DEVELOPER FOCUS Tactel is a Swedish app development company specialising in the creation of embedded and consumer electronics software. Jonas Andersson, CEO at Tactel, speaks to Smart Chimps about the company's new app launch for Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, HelpMe, and how his company works with customers to create awesome apps.
Smart Chimps: Here at MWC you are launching new app, HelpMe. Tell us about it.
Jonas Andersson: Most of the apps we develop are about connecting people and devices. HelpMe is our new app launching today at MWC, which allows mobile operator customer support teams or selected friends and family of the end user to control the user's smartphone so they can provide help when the user runs into a problem on their device.
The end user will be able to download the app, which we envisage being whitelabelled to mobile operators, then click on 'Help' to get a four digit code. When the user gives the customer service agent the four digit code, they enter it on the HelpMe web page and from there they are able to take over certain functions of the user's smartphone to sort out problems.
SC: What's the incentive for the mobile operator to use it for their customer services teams versus making it open to the user's friends and family?
JA: If customer service agents use it, they can provide a better level of service to a confused end user. But if the operator opens it up so the end user can give the four digit code to friends and family, the operator is able to offload their customer service and save resource, while I, for instance, could help my mum with her phone if she had a simple problem. This enables self help, which is an interesting new development.
SC: Have you signed any deals for HelpMe yet?
JA: We have two Nordic operators interested at this point.
SC: Tell us about Tactel.
JA: We started out as a mobile technology development company in 1995, working as a consultant firm with Sony. We concentrate now on three main areas: mobile tech; UI design; and business design. Also, we concentrate on three main business segments: mobile media; mobile finance; and mobile enterprise. We design and deliver apps in a full package with no friction as our designers understand mobile technology.
SC: What trends do you see in the market as a mobile developer right now?
JA: Personalisation is the big one for 2014. Within our three vertical areas, we can see that in media, everything is moving very fast; people want personalised content, such as Netflix with recommendation engines, and we are now seeing that demand for personalisation filter into the finance area. We expect that to soon be requested in the enterprise segment.
With many trends we see them flow in that way, with media leading the pack, followed by finance and then the enterprise.
SC: How might we see personalisation materialise in your segments?
JA: On personalisation, in the media segment there is already demand for apps that coach you on what music or movies you might like based on what you have already viewed or shown interest in.
In finance this can translate into a coach to show you, for instance, different, preferential products; while the financial industry is not known for helping customers in this way traditionally, with the current bad image of the sector coaching personalisation products like this can help change that image and help make customers stickier.
And in the enterprise, we think that users like their smartphone's ability to personalise the likes of OTT streaming TV providers at home, so they will start to demand that kind of personalisation on their business apps used at work as well.
SC: What's your top tip for serving customers that want you to design an app for their business?
JA: One thing we've learned over the years is no one really knows exactly what they want until they've seen it; that's our motto!
Companies say 'we've already asked our customers what they want and here's the list', but everyone will say something if you ask them, so you end up with an enormous list of customer requirements that just won't fit onto a small screen.
What we do is take out the highest value required features, after testing again to find out what really are the required features, and create the app that way. Once we truly know what features are needed, it is easy to build a great app.
SC: Thanks Jonas!