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African film takes centre stage at Fespaco

first_imgFlags of African nations fly during theFespaco film festival’s opening ceremony. Showcasing the small West Africancountry’s finest talent, the ceremony sawmusicians, colourful dancers and giantpuppets creating a magnificent spectacleof African performance that had theaudience on its feet. A libation ceremony to honour the life oflegendary African filmmaker OusmaneSembène was held at the Place deCineastes, a monument in Ouagadougou. The Place de Cineastes.(Images: Khanyi Magubane)Khanyi MagubanePomp and ceremony was the order of the day as the 21st edition of the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou – officially the Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision de Ouagadougou (Fespaco) – opened in the small city of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, on 28 February.Launched in 1969 and held every two years, Fespaco is regarded as the most prestigious gathering of African filmmakers both in Africa and the diaspora. The festival kicked off with an opening ceremony attended by some 45 000 people in Burkina Faso’s national stadium, the Stade du 4-Août.Showcasing the small West African country’s finest talent, the ceremony saw musicians, colourful dancers and giant puppets creating a magnificent spectacle of African performance that had the audience on its feet. And the buzz wasn’t only in the stadium.Outside, the city of Ouagadougou came alive as the festival attracts hundreds of vendors selling local cuisine, festival memorabilia, bottled cold water (temperatures average 40º during the day) and artefacts for tourists visiting the country to attend the week-long event.As most Burkinabe’s use motorbikes and scooters to speed through the densely populated city, the parking lot could have easily been mistaken as a motorbike show with thousands of cycles parked in a designated area.After the formal and entertainment programme, the sky exploded into a kaleidoscope of colour in a grand fireworks display, sending the locals into a frenzy of dancing and cheering.Later that evening the stadium festivities were followed by a gala dinner at Ouagadougou’s Hotel Independence, to celebrate 40 years of Fespaco.The dinner was sponsored by the South African delegation, which was led by Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan. The delegation included representatives from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), headed by its CEO Eddie Mbalo.Honouring Ousmane SembèneThe following day a libation ceremony to honour the life of legendary African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène was held at the Place de Cineastes, a monument in the city. The ritual involved delegates holding hands to circle the monument, after which a statue of Sembène was unveiled and the renamed Ousmane Sembène Street launched.Sembène was a Senegalese film director, producer and writer, often called the “father of African film”, and described by the Los Angeles Times as one of Africa’s greatest authors. From the early 1960s until his death in 2007, he worked to help lay the foundations for the development of Africa’s film industry.After launching a successful career as a novelist – he authored the classic God’s Bits of Wood – Sembène realised that his written work would only reach the privileged elite. So in 1963, at the age of 40, he turned to film to reach wider African audiences.In 1966 he produced his first feature film, La Noire de…, the first feature ever released by a sub-Saharan African director, which went on to win the French Prix Jean Vigo.His final film, the 2004 feature Moolaadé, which explores the controversial subject of female genital mutilation, won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and at Fespaco.Sembène was also a founding member and first secretary-general of the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (Fepaci), the continental body which launched Fespaco in 1969, and was its first secretary-general.The federation brings together African filmmakers, helping them network and keep abreast with activities within the industry across Africa and the diaspora. South Africa currently hosts the regional headquarters of Fepaci in Johannesburg.Under the leadership of South African filmmaker Seipati Bolane-Hopa, the organisation has been tasked with facilitating events that bring awareness about the film industry as a whole on the continent and in the South African region, working with the SABC, DAC and NFVF.Cinema de AfriqueDuring the 2009 Fespaco, 129 films from 74 countries will be in competition this year, with South Africa’s contribution including feature films, documentaries and television series.The features include veteran actor John Kani’s screen adaptation of his flagship theatre production Nothing but the Truth, and the gangster movie Jerusalema by producer Tendeka Matatu.Award-winning filmmaker Zola Maseko, whose film Drum won the prestigious Etalon de Yenenga for the best film at the 2007 Fespaco, will be showing his new work, The Manuscripts of Timbuktu. The television series Gugu no Andile will also be shown.Special highlights of the festival include the first congress of the Federation of African Film Critics, which is involved in the training of film journalists and critics on African film.For those interested in the business of buying and selling films, an exhibition at the MICA film market will be running throughout the festival, where stands by production companies, other film festivals and stakeholders can exhibit their products.Useful linksFespaco Fepaci South African Broadcasting Corporation Department of Arts and Culture National Film and Video Foundationlast_img read more

