The city of Columbus last month launched a free mobile application called MyColumbus, which allows users to interact with the 311 Service Center, the GreenSpot program, the Get Active Columbus website, and the My Neighborhood location tool.
The app’s creator, mobile software development firm eProximiti, is, appropriately, Columbus-based.
“We were introduced to the city through some mutual contacts who were familiar with our work,” says Jeff Harper, principal at eProximiti. “This project began with students at Ohio State, and we transitioned their work and helped the city bring it to life. The city needed a local partner with expertise in the advanced technologies they wanted to deploy, and we were able to work onsite with their professionals and stakeholders.”
So far, eProximiti and the city are pleased with MyColumbus’s reception.
“Approval and adoption of the app has been fantastic– and that is exactly the positive affirmation everyone was hoping for,” Harper says. “Many of the features have already been actively used and have easily transitioned into tools that can be expected to continue to grow and develop for years to come.”
To learn more about eProximiti, including what its team keeps in mind when developing products, which product is already generating interest from prestigious health care providers, and why Harper is happy the company is located in the capital city, keep reading.
The Metropreneur: Do you think MyColumbus has helped create greater visibility for eProximiti?
Jeff Harper: This project has absolutely provided greater visibility, which happens with each application we release and each new client audience we serve. Most people in Central Ohio are not aware there is an industry-leading mobile software development firm based right in the Short North– and we are. The city’s app led to interest by Mashable, who quoted us Wednesday.
[M]: eProximiti builds mobile products. Can you explain what that means?
JH: eProximiti is a full service mobile software development firm– with mobile strategy and user experience leaders, project managers, design and creative, engineers and deployment professionals. We build mobile software products, not brochure apps or toys. Our clients are looking for technologies that integrate their web and internet, extending and advancing it for the new opportunities possible from a mobile experience.
We think of an app as a product that a consumer/resident/patient has a relationship with. While every client does not request every service we offer, for those clients who do, we are able to a complete solution. We build apps for customers, but more and more often now we are building our own products completely in house, and creating our own brands. In these instances, each of our own apps is a true product that lives on its own.
[M]: Are there certain things eProximiti tries to keep in mind when developing a product?
JH: Absolutely. First and foremost, we always start with the user experience while we are still focusing on our client’s return on investment. Why or how would the consumer want to use this is and, from that utilization, how and where should the company look to return on the investment?
Too many apps are built with only the company in mind and not the end user. An App is only successful if both parties have lasting value, and we try to build tools that will create a reason for the end user to open them a second, third, fourth, etc. time.
Second, we don’t just take a traditional desktop experience and bring it to mobile. Mobile presents entire new opportunities and challenges, and we know that people use mobile differently and for different reasons. An app should embrace these differences, and we help our clients understand best practices in mobile and apply them to their business.
[M]: What inspired you and your father, Ivan, to launch eProximiti in 2008?
JH: I always had an interest in location-based information, even before I ever saw an iPhone or used the technologies that we provide today. I have been passionate about connecting communities with action-oriented information. I hate searching for information and I want to help create better and smarter ways to connect people to those things they are interested in with as few clicks as possible. That is the focus of what we do today– helping create faster and better mobile communication tools.
[M]: What’s it like being a technology-based company in Columbus? It seems like the tech community here is strong and thriving.
JH: We like Columbus. It’s an easy place to live and do business. More than half of our employees walk or bike to work –I walk four blocks to the office– and that just would not be feasible in other places. Columbus, like a number of cities its size and shape, is trying to make itself more technology-centric and has good community. There is still a lot of work to be done to continue to grow and develop, as the competitive marketplace for technology is hot all over the country.
[M]: Is there anything else you think we should know?
JH: We are very excited about Duet Health, a health care-specific mobile platform we have created together with doctors in Central Ohio and around the country. Duet is designed to engage patients with relevant information on their course of care, with a specific goal of improved outcomes. Duet powers the OhioHealth mobile app being used by hundreds of patients today, and will soon empower patients in more than 20 specialty areas of OhioHealth.
It is now being piloted with other health systems, insurance companies, and health care product companies, and we are thrilled with what it is starting to become. Duet has drawn interest from places like Stanford, Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, as the future of health care will tie to a mobile delivery.
To learn more about eProximiti, visit eProximiti.com.