More companies and universities roll out apps

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires


Forget about phoning home. Mobile phone users are too busy tapping into an ever-growing storehouse of business intelligence on their smart phones.  MicroStrategy’s MobileiPhone app, which debuted in July, was recently featured on Apple’s “What’s Hot list on the iTunes App store. 

The McLean-based firm stood out because of the application’s ability to extend business intelligence reports to the iPhone and iPad. For instance, a restaurant trends app allows users to interact with data from millions of restaurant guest checks to see consumer purchasing patterns and beverage consumption purchases.

“We believe mobile business intelligence is poised to extend the business intelligence market as more people experience the many benefits of using mobile devices to access their business information from any location,” MicroStrategy CEO Sanju Bansal said in a statement.

Companies large and small, and even public ivies such as the University of Virginia, are launching apps as a way to build their brand and offer information. The Comfort Brothers, a personal chef business in Richmond, launched Yummy! App: Cooking with the Comfort Brothers last month. It contains more than 50 of chef Jim Starnes and Bill Hamby’s most popular recipes, broken up into categories for appetizers, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Yummy App costs $2.99

While word of mouth has helped build the business, Starnes said, “…we decided to dive into social media to build a bigger audience and start a conversation with people who like our style and fine food. It’s worked really well for us.”

UVa’s application, unveiled over the Labor Day weekend, is free and can be run on iPhones, iPads or Ipod touches. 

It has 22 sub-apps that allow users to get updated Cavalier football scores in real time. Plus they can check the university’s course catalog, search the faculty and student directory and listen to “The Good Old Song” and other fight songs and cheers.  UVa.’s Good Old App ranked as the No. 1 new and noteworthy app in the education section of the iTunes store.

The Charlottesville-based company behind U.Va’s application is WillowTree Apps. It has developed and launched apps for many corporations and universities, including The Game Show Network, Crutchfield Electronics and

Virginia Commonwealth University rolled out its application in August, joining other schools such as Duke and Stanford universities. One UVa official notes that apps are a good way to stay connected with young alumni, helping a school’s fundraising efforts.


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