Nigeria’s mobile applications industry is expected to witness significant growth this year as telecommunications operators, vendors, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) seek direct ties to developers and programmers, analyst say.
Though Nigeria’s apps development space is still in its infancy, according to analysts, there is still clear potential with foreign platforms in use.
A mobile application (or mobile app) is a software application designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. They are usually available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry App World.
Local developers according the analysts, would need to focus on localising existing apps whilst harnessing new ideas to drive sales globally. These are exciting times for mobile app developers in Lagos and its environs.
Co-Creation Hub (CcHub), an Information Technology (IT) incubator providing seed capital to commercialise projects, now has a mobile testing laboratory. The Operating Systems (OSs) in their portfolio range from Bada, Android, Java to Blackberry’s latest offering BB10. Bosun Tijani, chief executive officer of CcHub, said in an interview recently, “As part of our drive to encourage relevant local content (apps), the software testing facility will provide a platform to local apps developers to ensure their apps are fully tested for functionality, usability and consistency before release.”
He also added that “The local ecosystem needs apps that can rival apps from any part of the world and this facility will contribute to that common goal.” Only recently, Blackberry and the Lagos State Innovation Advisory Council signed a Letter of Intent outlining their intention to build a BlackBerry Apps Lab in Lagos.
Also, Microsoft recently announced 9jApps contest challenge aimed at empowering the next generation of Nigerian developers, by helping them drive innovation and grow the local software economy.
The challenge was designed to empower local developers to take advantage of Microsoft’s new tools and resources to develop locally appealing and locally-relevant apps for the Windows platform, utilising Visual Studio 2012 and the Windows Phone SDK, in addition to the Windows Azure SDK.
“Nigeria is blessed with enormous talents, and Microsoft is proud to be able to help these talented developers to acquire new skills that will help them explore their potential and reach new heights” Emmanuel Onyeje, country manager, Microsoft Nigeria told journalists at the flagging off of the challenge in Lagos.
“The essence of an app developing business is recognising a niche market and matching it with a solution”, Thabiet Allie, head of content and services at Samsung South Africa, said. Most of the resources required to develop apps are freely available online.
What is most required is infrastructure in terms of stable power supply and affordable quality internet access. This, according to analysts would help position Nigeria to produce a generation of innovative start-ups that would grow into successful multi-million naira entities.
For the developer, creative strategies are needed to attract new consumers and different business models will be required to make the regional ecosystems viable in order to effectively monetise the significant app momentum.
This, according to analysts is essentially because the active user base and growth rates in some of these countries exceed those from the western markets, irrespective of the device type.
BEN UZOR JR