Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Did you know you can create your own category with ShowNearby?

For users not entirely familiar with the application, you have the option to create a category based on your search preferences.

On the home screen of the application, you already have over 35 categories for your information-seeking pleasure. These serve as a guide for most users, but you are free to sort, add or remove any of them from the home screen.

For ShowNearby users who already know what they want, they have the option to create their own custom categories to personalise their ShowNearby app.

Searches on ShowNearby can be done in the following manner:
1) Search for buildings or place names (e.g. Suntec City Mall)

2) Search for keywords or categories associated with specific places or shops (e.g. "Chinese Cuisine", "Catholic Church", "Postal Service", "Pharmacy" etc.)

3) Search for address (e.g. Lorong 2 Toa Payoh)

Creating your custom category
For example, if you are looking a pharmacy near you, you can always search it by keying in "pharmacy" in your ShowNearby app.

Use "Map View" function at the bottom of the screen to view nearby points of interest on the map!

The search results page will then show you the relevant places that are associated with pharmaceutical services or the like. If you like the list you see, you have the option to add this search as a category!

Voila! You have your own category!

You may also decide to remove the category.

Well, we hope this helps you appreciate your ShowNearby app a little more. Stay tuned for more posts on how to use (and have fun with) your ShowNearby app!

In the meantime, feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Cheers!
Monday, March 21, 2011
Mobile location-based services LBS have gained tremendous popularity among smart phone users in Singapore lately.

LBS has become a rational utility that quickens the process to knowing and finding relevant points of interest, as demanded by Singaporeans.

Our business partners, prospects, friends from the press, our users and other stakeholders, are all very excited at the promise that is LBS.

Often times, this excitement is accompanied by a lack of knowledge of the what's and how's of LBS on mobile.

So exciting!
In every technological era, we are confronted with the following statements, or statements similar in nature to:

"Mobile is the future. LBS is the future. Mobile LBS is the future!!!"

"More people are adopting mobile phones. High mobile penetration!"

"More people are using LBS and integrating it into their daily lives!"

Keeping our excitement in check, we should first question each statement with 2 magical words: SO WHAT?

Do these statements, among many, combine to justify entering the LBS industry and jumping on the bandwagon of app development, navigational services, creating your own database, POI management, etc.?

We raise 2 considerations to be taken into account when evaluating the LBS industry in Singapore, and also provide the relevant statistics. They are the platforms on which LBS is provided, and the service providers (telco) to whom users are subscribed.

Oh my OS!
As you know, ShowNearby is currently available on 3 platforms - Android, BlackBerry and iPhone (also iPod). We are also looking to other platforms to bring the wonders of LBS to users of other operating systems (OS).

From our findings, we discover that the majority of mobile LBS users are iPhone users. This is not much of a surprise, given the iOS penetration in Singapore is the highest in the world, at 480,000 devices - iPhone and iPod included. (pssst... ShowNearby is on over 300,000 iPhones and iPods!)

When the idea of mobile LBS application development is floated around, does one plan to develop on one platform alone? The above pie chart indicates the popularity of mobile location-based services on iPhone.

Even if there are plans to develop an app that would be available on multiple platforms, one has to consider the factors of user experience and user interface, and balance those considerations with that of standardisation of the application.

Providing service
On a different note, we have found out the daily proportion of Singaporean smartphone users who subscribe to each of the three major service providers.

The figures shown are expressions of each telco with respect to the others, compiled from Google Analytics. Each telco has its own subsidiaries and derivatives and also collated for the below-mentioned charts - Singtel comprises Singtel Mobile, Singnet Pte Ltd, and Magix Broadband Network. M1 comprises MobileOne Ltd, M1 Ltd, and M1 Connect Pte Ltd. Starhub comprises Starhub-HSDPA, Starhub Cable Vision Ltd, Starhub Pte Ltd, Starhub Cable Vision Ltd Singapore Broadband Access Provider, Starhub Internet Pte Ltd, Starhub HSDPA sg, Starhub HSPA, and Starhub HSDPA.

