When people think about the one thing that changed their lives the most in the last few years, most will say it was the smartphone. It may be difficult to remember the time before Apple released its first iPhone back in 2007, but smartphones used to be clunky, utilitarian devices reserved for business people too busy to whip out a laptop or wait to get back to the office to tap out a reply to an email. There wasn’t much more you could do with smartphones beyond that and it was still a time when people used smartphones to actually make phone calls. But it wasn’t really until the advent of Apple’s App Store, which came out a full year after the first iPhone, that the computing industry was transformed into what it is today. The smartphone boom has been going on for over a decade and Americaneagle.com has been there from the start.
We began designing and developing native mobile applications in 2009, shortly after Apple released its first SDK for the iPhone. In that time, we’ve created and maintained hundreds of apps for iOS and Android across a variety of industries. From TV and radio personalities, sports and associations, and medical/healthcare, to ecommerce, ticketing, and social networking, there likely isn’t an industry that we have not had some exposure to during our journey into mobile application development.
Our first app was for film critic, author, and friend of Americaneagle.com, Richard Roeper. He wanted an app to compliment his website where he posted movie reviews while he was out and about in the city of Chicago. The app was launched right before the release of his new book, Bet The House, and as a way of promoting it, he used an Easter Egg that was programmed into his iPhone app to give out a free signed copy of the book. Shortly thereafter, Richard started doing reviews for the Starz Network and the app experienced a wave of downloads and we knew there was a future in mobile app development.
Then, just one year later, we released an app for analyzing professional baseball statistics called “Bill James Baseball IQ” which went on to be named one of the Top 20 iOS Apps of 2011 by TechCrunch. In fact, it was ranked two spots above HBO Go! which was also a brand-new app released that year. Baseball IQ’s companion app, Bill James Daily Matchups, was released that same year for people who played fantasy baseball and wanted to make the most informed decisions on who to put into their lineups for that day. We’ve also done applications for other clients in the sports industry, such as the Pro Football Athletic Trainers Association and VSiN.com, Brent Musburger’s popular network that focuses on sports gambling.
Two of our most popular apps were “Open the Books” and “Military By Owner”. The Open the Books app allows people to see the salary and pension history of state and federal employees based on the app’s current GPS location or by searching for a zip code. The app is still very popular today and is often referenced in news articles and on cable news outlets. Military By Owner is an app that allows the men and women of the Armed Forces to find houses and rentals for their families near their assigned bases. It remains one of our most downloaded applications to date.
As the technology surrounding mobile apps has evolved, so have our solutions to leverage that technology. The Chicago Auto Show is another prominent app for us that we launched in 2014 and have done every year since. Starting in 2015, we introduced beacons into the app to help exhibitors reach show attendees as they were visiting or walking past exhibits. The app also allows the show runners to send targeted Push Notifications to people who have downloaded the app to inform visitors about special events going on at North America’s largest auto show.
It’s not just new apps that we’re developing either; we are also happy to help maintain existing apps as well. We’ve picked up apps from companies like Rust-Oleum, Schumaker Electric, and Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Xi, helping to add features, fix bugs, and improve performance for these pre-existing apps.
Our most recent foray into mobile application development has been for the transit industry. We started in 2004 with the Chicago Transit Authority, the nation’s second largest transit system, where we helped keep track of rides and fares for the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus system. Then, in 2016, we ventured into creating a more robust solution for transit agencies that included hardware integrations for Point of Sale systems, ticket inspection devices, in addition to the mobile ticketing apps used by consumers. We feel we have brought some interesting innovations to this space and are at the forefront of the industry as the need to modernize fare collection systems, as well as bringing them up to the latest security standards, becomes increasingly important.
So much has changed with smartphones in the decade since they started becoming popular. Do we even use them as telephones anymore? It’s difficult to imagine what the next ten years will bring, but one thing is certain: Americaneagle.com will be there to help our clients evolve their business around the handheld devices that we have come to rely on in our daily lives.
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