Gizmodo's Developers Cubed series offers a behind the scenes look into Australia’s up and coming dev scene. This week: We chat with Clinton House from In House Group about the power of mobile marketing, the usability of app stores and the joy that is Flipboard.
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Who are you and where do you work? My name is Clinton House, and I am the founder and managing director of inhouse group [www.inhousegroup.com.au]. We recently had two of our products achieve the finals of the WA Innovator of the Year Awards.
inhouse group are a marketing and business development company, specialising in creative and innovative forms of communication. We utilise many forms of technology to implement solution and result driven strategies for our clients. Our staff fill two levels of a building on the Mandurah Marina. Not a terrible environment to work within, with some of our programming staff having views of the water. We are currently in the process of opening a second office in the Perth CBD.
Why do we know you? What have you created? We have developed our own proximity based marketing platform called ‘Chirp Deals’ [www.chirpdeals.com.au], which obtains a user’s location and presents deals to their smartphone, available for redemption on the spot.
It’s a free download, and users simply walk in, press redeem, and a QR or barcode is presented to the cashier.
We don’t require an offer of more than 25% off, and don’t take a percentage of redemption, so it is much more sustainable for businesses than the ‘daily deals’ model. Chirp Deals encourages and rewards your most likely loyal customer, being those active closest to your business.
Our pilot in Mandurah and Rockingham (south of Perth) has proven to be great success, with Boost Juice, Muzz Buzz, Outback Jacks, Ace Cinemas, Subway and many more major brands getting on board. We have a large number of Perth businesses ready for our Perth launch within the next two months.
We also developed the City of Perth Parking iPhone app, displaying interactive routes to all of the nearest parking bays within the city. It has been very popular also, and has some world-class features coming in the next release.
inhouse group sponsor Perth Fashion Week [www.perthfashionweek.com.au] and have also developed innovative websites including that for prominent Western Australian artist Emma Blyth [www.emmablyth.com.au].
What platforms do you develop for? At this stage we develop for iPhone, iPad and Android.
What are you working on right now? The next release of Chirp Deals includes an augmented reality loyalty-reward component, and the City of Perth parking app has a top-secret feature that will be truly innovative for the industry.
We have a number of other clients we are building apps for, including one for mobile event ticketing, and others in the social networking space.
How did you get into development? Being a creative and innovative marketing company, we’ve been building web-based systems to help businesses for years. We’re big fans of websites that actually do some of the work for your business… not just online business cards. Software development and apps was the next step for our business, and it’s now the fastest growing area within it.
What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles? As far as a direct channel to new customer segments, there has never been anything like it. The ability to test the market, and increase our investment in a product over time is revolutionary. The influence from other titles in the app store mostly presents itself in the form of usability. The technology is so new, that although developers are keen to expand their points of difference, it cannot be at the expense of the overall user experience. The way people are comfortable using the apps on their devices needs to be respected, although slightly massaged over time.
What’s your favourite app that you didn’t create? I could spend hours on Flipboard for iPad. It’s pretty close to what I imagined five years ago that the future of magazines would become. For iPhone I couldn’t go past Instagram and Audible. Instagram makes me feel like I can still be somewhat artistic in my busy life, and Audible allows me to ‘read’ in the mornings at the gym before work… and I don’t seem to find time anywhere else.
What phone do you use? Why? I currently use an iPhone 4S… being a bit of a perfectionist myself, I just love the quality control when designing and developing within the Apple ecosystem. I had owned nothing but Nokia my whole life, and it took a lot to get me to move away from them a few years ago. Actually it took the Nokia N97 to force my move. Since then I’ve had great experiences with every iPhone I’ve owned (3GS/4/4S).
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there? Don’t be put off by not being in Silicon Valley. There is great opportunity in keeping an eye on the global trends whilst developing under the radar. There have already been a number of recent success stories to come out of Australia, that may have never survived in the fast pace of the San Franciscan product cycle.