By the way, the colours of the pie chart are purely coincidental and are not meant to reflect or represent the corporate colours of the respective service providers. =)

Among the 3 service providers, almost half of mobile LBS users here are subscribed to Singtel, while 31% and 22% are with Starhub and M1 respectively.

Singtel saw a drop of 6 percentage points in mobile LBS usage from December 2010 to February 2011, while M1 and Starhub gained 3 percentage points each. 

Considering the overall respective 3G mobile market share, the above pie shows a very competitive share of the LBS market by each of the service providers.

Casting a bigger net
Advertisers and marketers should always explore the limitations in choosing to advertise on location-based service applications that are only available on one platform.

Moreover, when advertisers and marketers choose to have exclusive partnerships with a service provider to do location-based advertising, they have to consider the share of the market they are capturing.
Friday, March 18, 2011
After winning the Singapore Computer Society Young Professional of the Year award, Ngee Ann Polytechnic School of ICT alumnus Douglas Gan is featured on his Alma Mater's website.

The ShowNearby CEO is doubly honoured and very grateful the NP School of ICT has posted an announcement to celebrate his achievement, as well as the achievements of other alumni.

Here's a screen capture (below) for your viewing pleasure.

ShowNearby co-founder and fellow alumnus Lee Changjin is also mentioned.

Douglas shares his thoughts:

"Being recognised as Young Professional of the Year by the Singapore Computer Society is a great achievement. I also feel very proud that the Ngee Ann Poly School of ICT took some time to share this news. I feel very honoured. I hope with ShowNearby, we will achieve more in the future and play a role in contributing to growth of the ICT industry. Thank you so much!"

You may view the article here.

Douglas is also president of the recently inaugurated School of ICT Alumni Chapter.

Thank you Ngee Ann Poly School of ICT for sharing this great news with everyone!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The burgeoning mobile market in Singapore is highlighted by the exponential growth in mobile apps being developed, being downloaded, and to a large extent, being discarded after first use.

As we take our hats off to inspired developers who explore the possibilities of various smart phone platforms, intelligently incorporate user demand and user experience in their development, and deliver useful and fun apps to a huge market of users, we at ShowNearby are especially concerned about app development for the sake of app development.

The Mobile App Bandwagon
Businesses whose core competencies have come to define their success, are now by the dozens jumping on the mobile app bandwagon.

The logic here is simple.

High mobile penetration, or rather, over-penetration. Check.
High usage of smart phones by Singaporeans. Check.
Good mobile infrastructure. Check.
Everyone else is doing it. Check.

Simply Taken for Granted
It is precisely this simplicity which blinkers business owners. They base their decision to invest in an application on some of the many factors:

1. Not knowing the recurring costs of developing, testing, updating, marketing and making the app available across different mobile operating systems.

Based on our estimates, it costs about $50,000 to $75,000 to start developing your own app. Want to make a really good app? Get a consultant! Throw in a few more thousands to feel better.

Maintenance comes at a monthly high of $2,000. Not cheap, but necessary.

We have to consider operating system fragmentation, ranging from $5000 to $7000 per OS update, and depending on the platforms, the number of updates per year range from 3 to 10. You have to update your app to be compatible with the latest operating system - and that means more dollars!

Moreover, when you create an app, you begin with 0 downloads/users. Other than creating a Facebook and Twitter page, you may consider an email blast to your existing customer base.

However, do the mere informing and educating of your existing customer base to download your app justify the abovementioned expenditure? Not everyone in that database may own a smart phone, or worse, may be receptive to the email blast and end up unsubscribing from you. Talk about rage quitting!

Casting your net wide, you aim to get recruit more users, get more downloads of the app. You spent a conservative estimate of $10,000 every quarter promoting your app.

Hey, don't forget to upgrade your Communications and Public Relations staff too. They need to understand how new media and mobile media are to be effectively communicate to different stakeholders. Throw in $1000 to $5000 of courses per person. Sharpen those skills, guys!

What about the updating of content? Perhaps that could be left to Corp Comms or IT. Let's hire some techie for $3000 to $4000 to design a panel, that is easy for content to be added, removed or edited.

