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SourceCode Dev: How Poynt powers Local Search

By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

Location-based app stalwarts Poynt have created an impressive series of applications for leading tablets and smartphones that enable quick access to reviews, directions and listings.

In their own words,"Poynt helps transform the mobile device from an everyday communication tool to a powerful entertainment and utility tool." We talked with the Calgary, Alberta-based company's VP of Technology and location-based services veteran Brad Murray and Margaret Glover-Campbell, VP Marketing & Public Relations, to get a better fix on their approach to the mobile market.

Margaret Glover-Campbell, VP Marketing and PR of PoyntPoynt is ad supported and available on six platforms, namely Nokia, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, BlackBerry and BlackBerry PlayBook QNX which makes it one of the rare cross platform applications that needs to be reworked for each system and their correspondng devices and that's for current and upcoming versions of the operating system.

"We are active in eight countries and available in five languages,"explains Glover-Cambell.

At the time we interview, she explained that there were an overall "8.5 million total Poynt users with 2.5 million active users every month, each of who perform an average of 32 searches."

Glover-Cambell explains,"the first challenge was to make it the best experience as possible for people to look for something."

"Another challenge we have is getting excellent content partners in each geography," she explains. "We have to be careful before we move into a different country that we have these partnerships in place."

Considering that Poynt is more than just a location-based search service but a somewhat enhanced and realtime virtual phone and business directory, you can imagine the millions of interest points they have and all the necessary location and business data that needs to be made accessible and more importantly, kept fresh and up-to-date.

"An early challenge was market readiness as well," says Murray. "Location-based technology has been around for some time. Now every smartphone has GPS, the market is ready."

Brad Murray is Poynt's VP of TechnologyBeing an advertising supported app and service, we asked how successful this approach has been for Poynt.

"Because we know what users are searching for, we known when they are searching for it and we know where they are, we can serve up ads that are very targeted and specific to what users are looking for," Glover-Cambell explains.

The beauty of this system is that since it is a realtime and location-based search, users get only the localized and relevant information they need at the time and place that they need it.

A lot of the quality of the experience depends on the speed of the data infrastructure or wireless service in that specific location.

When asked what additional features Poynt is likely to add into their mix, Glover-Campbell said "there are definitively added experiences that we'd like to give the users through additional functionality within the app and our team is looking at that."

Having so many platforms to run on also poses some challenges. Murray explained how the Poynt team approaches the variety of mobile operating systems out there right now.

"Our mobie teams are based on shared technology. We generally have a breakdown of teams within BlackBerry and Android generally have a shared Java platform. PlayBook is done with Adobe Flash and Flex. iOS is done with Objective C and Windows Phone is a C# based platform so we break a team up with that."

For the BlackBerry PlayBook, Poynt put together a team for the device "Our relationship with RIM has been good and they have given us the tools to develop ahead of the game."

Understanding how to maximize the tools that technology offers and leverage their application on a number of platforms is Poynt's strong suit and serves as a model for developers seeking to cover the major mobile platforms.

"We're a Canadian company that is receiving Internationally recognized awards for what we are doing," Glover-Campbell tells us while inviting users to download the app and check out its powerful features in their favourite mobile platform.

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    SourceCode Dev: How Poynt powers Local Search - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective

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