Cape Town becomes bike-friendly

first_imgWide cycle lanes run all the way to Bloubergstrand in Cape Town.(Image: City of Cape Town)MEDIA CONTACTS • Maddie MazazaDirector: Planning in the City of Cape Town+27 21 400 5309.Lucille DavieCape Town is going green in more ways than one. It has a network of bicycle lanes across the city that are to be painted green to demarcate their use for bikes only.“The colour coding helps to promote safety and awareness for vehicles and pedestrians,” says the city council.It is also one of the few cities in the country that has a bicycle master plan. This involves a long-term aim of 2 000 kilometres of pedestrian and cycling facilities in the city bowl and the suburbs, as well as cycling paths alongside the MyCiTi bus routes. So far, 400 kilometres have been completed.“With the city-wide non-motorised transport (NMT) infrastructure programme being rolled out, more colourised cycle paths will be created. The city believes this will go a long way towards creating safer cycling environments, as well as encouraging other road users to share the public right of way in the city.”In all, 14 NMT projects were completed between 2006 and 2011. “Bike riding and non-motorised transport are important aspects of the vision of an integrated public transport network across the city, providing local connections and helping to make Cape Town a ‘liveable city,’” said Brett Heron, the mayoral committee member for transport.Cape Town undertook a recent trial of painting cycle lanes green, in an effort to promote safety and awareness for vehicles and pedestrians. The trial revealed that vehicles generally avoided parking in the green lanes. Previously, drivers would park on the bicycle lanes, thereby blocking the lanes for cyclists. In future, motorists who park in the lanes will have action taken against them.The green paint is skid-resistant and durable, reducing maintenance needs. The cycle lanes in Mowbray, Salt River, Woodstock and Strand Street will be painted in August. This painting is labour intensive, the council says, which means it creates employment opportunities through the Extended Public Works Programme. This is a national programme which aims to give jobless people temporary work, helping them gain skills and increase their ability to earn an income.“Our department’s focus is on the social sector which aims to create work opportunities and develop accredited training [which] will be linked to possible exit opportunities for beneficiaries,” says Cape Town.Cycle hireIn addition, it is looking into the feasibility of a bicycle hire system, a growing trend in cities like London, New York and Paris. In July, it established Transport for Cape Town, a transport authority that has started a study of the feasibility of creating a bicycle share project in the city bowl.The idea is to set up a network of bikes in racks in depots around the inner city, which can be hired and returned to another depot, with cyclists using the network of cycle lanes to get from one part of the city to another. “Cities around the world are beginning to identify bike-sharing as a mode of public transport, providing an alternative to individual vehicle trips,” explained Herron.Besides the obvious benefits of improved health through exercise, greater bicycle use will mean fewer cars in the city bowl, thus alleviating parking and congestion pressures, and reducing carbon emissions. Cape Town will look in particular at bicycle hire schemes such as London’s Barclays Bikes, Paris’s Velib and Washington’s Capital Bikes. The study will also consider the feasibility of using a smart card payment system, such as the myconnect card used for MyCiTi buses. It is expected that the system will be up and running towards mid-2015.Joburg and DurbanThe city of Johannesburg is behind Cape Town in the planning of its cycle lanes. It plans to roll out a 5km cycle lane in Noordesig in Soweto, to be completed in June 2014. It is also about to appoint a contractor to build a 15km cycle lane between the various campuses of the University of Johannesburg and Wits University, running through the suburbs of Auckland Park, Braamfontein and Doornfontein. This will also be complete by June next year.On the drawing board are plans for a non-motorised transport network, again to be finalised by the middle of next year. The network will cover areas of the inner city.Durban has limited cycle lanes, focused on the beachfront in the city centre.last_img read more

