Innovation That Matters

Mobile apps hit the slopes

Work & Lifestyle

Skiers: active, athletic and often tech savvy, are ideal early adaptor candidates for mobile applications, especially when those applications make their sport more enjoyable and safer. Case in point? Skimondo, a downloadable application for Nokia GPS-enabled phones. Like the Nike + Ipod kit that records a runner’s performance and provides audio feedback, the beta launch of Skimondo gives everyday skiers the kind of digital feedback once reserved for Olympic hopefuls. Using the free Skimondo download, skiers can easily determine their route and performance. Plus, by displaying both ski trail maps and more precise maps of mountainous terrain, Skimondo shows where each member of a ski party can be found at any given moment, whether they’re on the slopes or careening off piste through a pine grove. In fact, when coupled with a user’s mobile phones talk and SMS functions, Skimondo helps skiers quickly find out if someone in their group gets in trouble. All that functionality requires some time to implement. And unfortunately, Skimondo currently works at just two Swiss resorts, Verbier and the 4 Vallées. Plans call for additional Swiss ski resorts to be added along with other European and presumably worldwide destination. For Skimondo’s founders, the biggest reward for their painstaking work will likely come in the form of a sizeable well-defined user base that will come to rely on the widget for other revenue-generating purposes—everything from making dinner reservations at the end of the day to clicking on a gear manufacturer’s coupon. And while Skimondo will compete with another promising ski tracking device called Satski, mobile applications (or widgets) hold great promise for entrepreneurs wanting to reach fans of other sports. Before long, we’ll no doubt see widgets for hunters, cyclists and kayakers. Mobile applications that target particular (sports) groups have several advantages: finding users is as easy as finding the special-interest websites they visit and the offline locations they frequent. Also, potential customers are generally willing to pay for products that will enhance their performance or experience. Something to work on if you’re in telecom or leisure! (Related: Ski lift tickets at a discount.) Spotted by: Peter Shaw



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