Gizmodo’s Developers Cubed series offers a behind the scenes look into Australia’s up and coming dev scene. This week: Peter Watson shares with us the story of how he created an app that gives parents of young drivers peace of mind and eyes in the back of their head.
Who are you and where do you work?
My name is Peter Watson and I work at www.SeoWebsiteDesigns.com.au. We are a web development and Search Engine Optimisation firm here in Australia looking after businesses online marketing campaigns. I founded this company a few years back after working for many years at another web dev firm. I’m married and a father of four (2 boys and 2 girls).
Why do we know you? What have you created?
You may be familiar with me as I recently launched a new mobile application called Speed Notify. Within days of going live a few major news programs here in Australia made contact with us wanting to do a story.
Obviously this was a great boost for our launch resulting in a lot of attention and downloads, not only in Australia but worldwide.
Why should we care about your app? What makes it different?
Speed Notify is a speed alert application that sends parents an instant notification the second their child is in a speeding vehicle, whether they are a driver or a passenger.
The Speed Notify app is downloaded on both the driver and the parent phones and the phones are synced together. Speed Notify can be synced with multiple drivers (e.g. parent can have multiple drivers registered on their account). Once the phones are synced the parent can set the speed limit to the driver’s restricted/provisional license limit. MPH and KM/H modes are available to accommodate all countries.
If the car exceeds the set speed limit an instant notification and email is sent to the parent’s phone in real time and a notification is sent to the driver’s phone. The speed and time is recorded in the ‘log’ on both phones, with a Google map of the exact location the offense occurred.
Accurate GPS technology is used to track speed and location of the driver in the event that they exceeded the set speed limit. If the driver does not speed, then no information is monitored or recorded. Currently this is the only app of its kind on the market today which provides this service for parents of teens.
What challenges did you face when you were developing and how did you overcome them?
Obviously coming up with a unique idea is challenging these days, with so many apps now available. So once I thought of this idea, I started researching immediately to make sure it didn’t already exist, and if it did exist, how could I make my app different, better. Fortunately there were no other apps available like Speed Notify.
Just like all app developments, there is a lot of trial an error. A lot of testing and fine tuning before launching. It is crucial that all bugs are ironed out prior to submitting to the app store to avoid a failed launch.
What platforms do you develop for?
Currently we develop for iOS and Android. We have a pretty busy work load and also specialise in SEO and website developments/designs. Apps haven’t been around for a long time so as developers we are always learning and adapting to Apples evolving niche.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment we are working on some cool new upgrade functions for Speed Notify along with our other app/web developments. Most of our clients projects work around non disclosure agreements to protect their ideas, so I can’t elaborate much on that.
What do you think about the rise and rise of App Stores? How has it influenced your titles?
I love seeing the tremendous growth in the app world. It has opened up a totally new area of expertise allowing people to pursue new employment avenues. It is also allowing entrepreneurs like myself to create useful application that assit people with their day to day activities, and in the case of Speed Notify, save lives!
What’s your favorite app that you didn’t create?
I’d have to say I could survive without the Skype app. I use this app 24/7 which allows me to communicate with my international clients at no charge.
What phone do you use? Why?
I’m a big fan of Apple as a corporation and what they have achieved, but I am an even bigger fan of their cutting edge products. Right from the very first iPhone ever launched I haven’t used any other phone, updating to the most recent version every time. Its reliable, a market leader and as their smart phones continue to evolve and become smarter, faster and easier to use, I will continue to be a loyal customer of Apple products.
What advice do you have for budding Aussie developers out there?
Whether you’re an Aussie developer or a developer from overseas, the most important piece of advice I can give is to make sure you thoroughly test your app. There is no such thing as ‘too much testing’. The best testing technique is to give people in your circles a ‘beta’ versions, allowing them to download it for FREE before it is even in the app store. I use www.testflightapp.com.
This way they can test it out for you and give you an ‘outsiders’ perspective of the app. Hopefully they will point out some functions they don’t like and do like, bugs and their overall opinions. This is the best feedback possible which will allow you to correct any issue and or changes that need completing before going live. Going live without proper testing is very risking and can be the difference between an app booming and tanking!