Maasai cricket team want to knock rhino poaching for a six

first_img9 September 2015In a recent interview with News24, the captain of the Maasai Cricket Warriors Sonyanga Ole Ngais said their very unique African cricket team uses the sport as “a tool to spread social messages that are affecting our community.” The Warriors message is spreading globally in 2015, with not only an informal team tour that includes South Africa and Europe, but also in a documentary – executive-produced by English fast bowler James Anderson – that traces the origin of the team and their mission.Posted by LastManStands Joburg on Monday, August 24, 2015Warrior originsThe team, made up of Maasai tribesmen from the rural Laikipia region of Kenya, formed in 2009, after meeting a South African wildlife researcher Aliya Bauer with a passion for the game of cricket.During her time in Laikipia, Bauer missed her favourite sport so much, she decided to introduce a fun, informal version of the game to the local community. “I was missing my passion and I just wanted to share it with others,” Bauer told CNN in 2013.Together with local teachers, she gave lessons to school children. These early sessions also captured the imagination of the young Maasai warriors living nearby, watching curiously from the side-lines until finally some decided to try their hand at the game.“It was the first time we saw this kind of a game, because in Kenya cricket is not well known,” says Ngais. “At the time, it was just fun, but as we went on playing and training, we found out that we were starting to love the game.” Bauer, who is now also the team’s coach, agrees: “Cricket is a fabulous medium to build friendships and to engage people in a positive way.”For the team, the game came naturally, “bowling is a lot like throwing a spear,” says Ngais.Last Maasai standingEven without proper playing facilities, a shortage of funding and the absence of regular competition, the team and Bauer worked hard at mastering the game. The team entered the Last Man Stands (LMS) amateur cricket tournament for the first time in 2013.LMS is a shortened format (even shorter and more fast-paced than the T20 game) devised by South African Wayne Greve, designed to entice and encourage amateur but passionate cricketers and anyone new to game. It is a gathering of some of the world’s best and most enthusiastic amateur teams, and is one of the ways the game of cricket is attempting to gain popularity outside its traditional regions, with teams from North and South America, Asia and, of course, the Maasai Cricket Warriors.While the Kenyan team failed to win any of their games at their first LMS tournament in Cape Town, the team improved on its performance during 2014 in London, winning two of their games to reach the semi-finals of their group and getting the chance to play at the hallowed Lord’s cricket ground.The games and exposure, Ngais says, is fun and exciting, but for the team, cricket is a lot more than fun, it is also a chance to tell the Maasai story to the world. The team also use the game to spread important messages to their compatriots: tackling social issues like poverty and illiteracy, and teaching health and welfare messages on HIV/Aids, female circumcision and gender discrimination.The warrior causeThe Warriors use cricket as an educational tool to bridge between the old and the new. For the young team, there is an importance in communicating with the elders of the community, who sometimes fear the changes brought by the modern world, changes they feel may threaten the Maasai tradition and its existence. This wish to balance an established identity and heritage with the need for community development, education and a modern outlook, is something that resonates even in the game of cricket, where long traditions of play and etiquette in the game are threatened by new ways of doing things.The game is a very powerful metaphor between the conflict of young and old, new and comfortable, tradition and new ways of thinking. And the Maasai Cricket Warriors – playing cricket in traditional dress – are trying to bridge those differences. Such has been the local response to the team, it has even inspired more Maasai to pick up a cricket bat and ball, including ladies and junior teams.The Maasai Cricket Warriors are now tackling another African concern: rhino poaching and other illegal hunting.The Maasai people are considered some of the best hunter-trackers in the world, but have always tried to pass on the understanding of the differences between hunting for survival and hunting for sport or pleasure. The team travel the world, explaining these differences and highlighting the scourge of rhino hunting and other illegal hunting, and the detriment hunting has on nature.Warriors in South AfricaPosted by LastManStands Joburg on Monday, August 24, 2015The team recently visited South Africa to play a couple of exhibition games at Johannesburg’s Zoo Lake field, against an invitational side made up of retired professional cricketers and enthusiastic amateurs. The games, while merely a fun get-together in the park, were enthusiastically supported by locals, and it gave the Warriors a chance to spread their goodwill and their environmental message.The Glorious @MaasaiCricket Team… Dress in their traditional gear when playing cricket. pic.twitter.com/ACeN86a1n9— John Robbie (@702JohnRobbie) September 4, 2015The team and their tour were given some much needed exposure, even featured on the 702 John Robbie morning radio show. On the air, the team expressed a desire to take the game back into the wild, challenging a team to meet them in Kruger National Park for a game.Once word of the plans got out, fans from all over South Africa and the world took to social media to express their excitement about the prospective game, even begging for it to be broadcast on live television.Captain Ngais, in a post on the team’s Facebook page, wrote that the team appreciated the support and were eager for the game to go ahead. “We are ready for the game and we will give our best, we will use this as a platform to spread out rhino conservation messages to the whole world. We can’t wait for the official confirmation,” he wrote.Speaking to News24 earlier this month, Ngais said the proposed plan to “play with cricket legends in South Africa.in Kruger National Park.would be the best platform to raise awareness on rhino conservation in South Africa.”South African National Parks department, though, say they do not know of any plans to play a game of cricket in the Kruger, but are keen to help. “No arrangements have been made with the park management regarding the cricket match,” SANParks commented on Radio 702’s Facebook post, while general communications manager for the Kruger National Park William Mabasa urged the team and its management to follow up on the proposed plan. “(The team) need to send us a request and we can take it from there,” he told News24.Meanwhile, the Maasai Cricket Warriors carry on taking the cricketing world by storm, looking forward to their next Last Man Stands tournament in 2016, and continue giving the game a fresh and uniquely African twist.Source: News24 / CNNlast_img read more