And before you know it, your app has a rating of 1 or 2 stars upon 5, because of the following factor.

2. Assuming loyal adoption of the app.
You thought since your brand will sell itself, its mobile application will do the same.

A utility app is not good enough. You have to access the dimensions of its utility.

Imagine creating an app which features a catalogue of your products and services. Users download and access this app as regularly as they would normally demand your products and services.

If you're a restaurant, users may access your app 2 or 3 times a week. Then again, they may develop a familiarity with the restaurant that do not warrant opening that app.

If you're a fashion apparel shop, users may access your app once or twice a month.

3. Assuming that maintenance of the app is similar to maintaining a website.
One factor of success for an app is its stickiness and relevance to the user.

If you load the app with content that is infrequently updated, people will decided against using the app again.

Additional manpower will be required to ensure it remains relevant. When users begin saying unpleasant things about the application in the reviews or in forums, you may have to spend time to address their concerns and act on them.

Considerations to be taken into account
We hope this post has shed some light on the considerations to be taken into account when developing a mobile application that will be available on multiple platforms.

We wish to share these as we are developers ourselves. After all, ShowNearby has invested over $2 million to build a reliable app that is compatible of multiple platforms.

ShowNearby offers the abovementioned services - and at affordable rates too! Just drop us a line when if you're interested!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
With the recent update, we are very happy to share with you the different things you can do with your ShowNearby app. In this post, we share with you a few new features - cab booking, movie booking, viewing bus routes, and viewing Singapore Pool's lottery results.

Getting to the Point... of Interest
Essentially, ShowNearby shows you places, or points of interest, that are near you. We have dozens of categories for your use.

You may find these points of interest within proximity, such as ATMs, restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, bus stops, shopping centres, post offices and many more.

ShowNearby does not leave it at that. We always improve and update the app, thanks to the generous feedback provided by our loyal users.

Users have requested for a myriad of categories, which we later prioritise and deliver. (A big thanks to you guys!)

Being helpful and relevant
The app prides itself in being a relevant daily utility. While it remains a mobile location-based service, the app is developed to provide users with a one-stop platform to solve their information-seeking needs.

For instance, finding the location of a particular restaurant may not suffice. We try our best to add in as much relevant information as possible. These include contact number, email address, website address, operating hours and so on.

We also work closely with relevant organisations, bodies and groups to ensure the data we provide remain up to date.

Our users are very important to us as they provide the latest updates, which in turn benefits the wider community of ShowNearby users. By indicating that a place is closed, moved or has its details changed, the user helps ShowNearby to improve the app!

Making a booking
One new feature in this app is cab booking (check the menu for Android, or place details page on any platform). While accessing points of interest, users may now book a cab (with Comfort Delgro). They have three options as to where they want to be picked up - the place they are currently at; the place they are viewing on the app; or a place to be determined by the user.

ShowNearby users can now also view movie show times and book movie tickets through ShowNearby.

Selected cinemas apply (Shaw and Cathay). Access the "Movie Theatre" category, select the cinema point of interest, view its details page and scroll down to view timings. You may select the timing at which you want to view the movie and a browser will be opened for you to making the booking.

Time to book those tickets!

Bird's eye view
ShowNearby users can not only view the list of nearby points of interest of a particular category or search word, but also access the map view of these places. (Select "View Map" at the bottom of the list to see the following!)

Those who commute by bus will be glad to know we now include bus route information. Simply select the bus number to view.

We also have users who have requested for one particular feature. And now we are happy to share it with all of you - Singapore Pools results (for 4D, Singapore Sweep and TOTO).

We sincerely hope you find ShowNearby the winning number in your daily life, as we continue to make this app relevant to your needs. There will be no need to open multiple apps for different purposes - just use ShowNearby!

So what are you waiting for? Go update (or download) the ShowNearby application now. Cheers! =D
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Here at ShowNearby, we believe in helping promising youths further their dreams. Recently, we met a group of students of River Valley High School, earnestly seeking sponsorship so they can represent Singapore in the global F1 in Schools competition. We invited the team down to our office to get to know them a little better.

