Don’t worry, be appy

Submitted by on the 2nd of February 2016

 Apps are a necessary part of our daily lives. As Jay Baer, author of Youtility, says: “Mobile is how we are spending our time, and we are ALREADY spending 80% of that mobile time in apps. I believe this demonstrates that consumers indeed want the simplicity and focus that apps provide, rather than the variety and diffusion inherent in websites.”

My personal history with mobile apps dates back to the days of Mxit. The (original) messenger app enabled my friends and me to communicate with one another in chat groups at a whopping cost of 1c a message. Whether for friendly banter, or as part of academic group discussions, Mxit opened up a world of possibilities with which to collectively communicate with one another without having to be in the same vicinity. This app was the start of incredible things to come.

I’ve stumbled across many apps that assist me to organise and plan for as much as possible in the real world. Being a control freak, organisation, productivity, and lifestyle apps have made a significantly positive impact. Prior to the land of app utopia, messy notebooks, an array of colourful stationery, and lots of paper-killing printing took place. Today, everything is neatly and easily accessible via one intuitive device – my smartphone.

Experts predict that by 2020 we’re looking at multiple wearable devices, tech and systems where you’re able to connect to, and utilize, any of your downloaded apps – that’s right, any system or device. As Chupamobile, one of the largest app marketplaces, aptly puts it:

“Think of smart cars, which will be able to connect to other systems easily, such as the traffic signal. The signal’s sensor will give directions about traffic, current weather conditions, alert about an accident and provide alternate routes etc. to the driver. There will be many such systems and a lot of them will be operated / controlled from devices having in-built sensors such as a wearable.”

This is a list of my top 10 apps that made my life (and work) significantly better in 2015 (to highlight the benefits of the then vs. now):

  1. Uber: Cab number searching and calling vs. the location-based transport service.
  2. Google Maps: Map books vs. online direction, maps and navigation.
  3. Momentum Insurance: Paper-trail claims and face-to-face assessments vs. a complete cutout of the middleman to submit any claims via the app.
  4. Zomato: Phoning a restaurant directly to request prices and menus, and keeping those flimsy brochures vs. one app that has consolidated any restaurant’s menus, photos of the cuisine and contact details.
  5. Notes: Note books/journals vs. the mobile app that can be synced to save all notes in the cloud or my MacBook.
  6. Calendar: Desk calendars and books (that require a pen) vs. the app (once again can be synced to save all notes in the cloud, my MacBook or accessed via the web).
  7. Clock: Old school clocks with which to manually set and change the time (not the trendiest thing to carry around to check the time) vs. checking the time via the app with the functionality of multiple time zones.
  8. Absa mobile banking: Going in branch to do my transfers and banking vs. the app that cuts out the middleman and can be done through the comfort and ease of my device.
  9. IMDb: Waiting for trailers and reviews for movies and series vs. any movie and series all reviewed within one single app.
  10. Instagram: Printed photographs and store bought photo albums/frames vs. all my favourite photos uploaded and sourced in one place (nothing is lost or damaged).

Playing in this ever-changing digital and social space, keeping abreast of apps and systems that simplify life, is key. As an example, Cerebra has an internal team Whatsapp group that has significantly decreased the volume of internal email communication where we have the ability to conduct healthy group discussions and debates in one single space. Even with concerns around saving communication and chats, Whatsapp provides the functionality for backing up your chats and favouriting your conversations. Still not convinced of the beauty and simplicity around apps? Feel free to debate this with me.