Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Greatest Marketing Tool- the iPhone App

One of my favorite ways to spend a beautiful day when I visit my parents’ house during weekends is flying with my dad around the Bay Area in his small private plane. About three years ago during a routine flight, my dad asked me to video tape the view. After a while, my hands started aching, which gave me an idea that I immediately shared with my dad. Transforming my initial idea into an actual patent, my dad established a new startup called Flyvie. Flyvie offers a product which is GPS based that tracks the flight and records it using digital cameras, and simultaneously saving all the data on a small memory card. This special application is later downloaded on a web browser, and the detailed flight can be viewed online by signed members. This product enables flight instructors and new pilots to re-visit their flight and mark both mistakes and achievements.
This product started out as a compact package including a laptop , two small digital cameras, a GPS center, and a memory card. Even though many flight schools and private instructors found this tool to be extremely helpful and purchased the kits in large numbers, we knew we were not reaching the full array of potential customers. That is when we came up with the idea for an iPhone app.
Considering the current social evolution, including the introduction of smart phones and constant accessibility to resources, we knew that a simple iPhone app (called Flyvie Lite) would be more applicable to the general aviation public. Indeed, just as we expected, once we came up with a free app which combines both the built-in GPS and camera applications on the iPhone, more people started showing interest. Even though the final product did not appear to be as professional as the initial product, pilots seem to prefer the accessible, friendly, cheap iPhone app (as long as they have iPhones, of course).
What I find the most fascinating about this experience is the obvious trend among any startups or technology mediated ideas: the necessity to attract more customers and expand the business using iPhone applications. The development of such app was a natural next step, which also ended up being a smart one.

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