Introducing Team Feng!
Team Feng (meaning Wind in Mandarin) comprises of Lam Teng Foong, Li Zhi Kai, Lim Yao Zhong, Jean Yong, Angel Chia and Ng Pei Yin. The team of 17 year-olds emerged as the R-type overall champion at the Singapore F1 in School competition, taking home 4 awards for Best Booth Display, Best in Marketing and Sponsorship, Best Engineered Car and Fastest Car.

Team Feng has impressed at the national level and come September 2011 will now represent Singapore to vie for the coveted Bernie Ecclestone Trophy at the F1in Schools World Championship.

For the competition, teams are required to build a model car which runs on carbon dioxide. They are then judged on the timings for their car to complete a 20m track.

A Call for Help
A trip to the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia however, does not come cheap. Team Feng needs help covering travel expenses. They also need funds for the research and development of their racer.

ShowNearby has offered Team Feng to use our platform to promote their cause. ShowNearby offers $10,000 worth of advertising space for Team Feng’s cause. The ads will be making the call for sponsorship and monetary contributions to the team.

On top of that, ShowNearby will offer 10% discount off its services to any business that sponsors $1000 cash to Team Feng. The discount increases to 20% and 30% respectively for $2000 and $3000 cash sponsorship. Discounts are capped at 30%.

If your business is keen to support Team Feng, or interested in the discounted services of ShowNearby, or both, please let us know! (ask [at] shownearby [dot] com)

Please feel free to visit the Team Feng Facebook page and website. For further enquiries, sponsorship/contributions and more, feel free to contact the team at rvf1teamfeng [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Monetary contributions are welcome and chequed to the following address:
River Valley High School.
6 Boon Lay Avenue. Singapore 649961.
Attention to "F1 in Schools World Finals - Team Feng".

Thanks for your support!

Addendum: The world finals will now be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and no longer in the UK. More updates to come.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Everyone in ShowNearby is saddened by news of the recent disaster that has hit Japan.

The earthquake and resultant Pacific Tsunami have claimed lives and we wish to express our condolences to the families and friends of those who did not survive.

At this time, we hope the people, their friends and family in Japan will have the strength to see through this ordeal. It is at this time when they need all the help they can get.

As the Red Cross Society is collecting donations for relief aid in disaster-stricken areas, we share the following link with you: http://american.redcross.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ntld_main&s_src=RSG00100E013&s_subsrc=ONR_MainDonateButton

Singaporeans can also make donations to the Singapore Red Cross Society. 15 Penang Lane, Singapore 238486. (http://www.redcross.org.sg/)

We hope you appreciated the findings we made pertaining to Singaporean mobile search habits in previous entries, here and here.

This time we have more information for your pleasure. We learn something new everyday about how Singaporeans use their utility apps on their smart phones (with ShowNearby as your utility app, of course hehe).

A breakdown of what Singaporeans look for
Previously, we shared what were the top three popular groups of items Singaporeans search for. These were transport, food, and ATM and payment service related groups.

After closer scrutiny and lots of coffee, we identified more genres Singaporeans love to search for when on the go, and compiled the above pie chart! Don't you love pie? (The pie chart above was compiled from the last 2 months of searches, by the way)

Well, the chart is self-explanatory. We travel, we use public amenities, we eat and drink, we make transaction, we shop, etc. These are items which figure prominently in our daily lives as consumers, and are reflected in how we use location-based services.

Good times for location-based services
The chart below shows the popularity of mobile location-based services (LBS) at basically every waking hour of the day, giving us a slice of Singaporean life when it comes to using LBS.

Usage of LBS begins in the morning when Singaporeans are searching for bus information, or navigating their way to a meeting at a less frequented location.

When they have settled into their routine, LBS takes a backseat, which is explained by the slight dip in the 9am-12pm time period.

Come lunch hour, LBS finds its way back into the our lives, as people search for restaurants, cafes, diners, as well as the directions to these specific places.

