Bringing the cloud construct of low-cost and rapid deployment to mobility is just the beginning of what the cloud-based mobile development company July Systems' does for its clients. To ratchet down development time for a team of many over weeks to one person in less than an hour piqued my interest. But I was skeptical. I had to explore.
Has July figured out -- with its fourth-generation flagship platform JulyMX -- how to bring a kind of PowerPoint simplicity and speed to development of mobile apps?
Well, I needed more information not only on the technology, but the history of the firm and its founders. And what would such a rapid-fire technology be used for besides lowering development costs?
In reaching out to July's CEO Rajesh Reddy in a phone interview, I would learn the answer just as July Systems launches JulyMX Platform, "which is their first-to-market cloud-based self-authoring offering," on the first day of spring.
The first surprise came when Reddy told me that his company has been around for a decade, or five years before mobile apps became the new hot item and has been involved in mobile technology several years earlier than that in his native India. But he reminded me that pagers, a now primitive mobile tech, has been around for decades.
Before the CEO dove into what his technology does that's different than others in the space, he spoke about the massive paradigm shift that's unfolding under all of our noses, whether we -- the consumer or enterprise -- know it or not.
"There has been a macro massive shift the last three to five years with major implications in five areas," Mr. Reddy began to explained. In no time flat, he went down the list, saying, "First, consumer devices have opened up new possibilities that are just being explored by direct engagement and not by the technology from the PC. It touches customers in other ways different from websites, IMs, push notifications, and all of these channels, old and new. So the shelf life of services last only days and months or years. That creates experience like flash."
"Add location, commerce, content, social, and mobile payment combined, and the end user can aggregate, create and control their own experiences with all positive models," he said.
Mobile Development as a Landscape Change
Imagine that today with July Systems' new product that a non-techie like myself will be able to deploy new brand or ad campaigns on mobile faster that it would take to cut the front and backyard with a lawnmower?
"So how does businesses, large or small, take advantage of the new medium, which is a cloud-based model?" Reddy asked rhetorically. "They can create and deploy in near real-time with non technical experience, from ad campaigns to catalogs. The benefit of this is to create user engagement composition in minutes with an interface that's very visual and social."
CEO Rajesh Reddy went on to explain the old (today's) paradigm that the largest new media companies take four weeks to plan, develop, and launch a new event on mobile. "A single person can launch a new platform experience in thirty minutes to an hour," he said.
Like PowerPoint, the end user doesn't have to be a coder -- not even a novice -- to create customer-driven experiences or for businesses to engage customers. In the past, to go through the IT department was the "biggest inhibitor to launching new impressions."
And today in the digital world, it's all about impressions.
From a recent July Systems white paper with a chapter heading, "Focus on the use cases, and Not the Technology," the opening reads:
"Push, location and touch are some of the game changing technology levers in mobile that have great potential. For companies that want to leverage this potential these technologies need to be tuned to meet the business needs. For example, mobile retailers must ask themselves the following questions:
• "Mobile promotions and campaigns?
• Relevance of my message?
• Footfalls in my store?
• On my products?"
Today in the world of big data it's all about speed measured in milliseconds to deliver key data, insights, and analytics to the end user. The reverse of that speed would be to deploy new mobile events or announcements, with QR codes and images, in minutes and not weeks.
The Roots of July Systems
"Before the mobile apps era 10 years ago, what was the core technology?" I asked.
"We [the founding team at July] founded an Internet-to-mobile platform in the late '90s. VeriSign acquired that SaaS startup at the end of the dot.com era. With a pulse on the changes that were occurring with the dawn of cloud computing, we launched July in 2001," Reddy said. "It was a different world then, the telecom carriers controlled access to mobile Internet. But by 2008 (or with the launch of Apple's iPhone) the carriers lost control and mobile was liberated."
July moved to Amazon's AWS cloud with its first product. Mr. Reddy saw that the market grew and became more mature. "We moved to a cloud-based model. The 'World is Flat' paradigm. Because the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model can leverage different geographies."
And your mobile device does the tracking.
"Our big bet," Mr. Reddy said with emphasis, "is to marry the cloud with a visual environment--with no coding required. We are first in this footprint in consumer experiences and B2C use cases experiences, with teams to build and deploy in real time."
Real-time experience is where it's at today with the big data and mobility.
With mobile users today walking sensors and data graphs, July Systems believes it will create new revenue for its customers, new business models, and new sponsor experiences and forms of B2C engagement.
One example of this is in retail. "During the holiday season, a retail customer can order a product on their phone and can go pick it up in a nearby store immediately, instead of wait for delivery the next day," Reddy said. The pipeline is blurring lines between monetization, social and commerce."
Mr. Reddy underscored that July Systems holds a "complementary position" with mobile development teams. "You can have your app, do it your way, but we turbo-charge your business. JulyMX is an add-on to every business, a new layer."
Most of July's customers have significant mobile users, from ESPN and the NFL, to many Fortune 500 companies.
Launching their new platform at the start of March Madness isn't madness at all, but way for brand and marketing engagement teams to lower costs, while imagine and create "unbelievable possibilities, to allow people to respond to TV and print ads."
In Rajesh Reddy's view, consumers and businesses are entering a "new beginning."
Their sweet sport: "The app first revolution, take that to the cloud, make it self-authoring, and democratize it. That's the next wave of evolution. With consumerization on both sides, it has to get simpler. You don't need specialist -- as much anymore."
Now it will be up to the client developers and end users to prove his vision true.