My Top 7 apps: Eric Bilange from Xura

I’m back with another Top 7 apps post, this week we talk to Eric Bilange from Xura.

Xura offers a portfolio of digital services solutions that enable global communications across a variety of mobile devices and platforms. The company helps communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises navigate and monetize the digital ecosystem to create innovative, new experiences through cloud-based offerings. Their solutions touch more than three billion people through 350+ service providers and enterprises in 140+ countries.

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Photo©John Cassidy The Headshot Guy® 07768 401009
Photo©John Cassidy The Headshot Guy®
07768 401009

Well, this is certainly a difficult question as I’d say my mobile browser, email, WhatsApp, and other social apps are like my toothbrush moments: I use them no less than twice a day!
But there are apps that impress me and some I like which could potentially define the future of mobile apps. Let’s go…

Google Maps
Sometimes I wonder how I found my way around cities and countries all over the world 15 years ago… Remember the days when you had a map? I mean a paper map?

Google Maps has done it well from many angles: accuracy, speed, coverage; routing is optimised either by car, pedestrian, and public transport, it has it all.

Data is generally up to date when it comes to finding places. I also like the continuity from online to mobile: look up your route on your laptop and there it is on your mobile (start typing your location search on your mobile app and you’ll see that the last location you searched for on your laptop will show up) – neat.

But it doesn’t take “me” into account, or rather my context.

For example, if I search for a mall, and then for a Starbucks, why is it not asking me if I want to locate a Starbucks near me, on the way to the mall, or near the mall?! That’s an easy ‘contextual’ call. Or say I have an appointment at a location in the next hour and I look up a Starbucks. Guess what I’m expecting? Google, can you go the extra mile so I don’t have to?

Google Translate
This is my last one from Google, I promise.

As a world traveller, and a French man, I admit I am not gifted with foreign languages. But with Google Translate, I feel fluent!

Many translation or dictionary apps are available, but the twist I like with Google Translate is its use of AR feature: it catches text from the camera and substitutes it with a translation in the desired target language. Believe me, this is very convenient in countries that use non-Latin alphabets for simple things like street or bus signs.

London Parkr
As a foreigner living in London and sometimes driving a car (I shouldn’t, I know it’s not green), and after collecting several parking tickets (not cheap), this simple app can immediately check for parking restrictions. It has saved me a lot of money as parking in London can be confusing.

Now I’m talking about apps that will probably change our future.

Location has been a core feature of mobility but has never really been well “used” (other than by some dating apps, although I don’t have experience of them!)

Retailmenot does a good job – and has done for a while – using your location in a relevant way as opposed to in a systematic blind way. And on top of that, it helps you find great deals. What else do you want?

A while back, on Symbian devices, an app called Happy Wake Up analysed your sleep cycles and would wake you up at the most optimal time (i.e. by not interrupting a deep sleep phase and waking you up before your enter this phase instead).

SleepBot does this nowadays on both Android and iOS. It’s very useful to understand your sleep cycles – maybe I pay too much attention to stress but sleeping well is key to a happy life!

Bradesco Mobile Banking App
I wish, I WISH my bank would do what Bradesco does!

How many times have you called your bank and spent literally hours (well, maybe 30 to 45 minutes) on the phone waiting with a looping laconic message “your call is important to us, please wait until the next available agent…”?

Bradesco had the great idea to enable a video chat within its mobile app: one click and you’re connected to an agent at (preferably) your branch; a qualified person who can resolve your problems.

Wait time is shortened (there are more agents in branches than in call centres) and quality of service is much higher as agents can resolve your problems more effectively than call centre personnel.
Way to go!

I like big ideas and risk takers. This little app wants to disrupt search engines by injecting contextual information found from various sources about towns and cities.

It pulls content from social networks and review sources to recommend activities in a specific location.

It’s not the best user experience, but definitely delivers good finds in the cities that it covers.

Again, to go the extra mile, it could sense who you are and your context and so, for example, could help you find a park for jogging rather than a park with playgrounds…

This may sound subtle, but it’s definitely useful to sort out blunt search results from all search engines.

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Thanks to Eric for his apps list. There’s a lot here that I didn’t know of which is good. I do already use sleepbot and agree that sleep makes the stress levels stay low!

You can find out ore about Xura on their website and their twitter page.

If you’d like to contribute your Top 7 Apps or if you are the PR representing someone you’d like to see featured, everything you need to know about participating is right here.

By Sarah

Sarah manages the Top 7 Apps submission series on Mobile Industry Review.

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