Weekend Project: Make Your Own NFC Tags

first_imgRelated Posts sarah perez Tags:#How To#mobile#web As noted above, we’re focusing on making tags using your Android phone. There are actually several apps that allow for this now in the Android Market. One such app, to give you an idea, is the NFC Task Launcher from developer Joshua Krohn. We were introduced to this app via an NFC World interview.In detailing the potential uses for NFC tags, Krohn told the website:You could have a tag that enables Wi-Fi, configures your wireless network and then connects — so visitors would never have to enter your security key to use your wireless connection. They would not need to have an open network, they would only need to scan the tag and the rest is done for them.He personally uses NFC tags in his car, his home and his workplace, where he uses them to put the phone into different modes. For example, in the car, a tag enables Bluetooth, disables Wi-Fi, sets the media volume to max and launches the Car Home application. And all with just a tap!Meanwhile, at the office, another tag enables Wi-Fi, disables Bluetooth and connects to his work’s secure network.Currently, his NFC Action Launcher application supports these tasks:Enable / Disable / Toggle WifiEnable / Disable / Toggle BluetoothLaunch any installed ApplicationConnect to any known SSIDConfigure a new Wifi Connection and connectConfigure and enable Portable HotspotEnable / Disable Auto-syncLaunch any Tasker Task (for users of Tasker)Changing Phone RingtoneChange Notification ToneChanging Ringer Mode (Normal/Silent/Vibrate)Changing Ringer VolumeChanging Media VolumeChanging Alarm VolumeChanging Notification VolumeYou can also use it to create task tags, profile tasks, vCard tasks, Smart URL tags, text tags and URI tags (Tel, SMS, Mailto). Originally launched on the XDA Developer forums, the app is now availalbe in the Android Market here for $1.99.Similar apps in the Market include Touchtag’s client (free), NXP’s TagWriter (free), taglet (free), Write a Tag (free), AnyTag (free), NFC Classic Tag Reader Writer (free) and others, mostly in Japanese.For experimental purposes though, it’s nice when the developer is hanging around in the forums, responding to user questions, like Krohn does here. That may be worth the $2 to you when choosing what app to try.To see what tag reading and writing looks like in action, check out this YouTube video. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagementcenter_img NFC, or near field communication, is an emerging technology that will power mobile payment systems and mobile wallet solutions, like those in development by Apple, Google, RIM, mobile operators, banks and others. But NFC itself is just a way to send data wirelessly between devices, meaning it can be used for far more than mobile payments alone.One way to take advantage of a phone’s NFC capabilities is to make your own NFC tags. These tags, when read by your phone, can perform a number of actions, like open a map, launch a website, change your phone’s settings and configurations, plus dozens of other tasks. Wouldn’t it be fun to make tags like that? Well, now you can. Here’s how.One of the most popular phones to have NFC built in is Google’s flagship device, the Samsung Nexus S. However, it’s not the only one. There are many phones you can buy today that have NFC built in, and there are several more than are coming soon, like the Nokia Astound (C7) or Samsung’s Galaxy S II, which will include NFC in some models. You can check out a more complete list of NFC phones here for details.But for our purposes, this project will focus on using Android phones, specifically the Nexus S.Where To Get NFC Tags Of course, before you can make your own NFC tags, you first have to acquire them. These aren’t available on the shelves at Best Buy, so you’ll have to order them online. Thanks to software developer Joshua Krohn, who made the NFC Task Launcher app described below, we have a good list of sites selling NFC tags.These include the following:Tagage: This Finland-based store ships NFC stickers worldwide to many countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States. U.S. shipments take about 5-7 days. Sparkfun: For U.S. customers, Sparkfun sells laminated U.S. tags.Touchtag: Also U.S.-only, Touchtag sells various starter kits of 25 or 500 tags.CoreRFID: In Europe, this U.K.-based RFID shop sells different types of tags, like these sticker discs and more. BuySmartCard: Serving the Asian market, this store sells tags that ship from Hong Kong. (Details from XDA Developers forum here.)Write Tags with NFC Task Launcher for Android What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Choosing Rigid Foam

