets and how they are shaping our global economy better than Erjon Metohu ’08, founder and creative director of Eri Mobile. Metohu’s company focuses on mobile application development for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows mobile phones.
Not yet familiar with mobile applications? No problem. All that’s required is at least one opposable thumb, a handheld mobile device with internet connectivity (commonly known as a ‘smartphone’) and the ability to embrace the increasingly digital age that surrounds you.
Many businesses are realizing that just having a website is no longer the only – or the most efficient means for connecting with and serving the needs of today’s consumers. More and more customers are relying on mobile applications (better known simply as “apps”) to communicate, search products and services, find information, and make purchases.
Metohu is fully aware that the smartphone industry is rapidly spiking upward. “In April of 2011, a tech research firm [Gartner] reported that almost 300 million smartphones were shipped last year alone,” he says. “This year, that figure is expected to jump to 468 million. Next year, smartphone shipments could exceed 630 million. By 2015, the research firm predicts 1.1 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide.”
The advent of the “app era” coupled with advancements in the growing mobile device industry has re-defined how we conduct business and interact with the world around us. Instant access to the global marketplace, in addition to decentralized access to our society’s combined knowledge-base, puts the world, quite literally, at your fingertips. Digital media trends have shifted dramatically in recent years and the burgeoning mobile application industry represents a culmination of technological advancements in a relatively new but rapidly expanding market.
These trends also serve as testimony that we are indeed a culture that strives for easy access and places great emphasis on instant gratification. It seems we have collectively accepted the notion that perpetual connectivity is not only okay, but necessary in order to maintain a competitive edge, both professionally and socially.
As we are engulfed in a new era of information consumption, Metohu is riding the crest and earning his own slice of the action: “My goal is to be one of the leading mobile app development companies in the New England area. Since I have a passion and love for website development, technology, and smartphones, I decided to jump into the mobile app development industry because there is currently an extremely strong demand for app developers,” Metohu explains. “This is an exciting time for mobile app developers, there is so much potential for quick growth. Personally, I’m getting new requests each week and it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep up with all the requests.”
Each application takes anywhere from one to six months to build – depending on the overall functionality and complexity of the application itself. His first client was a company called Status Ride, an exotic and luxury car rental company that wanted to develop an iPhone app to promote their product line via 3D tours, videos, and virtual test drives. “I never thought that my work would involve interacting with Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, Maseratis and Rolls Royces,” Metohu beams. “It’s a dream come true for me in many ways.”
“So far,” Metohu shared, “I’ve been able to use the entrepreneurial and marketing strategies I learned during my time at Becker to propel me to where I am today. My Becker education has opened many doors for me so far and I’m fortunate to have earned one of the most well-respected design degrees in New England.”
In addition to joining the ranks of Becker faculty as an adjunct web design instructor, Metohu consults on web strategies for www.becker.edu and is in the process of developing a concept for Becker College’s very own mobile application. The proposed application, Becker on the Go, would allow prospective students the ability to schedule a tour, chat with an admissions officer, take a virtual tour of campus or apply online. Current members of the Becker community would be able to research professors, check course schedules, register for classes, find the next shuttle, check out what’s on the menu for dinner, monitor the news, RSVP to events, and more.
Chances are, there’s a mobile application only a few touches away that is designed for the sole purpose of making your life easier, better informed, healthier, and wealthier. Need to pay a bill or transfer money in a pinch? Or maybe research restaurant options in between a game of Angry Birds and quick browse of your facebook news feed? Why not take a few moments to consult the weekend weather report, your stock portfolio, and latest scores of the big game before documenting your ambitious calisthenics routine and monitoring your daily caloric intake? Searching for that special recipe or to find the lowest fare for a much needed beach getaway? Want to see how you would look 400 pounds heavier just for the fun of it while streaming your favorite music station?
“Rest assured,” Metohu says with a smile, “…there is most certainly an app for that.”
According to Cambridge-based Forrester Research, Apple has more than 350,000 apps, while the Android platform has about 150,000. Already a $2.2 billion market, the firm estimates that revenues generated from paid apps could surpass $35 billion by 2015. A leading media-centered research group, Screen Digest, predicts that the global market for mobile apps will rise 81.5% by the end of 2011.
By Raffi Der Simonian
Photos by Edd Cote