Your vision, our reality
Edmonton Game DesignApril 27, 2011
Victor Rubba, president of Fluik - a company which has seen more than two million copies of its games downloaded onto iPads and iPhones around the world - says there are still plenty of financial obstacles for local studios to overcome.
Fluik launched in April 2009, with a game called Pik's Revenge, where a miner in a far-off planet goes on an interstellar adventure after his world explodes around him. The company created nine games last year, eight of which were released. The company has another hit on its hands with the Airport Madness series, where the gamer tries to manage air traffic, and Gunner Galaxies, the sequel to its successful Gunner game. When a game goes stale, Fluik pulls it off Apple's virtual shelves and pushes on with the next project. It has four more games in the works, including one that sees the company expanding to Facebook with a title that will have users predicting the outcome of reality-TV series.
But even with the success Fluik has found, Rubba acknowledges the iPhone app market is especially tough. Go to the App Store and you find more than 500,000 items. There are games with lots of what designers call "polish," along with some raw games that novices created in their dorm rooms. And then there are completely useless games for the first-generation iPhone that no one bothered to remove from the store after the hardware was updated.
"There are not a lot of barriers to entry, so there is a lot of noise," says Rubba.
"There are 500,000 apps out there. If you were to put these into video game boxes, a five-shelf unit would stretch for five miles. So, how do you get found? It's a huge challenge."
Mobile ExplosionMarch 17, 2011
Michael Sikorsky was once called an "Internet revolutionary" by Profit Magazine and a "CEO to watch" by CNN Money. So when the 38-year-old Calgary programmer speaks about the future of mobile applications, people pay attention.
And like others in the industry, the co-founder (along with his wife Camille) of Robots & Pencils, sees the smartphone applications, known simply as apps, about to explode at a pace unlike anything previously seen in the world of cyberspace.
The rate of adoption is about two or three times faster than the rate at of the desktop, Sikorsky says. "The trend is crazy, its unbelievably fast. Faster than when Netscape took off."
The reason is simple - todays cellphones, combined with the rapidly increasing number of apps available, is like having a laptop in your pocket.
"And its not kids, its all of us, the entire world is going mobile," says Jim Barr, founder of Snowseekers, a multi-media company providing education and information about where to find snow fun in Western Canada.
"Were looking at statistics suggesting that, by 2014, there will be more of us in North America accessing the Internet via mobile than there will be via desktop," says Barr. "Were at the same point now in terms of technological advances as we were when the Internet got launched."
While most of todays apps are entertainment-based, that is about to change as companies recognize the potential to market their products at home and abroad. And Alberta companies are caught up in the explosion.
Edmontons Victor Rubba, owner of Fluik Entertainment, says his company is working with a spa manufacturer to build an app that will allow users "to use your smartphone to control your spa from anywhere."
"You could also use it for control of media in your house. It can be a remote control for your TV, use it for home automation, download apps to control your security system from your phone."
Mobile app that starts and monitors cars
Another app, developed by Edmonton-based Certified Tracking Solutions, will allow motorists to use their iPad or Blackberry to remote-start and monitor their vehicles from any distance - even another country - as long as theres wireless coverage.
The Canadian Automobile Associations Trip Tik app provides maps and directions, listings of approved hotels, routes to addresses, and its Roadside app allows the CAA to find your vehicle and send help.
"By simply tapping open our app on your iPhone screen and clicking the "request for assistance" button, we will quickly receive your request for service and your location through GPS technology," says Frank Fotia, vice-president of insurance, automotive, and corporate affairs for CAA.
Fluik Entertainment is working on an app to allow mortgage brokers and agents to fill out forms on their iPads, and recently developed one for Grower Direct to improve service for their customers.
That app will allow customers to order their flowers through their phones, access the companys 300 pages of information and hook into the messaging database to allow Grower Direct to send text messages alerting customers of upcoming holidays.
Health and fitness apps are becoming more competitive and advanced in the ever-growing genre for mobile devices. There are apps to provide a comprehensive study of a users workout, monitor his or her weight, heart rate and calories burned, map out runs and bike rides, calculate body mass index or track and analyze sleep patterns, all while auto tweeting and updating Facebook.