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Start Free Trial Already a member? Log incenter_img UPDATED on January 25, 2018 with information on phenolic foam.Maybe you’ve decided that your floor, wall, or roof assembly needs one or more layers of rigid foam. Which type of foam should you choose: polyisocyanurate, expanded polystyrene (EPS), or extruded polystyrene (XPS)?The answer depends on several factors, including your R-value target, your local climate, whether the insulation will be in contact with soil, and your level of environmental concern. R-value per inch Manufacturers of insulation products are required to provide consumers with R-value information. If you’ve purchased rigid foam insulation that isn’t clearly labeled, contact the manufacturer to learn the product’s R-value.Over a period of decades, the R-value of polyisocyanurate and XPS gradually declines. For more information on this phenomenon, called “thermal drift,” see Thermal Drift of Polyiso and XPS. Cold weather performance of polyiso Rigid foam manufacturers are required to perform R-value tests using an ASTM method specifying that the test be performed at a mean temperature of 75°F. At lower mean temperatures, EPS and XPS perform better than their R-value label indicates. In other words, as the temperature drops, the ability of EPS and XPS to resist heat flow improves.Polyiso behaves differently: as the mean temperature drops, it does a worse job of resisting heat flow. For that reason, some cold-climate builders assign a lower R-value for polyiso — perhaps R-4.5 or R-5 per inch — than the R-value on the product label.For more information on this issue, see Cold-Weather Performance of Polyisocyanurate. Soil contact limitations XPS and most types of EPS are rated for ground contact. These products can be buried without worrying that the materials will lose their insulating value or absorb significant quantities of moisture. If you are in doubt about the suitability… last_img read more

Garmin provides new safety feature in its fitness trackers

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#beacon#fitness trackers#Garmin#Internet of Things#IoT#Strava Follow the Puck Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Amanda Razani Garmin has added a new safety option to several of its fitness monitors with the addition of a new feature named Beacon, which was designed by Strava.Beacon, which was unveiled earlier this year, provides several features that focus on keeping hikers, cyclists, runners and other people safer when they exercise.  When these individuals leave for their workouts, they can give their real-time data location to certain friends and family members as a precaution in case something happens to them.See Also: Garmin stock surges following pivot from autos to wearablesThough it was once a separate Beacon app on iOS or Android, exercise enthusiasts who own certain models of Garmin trackers, such as the Edge or Forerunner, can now get the feature directly into their tracker.Feedback sought from the Strava communitySyncing directly with Garmin’s own location monitor, LiveTrack, Beacon allows up to three contacts to check in on the user while they exercise, providing details of where they are, without those contacts needing a Strava account.The company explains that Beacon was created based on discussion from the Strava community, expressing the need for better communication when people they care about leave for workouts. A survey of this group showed that safety was the number one feature they all wanted to see added to the app.The feature can be found on many of Garmin’s newer Edge and Forerunner models, along with the Fenix 3. Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

Hear it out

first_imgThe BBCSSO who have been majorly involved in cultural exchange and student interactions will be touring the country and the city for the first time ever. The orchestra is formed of 65 members who shall be holding a two-hour concert in which violinist Nicola Benedetti and composer James MacMillan will also be joining. Music education expert Paul Rissman will also mark his presence in two special concerts and workshops for students on 1 April.BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is on a three-city tour in March and April with concerts, educational workshops and exchange between students of India and Scotland. The visit is the centrepiece of the orchestra’s activities leading up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.Gavin Reid, director, BBC SSO said, ‘We are thrilled to be celebrating the Commonwealth Games with such an exciting and ambitious programme of events celebrating and sharing the wonderful musical culture of both Scotland and India.’last_img read more

