Profile: TownApps, generic application development platform

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An Innovation Partnership with COMAND Gateway

To rationalise development across hundreds of mobile apps, TownApps and SRI are creating a generic, configurable development platform that will allow a common code-base to be used for all common app functionality, with configurable elements to customise each app for a particular city or feature set.

In addition to city configuration, the platform will allow optional features to be enabled as specified for each app type. By streamlining app development and management, time to market for new apps will be greatly improved as well as simplifying the app-store and infrastructure management of dozens or hundreds of separate apps.

For all applications developed, the platform will configure the programme code for the specific app, compile the code into Android and iPhone mobile applications, and produce a docker image containing the application backend functionality and website for deployment to a VM service such as AWS.

For deployment functionality, the platform will push the mobile apps to the relevant app store, deploy a VM for the application backend, and deploy the docker container to the VM. The application can be pre-configured, and automatically go live as soon as deployed, or app owners can configure the application with local business listings and additional content after deployment.

Features of the solution

The basic application foundation includes a city-configurable business listing database arranged by category such as Hotels, Restaurants, Places to See, Things to Do, etc.

Users of the mobile app will be able to view the listings for a particular city including photos, detailed description and links to videos.

App owners and business owners will be able to add and update business listing with photos, video links, descriptive text, and contact details including telephone, website and social media links.

App owners will be able to add and remove business owners as well as recording business owner details for account management.

Extra features

Extra elements will include the following:

Business listing premium placement

  • Business owners with premium accounts are provided with enhanced placement of their listings to make them stand out from normal listings

Business owner special offer entry

  • Business owners can create special offers valid for a particular time period and generate digital coupons for redemption in-store

Alert notification system

  • Alerts can be generated for premium level offers as well as for app service announcements

User website for browser-based viewing of listings and user account details

  • A website will be automatically generated for each city app where registered and unregistered users can browse the business listings for that city
  • Registered users will also be able to manage their account, favourites and preferences on the website

User management of categories and listings for favourite selection and sorting

  • Users can sort categories to ensure their interests are placed first in their personal view
  • Business listings can be selected for addition to a ‘Favourites’ or ‘ToDo’ list. This provides easy access to common listings as well as creating an offline resource for users visiting a strange city

User rating system for business listings

  • Users can rate business listings and can see average ratings from other users

Integrated widgets such as weather reports and ‘what’s on’ listings

  • Several widgets will be available and can be selected or deselected on app creation

Analytics visualisation for app owners and business owners for listing access statistics

  • App owners will be able to view statistics, analytics, and visualisations of user access to business listings

City-trails features to link business listings and places of interest together with an integrated narrative

  • Intermix commercial listings with places of interest to generate business
  • Mobile users can record trail attempt date and duration to complete
  • Mobile users can share trail achievements on social media

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