There are apps providing immediate information on local hotspots, along with directions to find them; others allow people to keep in touch with friends in real time, and companies to track time devoted to clients.
The last, says John Carpenter, chief technical officer at Calgarys Mob4Hire, a service that tests and reviews new apps, "is critical information. It allows (an independent contractor) to assign a call to a client as soon as you hang up, making it billable."
Development is expensive
Sikorsky says because it is hard to produce a well-developed app for less than $50,000, companies are continually looking for ways to recoup their costs.
Last year, Snowseekers experimented with a paid app - for $1.99 clients can purchase a "chapter" on local ski areas that provided information ranging from snow conditions to hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and other activities available. They sold about 7,000 chapters, nowhere near enough to cover development costs. (Snowseekers has since updated and improved its app.)
But Visa is experimenting with embedding credit cards into phones, allowing users to purchase products through their apps on their Visa account. That could open up huge new revenue streams for companies.
The Wall Street Journal says global revenue from mobile apps could increase from $4.1 billion last year to $17.5 billion by 2012.
Barr says one of the huge advantages of mobile apps, for both clients and companies, is that "opposed to a static piece of media, this is one thats living and breathing and can be fed content on a regular basis . . . so for the user the experience is increased tenfold because they have everything they need right on their hip. Youre never going to leave home without your phone."
Sikorsky, whose company slogan is "we love to make things for the iPhone, web and desktop," suggested that apps will be "way bigger than the Internet," perhaps leading to the end of laptops in companies. He says that he can only imagine where the future will take us.
"You would need a crystal ball," Sikorsky says. "But you just know its going to be huge. When I look at what people are asking us to do, and what were building, I can tell that 2011 is going to be a turn-around year for businesses."
Tapped-In AppsFebruary 1, 2011
Local startup crazedCoders uses City of Edmonton data to catalogue all the happenings in town. The calendar allows you to plan your week around various events, from charity runs and film screenings to networking functions, while the news feed gives you pinky-sized city bulletins. Free
Kihaku DesignNovember 19, 2010
In partnership with Kihaku Design, 2 new apps hit the iTunes AppStore today!
Sketches2Scrapbook is a Scrapbooking Sketch application that will allow you to think creatively on the go with over 100 (12 in the free version) unique sketches and layouts to keep you inspired.
This App will help you to find the perfect sketch for your photos saving you both time and tote space – no need for magazines and books taking up valuable paper or embellishment space, no need to sit in front of your computer or print our online sketches to take with you. And when you are out at the store, you can use the app to pre-plan your layouts and even use the supplies list to remake the layouts with your own photos.
Sketches2Scrapbook is a way to give you more time and space to scrapbook by keeping all the sketches you need at your fingertips.
GrowerDirect iAppOctober 14, 2010
Straight from the Experts: The Grower Direct iPhone App
Edmonton - The floral experts at Grower Direct want to share their love of flowers with you in a brand new way: the Grower Direct iPhone App.
This exciting and very practical application has been developed for iPhone users in the hopes that it will make everyday life a snap when it comes to researching, viewing, and ordering flowers from anywhere, at anytime. The Grower Direct iPhone App provides information on hundreds of topics about flowers and everything flower-related.
Developed in conjunction with crazedCoders of Edmonton, the free app will address questions such as:
- How old the world's oldest rose bush?
- How do flowers affect people's moods?
- Which flower is associated with a 25th Anniversary?
The app is sure to be popular among those who need a little help when it comes to ordering and choosing flowers for any occasion and features the popular "Guys Guide to Giving Flowers" to ensure that birthdays and anniversaries are top priorities in every household. With the fun new app, flowers can be sent anywhere in the world with the push of a button.
Designing this free app for users who are interested in everything and anything flower related was a logical step for the Canadian retail flower chain. The Grower Direct iPhone App is made for those who just can't get enough of this popular subject; the facts, tips and trivia available in the free iPhone App will keep users informed about care and handling of cut flowers, current trends in flowers and design, the right flowers for the right occasions, and even give you access to special promotions. People across the world will be able to look up any fact they’d like to know about flowers including: health benefits, flower meanings, and flower varieties.
"We know flowers," says Grower Direct CEO, Doug Munro, "and we want to share that knowledge with people everywhere."