How to Build a Mobile App for Your Business

first_img Register Now » This story appears in the October 2011 issue of . Subscribe » October 13, 2011 Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 5 min read Mobile applications are no longer an option for small businesses–they’re a necessity. Digital research firm comScore reports that nearly 40 percent of American mobile subscribers accessed downloaded apps in June. And, according to a consumer survey conducted earlier this year by MTV Networks, 91 percent of respondents said apps expose them to new things; 77 percent compared apps to personal assistants; and 83 percent of daily mobile app users reported believing they’re “addicted” to apps.Related: The Best Mobile Apps for BusinessThe fundamental appeal of branded, business-centric mobile applications is clear: Whatever your company does online can also be done on smartphones, which adds portability, location targeting and other cutting-edge technological enhancements to the mix. The potential of mobile apps extends far beyond marketing. Sure, companies can leverage applications to promote their products and services, reaching on-the-go consumers looking for compelling places to shop or grab lunch. But mobile apps can also support online purchase transactions, customer loyalty programs, turn-by-turn directions and social media interactions.Even so, more than three years after Apple first opened its App Store and two years after Google responded with its Android Market, the majority of branded apps available for download promote large, Fortune 500 businesses–not the local restaurants and retailers who stand to benefit most. Chalk that up to cost considerations: Contract app development projects alone can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000, exceeding the budget of the average startup entrepreneur. And that doesn’t even take into account ongoing maintenance and software upgrades.”If you can type in an e-mail address, you can create a mobile app.”– Michael Schneider,Mobile RoadieEnter Mobile Roadie. The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based firm offers an automated turnkey platform that gives its clients the ability to build and manage their own customizable iPhone and Android apps in a matter of minutes. Just upload the desired content and information, and Mobile Roadie handles the rest, including the app store submission process. Best of all, Mobile Roadie pricing begins at $499 for initial setup and $29 per month for ongoing support.Related: Why Mobile-Friendly Websites Are Critical to Your Strategy”If you can type in an e-mail address, you can create a mobile app,” says Mobile Roadie CEO Michael Schneider. “Every brand and business has its superfans–the people who are most loyal to that brand, and who go out of their way to promote it. Mobile apps enable them to promote your brand, share your content on Facebook and Twitter and be a more loyal patron and consumer.”All fledgling businesses should factor mobile apps into their plans from the outset. Creating an app using the Mobile Roadie platform is the easy part. Knowing what you want the app to do–and which consumer segments you wish to reach–can pose a bigger challenge.Here are five lessons all smartphone savants must learn:1. Know what message you want to send. “Before you start working on your app, make sure you know what you’re selling, what you’re about and the look and feel you want, like your logo colors and font,” Schneider says. “You also need to know what content you want to put in. You can integrate your app with your blog or your YouTube channel, but that only works if you have existing content.”2. Understand your audience. “Mobile applications are where people are going to interact with their favorite brands, but you have to know what your customers are interested in,” Schneider says. “Apps allow for new kinds of user experiences and a different community feel than the web, which results in real engagement and commerce opportunities. Fans and users spend more money in apps compared to websites, and they come back more. But you have to drive loyalty, whether that’s by pushing messages or having visual content.”3. Clarify what you want your app to achieve. “Whether or not an app is successful depends on the goal,” Schneider says. “Is it the total number of downloads, or how often people are coming back? How responsive are customers when offers are pushed out? How viral is your content? Or is it how many people are opting in and giving you their e-mail address?”4. Forget about BlackBerry, Win-dows Phone and Palm. As of June, Android controlled 40.1 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, and Apple’s iOS captured 26.6 percent market share. Both are growing each month. Their rivals are fading fast. “iPhone and Android are all that matters. Everything else is irrelevant,” Schneider says. “Entrepreneurs don’t have to think it’s one or the other. With Mobile Roadie, you can do the work once and launch your app on iPhone and Android. It’s not cost-prohibitive, so there’s no reason not to do both.”5. Fasten your seat belt. “Small businesses can really take advantage of the perception that apps are only for large companies,” Schneider says. “Home Depot has an app, but people don’t expect Joe’s Hardware to have an app. It’s an impressive thing for any business to have, like a website was 20 years ago. It sets your company apart, and it puts you on the same playing field as the big boys.” Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.last_img read more