Veteran Catalan companies coexist with projects still in beta at the Mobile World Congress
The Catalan companies on show at the Mobile World Congress this week not only include recently created start-ups. Some companies have been in the business for over 20 years with delegations in 19 countries, such as the registering operator Lleida.net. There are other projects on show which, although already active, have not been launched completely and are still in beta form, such as King of App, an open source app creator. Neither of them are based in Barcelona, but rather in Lleida in Western Catalonia. Most of the Catalan companies on show at the MWC are at one of the stands of the Catalan Government, which gives these companies space to promote their products either at the general exhibition or in the App Planet hall. But others such as Lleida.net set up their own stands.
L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (CNA).- The Catalan companies on show at the Mobile World Congress being held this week in Barcelona not only include recently created start-ups. Some companies have been in the business for over 20 years with delegations in 19 countries, such as the registering operator Lleida.net. There are also projects on show which, although already active, have not been launched completely and are still in the beta phase, as is the case for King of App, an open source app creator. Neither of them are based in Barcelona, but rather in Lleida in Western Catalonia.
Most of the Catalan companies on show at the MWC are at one of the stands of the Catalan Government, which gives these companies space to promote their products either at the general exhibition or in the App Planet hall. Others set up their own stand such as Lleida.net, a registering operator with 20 years of experience in the field.
Lleida.net issues digital certificates
Lleida.net started as an internet provider for the city of Lleida, but evolved to becoming an SMS sending operator, and in 2008 introduced certification to the messages. "There was a need to prove reception and sending when a judge asked for evidence, for example", explains Manel Cervera, Business Development Manager. They introduced certification to e-mails, and later on to photos, using a mobile app to certify the time and place it was taken. Another app allows for contracts to be signed directly on tablets. And they have data validation tools, such as an ID card scanner that verifies authenticity. SMS sending has been oriented towards notifications and password verification. All these are used by big corporations and even governments.
Cervera told CNA that "while electronic ID would give the maximum legal protection, the need for specific card readers reduces the willingness to use it", explaining that their technology does not need any additional hardware. The company, a member of the GSMA, the organisers of the MWC, have already been present 9 times at the event, which is currently taking place in Barcelona for the 10th consecutive year. They have users in 40 countries, and 19 offices across the world. "You cannot think of these kinds of businesses by focusing on Spain alone", declares Cervera, who added that "only locals think that having Lleida as the name presents a difficulty to international expansion; other people just don't know what it is".
King of App: the Wordpress of app creation
King of App is also based in the city of Lleida, but it is at the other end of the spectrum. They are a start-up showcasing an open source Content Management System (CMS) to create apps. They are so new that they still do not have the final product they are offering; since August 2014 they have had a common platform to help create an app, which is not very different from many others. But, in two months, they will be launching the only open-source platform to make apps in a CMS way.
"We take the concept of Wordpress and apply it to app creation", Chief Marketing Officer, Oriol Riera told CNA. From Wordpress, one of the most popular CMSs used to create websites, they take three main concepts that are at the core of King of App: ease of use; personalisation via themes and modules available in a store; and open source to allow total customisation. "Open source opens the path for developers and designers to create anything they wish with no limits, but also cuts costs dramatically", states the CMO, ensuring that users will only have to pay if the developer of the extension wants them to do so. A share of these sales, and providing services like low cost compilation - getting the app ready for all platforms - will be the origin of the incomes. The project, presented at the global Catalan stand, has been very well-received among congress visitors.
Catalunya apps: the association of Catalan mobile apps
. This is a private association that brings together companies related to mobile apps, either by creating or lending support to designers, marketers or even lawyers. Its vice-president, Ramon Querejazu, states that "being small businesses, we can't make bigger projects, so we try to form partnerships in such cases". In addition to collaborating, they also aim to "position Catalan apps as a point of reference in the apps world".
The congress also serves as a platform to showcase all these app companies at the stall they have in the Catalan Government show space. Querejazu is himself the CEO of Selftising and is using the general Catalonia stand to show without having a specific stand the behaviour analysis tools he develops.
Selftising: engaging apps to register behavioural patterns
While Selftising develops apps for third parties, they also create their own. One such project is PlaytoRide, which registers the user's cycling routes via GPS and gives back points redeemable for prizes from companies that pay to feature their products on the app users. But the real business is at the backend: in the generated data itself. "The users' tracks generate a map of bicycle mobility in Barcelona: it is the only way to measure it", assures Ramon Querejazu. Barcelona City Council have bought this data. "They can know if bikes use the pavements, cycle lanes or the road, and can evaluate the cycle lanes usage and this forms part of the Smart City concept that Barcelona is promoting". Other uses include geolocalised offers for nearby shops.
In the future, the company will launch an app to analyse reading and studying behaviour. Business will be links to other e-book recommendations, a marketplace of studying strategies created by people, and the possibility for authors to keep track of their readers' behaviour. They will be able to deliver book series and adapt their content to the response of the readers. "It's the same concept as a TV series", states Querejazu.