Grower Direct has pioneered the concept of affordability and expertise in the retail floral business in Canada and is bringing it to the public on a whole new level with the free Fun Flower Facts iPhone App.
Look for the Grower Direct App on October 14 at www.iTunes.com
Coop Team CommunicatorSeptember 28, 2010
Co-op Team Communicator is a BlackBerry® client for Harvest Co-op, a lightweight web-based project management and team collaboration tool. By providing an easy way for team members to update each other on what they are working on, Co-op enables teams to work more efficiently and enjoyably together.
With Co-op for the BlackBerry®, staying in touch with your teammates on-the-go has never been easier. Share ideas, ask questions, or coordinate groups from wherever you are. Whether you are part of a small team in a larger company or one of many freelancers working together, Co-op keeps you and your teammates connected so you can get more work done together.
Get Coop for your BlackBerry®
Note: requires a Co-op account which is free to sign up via the web at http://coopapp.com.
Edmonton Events CalendarJuly 27, 2010
Edmonton Events Calendar for iPhone is ready for all Edmontonians to start using!
Find out about all upcoming events in the city with this great little app for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Browse by date, with a handy daily and monthly calendar view. Or you can browse categories, and search by name, category description or venue. Every event includes a Google map link, contact information, location and date, as well as any other information provided by the event organizer. You can add events to your favorites, as well as share events you are interested in or will be attending via Twitter, Facebook or email. This app works offline as well, as all event data is cached for 3 days, so be sure to sync up over WIFI and then take it on the road. The event information for this app is pulled directly from the City of Edmonton Event Calendar feed as published in the Open Data Catalogue.
CO-OP Team CommunicatorJuly 15, 2010
Harvest is readyMarch 4, 2010
Today, we're excited to announce the arrival of the official Harvest iPhone app to the iTunes App Store.
Harvest for your iPhone allows you to track time and expenses on-the-go, with or without a network connection. Start and stop the task timers or enter durations with notes while you're on the road.
Harvest - by IridescoFebruary 17, 2010
"Just a heads up that we've officially submitted the app to the App Store today! Thanks for helping us make this happen. We can't wait to get this out to all the users who have been patiently waiting for this."
- Iridesco Inc.
Pik Pik PikJanuary 15, 2010
The FREE version allows players to get a good taste of revenge, allowing them to play until they hit Rank 5. Definitely a great FREE version of the game.
Episode 2 includes Episode 1, and is supposed to double the content of the game. We sure hope there is double the revenge!
Social Web MeetupJanuary 15, 2010
The Social Web Meetup will have presenters from the group discuss various topics on Web 2.0 and Social Media.
- Walter Schwabe - "Brand You" - a review of personal branding examples from the Edmonton Twitter community.
- Steve Davidson - 6 Pixels of Separation.
- Tait Lawton - The social web in China.
Retro pocket ballJanuary 14, 2010
Harvest iPhone appJanuary 12, 2010
Afer pushing this app out to the AppStore for FREE, the Harvest team contracted us to develop Harvest Time and Expense Tracker. Harvest Time and Expense Tracker (name subject to change) will link iPhone users to their Harvest Account, enabling them to track their time and expenses while on the go.
Coming soon to the iTunes AppStore
Transit App For iPhoneJanuary 11, 2010
Pik's Revenge - Episode 2January 7, 2010
Route411January 6, 2010
We have just completed development on version 1 of Route411, which was developed in partnership with fusedlogic over the past 3 months. Route411 is a mobile application designed to put transit info at your fingertips when and where you need it, and is in the AppStore awaiting approval at this very moment.
Pik's RevengeSeptember 30, 2009
Keep your eyes open for the upcoming adventure game "Pik's Revenge" for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Created by Fluik Entertainment, Pik's Revenge is an adventure game with stunning visuals, amazing soundscapes, and a unique quest engine, "Pik's Revenge" is amazing for all ages. Visit www.piksrevenge.com for more information and updates.
happymind.caSeptember 24, 2009
We were recently involved in the creation and launching of happymind.ca. This project's purpose is to raise awareness of our nations hungry, and to aid the FoodBank in feeding them. People were encouraged to donate items to their local FoodBank, and get pictures taken of them doing so. These pictures are then added to the pile. The goal is to reach 1 million photos of people donating, to help raise awareness.