Towards the evening, the usage of LBS increases as food, entertainment and travel become top of the agenda. It is at this point when Singaporeans become more adventurous. They do more keyword searches and browse relevant genres of possible activities that would later fill their evenings - to eat, play, shop and so on.

Being strategic
The above chart (time of usage) is useful for ShowNearby's partners, and they would be glad to know they can advertise not only at strategic locations, but at strategic time periods. Minimal wastage and getting bang for your buck!

Businesses should also consider, in view of the popularity of certain search categories, advertising across genres. It is a bold step which may have implication on branding and corporate image. For instance, a hair salon may choose to advertise at ATM points of interest, given its relative popularity as a search genre.

The traditional approach - if we can call it that - will be to advertise within one's industry, or in this mobile scenario, one's search genre. This maximises the utility of the mobile location-based service as a directional medium.
  • Consumer wants a hair cut >> Consumer searches for "hair salon" and related keywords >> Consumer gets relevant information >> Consumer goes to hair salon.
There are countless possibilities in marketing with location-based service. A business may consider marketing:
  • In related or complementary industries - An automobile servicing company advertising at petrol kiosk points of interest.
  • Complementary tag words - A fast food restaurant requesting the tag of "orange juice" since it serves orange juice as a beverage.
  • At competitor locations or points of interest - XYZ pet shop advertising at ABC pet shop's point of interest.
  • In unrelated locations - A diner based in Tampines advertising in Bedok Central.
  • In unrelated industries - A cybercafe advertising in the restaurant category, with restaurant-related keywords.
Your friend, ShowNearby
An effective mobile marketing strategy requires more than just documents of statistics, facts and figures. It requires an intimate collaboration between client and the service provider.

In ShowNearby's case, we offer consultation to our clients to help them understand the stats and their implications on various aspects of the business. We see our clients as our investors.

The above charts present an overview of Singaporean usage of LBS. These are the details businesses study and rely on to make decisions. ShowNearby also acts in our clients' interests by helping clients to make sense of the information.

Privileged with regular client feedback, we work and improve the mobile platform, an outcome which again benefits our clients.

Please feel free to contact us at ask [at] shownearby [dot] com. We are at your service.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
ShowNearby is in the news! No, we did not partake in the inter-mobile location-based service provider nerf gun shoot-out. Our product and communications manager, Uncle Sam, was quoted in an article by Human Resources Online.

The March 3 article focuses on recruitment via new media, in particular the Internet and notable social media platforms. In view of changing trends in the domains of communications, media and technology, businesses are identifying new avenues to recruit talent. This article addresses the opportunities and challenges pertaining to these trends. Enjoy the read!

And if you happen to be an independent and active learner who is creative and fun-loving, you may want to consider dropping us an email - career [at] shownearby [dot] com. =)
Monday, March 7, 2011
ShowNearby CEO Douglas Gan was recently awarded Young Professional of the Year by the Singapore Computer Society at the IT Leader Awards.

Following up on the previous post, we now share with you pictures taken at the event.

Judge for Young Professional of the Year, Lee Swee Cheang, shares his thoughts on the criteria for the award, below:

Douglas says he is privileged to have been honoured alongside fellow award recipients. They include IT Leader of the Year Tan Yen Yen, SCS Hall of Fame and IT Leader of 2000 Lee Kwok Cheong, and IT Youth winner Vishu Prem. ShowNearby congratulates these individuals and wishes them more success!

Douglas wishes to express his gratitude to his mum, family, friends, partners and most importantly, the team behind ShowNearby, who have not only believed in him in his time as an entrepreneur, but have given him the support during his struggles.

Above: Douglas stands with Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew, and other distinguished guests.

Below: Douglas poses for a picture with Ngee Ann Poly Alumni Members and School of IT Lecturers.

"I thank God for this honourable conferment. This conferment is not only about the hard work I've put in as an individual, but also the crucial support I've received from different people. I'm blessed to be in their company," says Douglas.

"I had many struggles and setbacks, and learned a lot over the years - I'm still learning though. I'm very proud, yet humbled, to be recognised as the Young Professional of the Year. I am most thankful to God, my parents and the team behind ShowNearby, the major driving force behind this conferment."

