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New smartphone app keeps people in Malta on the move

Some of the facilities offered by the Maltese app onDMove.

Some of the facilities offered by the Maltese app onDMove.

The creators of a relatively new Maltese mobile application that acts as a portable and personal city guide are seeking financial support to expand into foreign cities following their success locally.

OnDmove, originally launched as MaltaonDmove in March 2012, is a mobile application for Apple iOS devices designed to transform the smart phone into the next generation city guide. It geo locates items of interest on the island as well as upcoming events, hottest property deals, the weather forecast and other information.

“The age of paper maps is long gone. When visiting a new city tourists want detailed and accurate information. The first thing most tourists do nowadays is search for a good app on the respective app stores of their smartphones,” Zak Borg, who together with Benji Borg came up with and implemented the idea, told i-Tech.

The onDmove app is owned by Semag Games, which develops apps for iOS, and was developed and designed by Anchovy Studios, a digital marketing agency. Zak and Benji Borg run both companies.

“The spark came on a trip to Gozo with a group of foreign friends who found the tourist maps outdated and hard to use in this age of GPS navigation and smartphones. We therefore challenged ourselves to create a universal digital language and tool for urban living centred on areas of transportation, navigation and entertainment.

“By combining the finest technology, best search, trusted content and the personal information our users share, we have created a service that anticipates and answers our users’ needs. One thing led to another and from a simple ATM finder app we expanded and turned it into a one stop app for locals and tourists alike.”

OnDmove is the first app in Malta designed and developed by Maltese engineers to have the look and feel of an app designed in Northern America. It is also the first to utilise in-app purchasing (Gems & Things To Do), an algorithm which customises the app based on the users preferences, full integration with Facebook, geo locating functionality and an inbuilt weather feed.

The core functionality of the app is geo-locating items on the island. It then sorts out the items based on their distance to the user. It grants users instant access to everything that’s happening around them in real-time, with just the tap of a button.

OnDmove learns from its users, allowing users to add items to their favorites list, delivering personalised information based on location and intent. Whether a user is looking for the hottest beach, best restaurant deals or just the closest free Wi-Fi spot, onDmove explores the vicinity and finds it for them.

“Developing the app was no easy task. The biggest challenge was creating a dynamic content management system (CMS) through which we are now able to add and remove content with the click of a button. Through this CMS the app is now completely dynamic, allowing us to upload new points of interest very easily,” added Benji Borg.

“The original set of data, which populated the app, was entered manually, most of which was publically available and ready to use. This was a very tedious task and involved many hours walking around Malta entering all the data manually.

“Now that we have a stable version of the app, the hardest part is keeping the data and content up to date. This is proving to be a greater challenge than actually coding and designing the app as the turnaround time is much longer and requires more resources.”

The creators of onDmove say they have had very promising feedback.

“We are still fine tuning the business model and how to optimise the revenue options for this app but from an end users perspective it has helped a substantial amount of tourists and locals when navigating Malta.

“The to-do list keeps on growing on a daily basis, as the possibilities for this app are endless,” added Benji Borg.

Berlin and Dublin have been identified as future candidate cities for the onDmove brand. These two cities were selected because they are university cities and also attract a substantial amount of tourists. The data input process has begun but it is taking longer than expected due to the lack of knowledge of the cities and lack of resources.

Indeed such an expansion needs time, money and support.

“We are currently looking for investors to help us take this app to the next level, both assisting with our international expansion as well as the Maltese market.

“We also encourage end users to help us keep the app updated and business owners to forward us their companies’ details so that we can upload them onto the app,” concluded Zak Borg.

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