Above: Douglas shares a bit about himself in an interview for the IT Leader Awards 2011.

What Now?

"What is important now is when the contributions my team and I make to various sectors and industries are always relevant. While this marks a notable milestone in my career, I see it as a stepping stone to making ShowNearby a regional and global brand. I may be here receiving the award this evening, but I hope my colleagues and partners will be the ones receiving awards in the future. I would like to thank SCS for honouring me. I'll be back!"

Looking dapper with the bow tie, Douglas. Congratulations from all of us.

More about SCS:

The Singapore Computer Society (SCS) was founded in 1967, representing the interests of stakeholders in the IT industry in Singapore. It is the largest IT professional body in Singapore. Please go to their website for more information.

The IT Leader Awards was launched in 1997 by SCS to honour distinguished individuals for their achievements and contributions to the IT profession and development in Singapore.
On Friday, March 4, 2011, ShowNearby CEO Douglas Gan was awarded and recognised as the Young Professional of the Year.

Douglas received the award at the Singapore Computer Society (SCS) IT Leader Awards ceremony. The ceremony recognises key personalities who have contributed to information technology, and gave out four awards last Friday.

Douglas is very proud to have received this prestigious award (as seen below). He wishes to thank everyone who has supported him, his team and ShowNearby.

The event and related interviews are also covered here (by ZDNet Asia).

Friday, March 4, 2011
We know we left you hanging at the end of the post on Singaporean mobile search habits, so we decided to swing you over to another interesting post on searches. Interesting, if we say so ourselves.

We have identified the top 30 popular Singaporean place searches in January 2011, from the data obtained from users of our location-based service app, the one that you love - ShowNearby. =D

These are places/regions/areas that have been searched, in full, in parts and as parts of other words. Only items that have been manually keyed in and searched for are taken into consideration, i.e.
  • Tap search or the "search" icon on your lovely ShowNearby app
  • Key in "Orchard" in the search field
  • Enter the search and voila!

Hottest places in Singapore
All of the places listed are in Singapore. Tampines tops the list, followed by Orchard and Bedok.

Ang Mo Kio
Choa Chu Kang
Toa Payoh
Potong Pasir
(Source: ShowNearby Pte Ltd, January 2011)

"Sentosa" almost made the Top 30 list, but it stands at #31.

"Orchard" was the top place search in December, but got usurped by the eastern town of Tampines. This could be due to the launch of the town's portal last month.

Heartland Hotties
Estates in the heartlands such as Bedok, Jurong, Hougang and Clementi are popular searches possibly because of a combination of two factors:
  • Lack of familiarity with the estates and navigating within them - the user turns to ShowNearby to find his or her way around.
  • Knowing that there are many (or enough) points of interests in the estates - to travel to, to hang out, to eat at places people often talk about, etc.
We notice in the top 20 place searches, only about 5 figure in the central region of Singapore. The factor of familiarity of the region plays a role here - Singaporeans know how to get around in these popular places.

But when it comes to knowing what is in certain buildings or malls in this region, Singaporeans again turn to ShowNearby to show them the relevant points of interest (POIs) in these buildings - hence the popular searches in "restaurant", "fast food", "cafe" and so on. A dose of location-based service magic for everyone.

Travelling in other (non-central) parts of Singapore, the mobile search patterns are different. After all, how often does a typical Jurong dweller end up in Hougang versus hanging around in Orchard Road? Never fear, ShowNearby's here to help both scenarios.

You live in Sembawang and know there is this special hawker stall in Bedok you'd love to patronise. You might not recall its name in entirety, so you use ShowNearby to find your way there...

And we'll be most glad to know we are of service to you!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
We are in the press yet again!

Along with 11 organisations, ShowNearby is featured in AdLib as one of the Top 12 organisations to watch out for this year. We are on page 13 in the article "Top 12 Organizations to Watch Out for in 2011", written by James Chen.

We take this opportunity to thank our dear users, who are to us, number 1. You guys got us to where we are today, and we sincerely and deeply appreciate this. =)

So... Watch out of ShowNearby this year!