We’re in Dubai after all, anything can be customised hereApril 20, 2015 4:03
Mobibus provides multilingual DIY app maker
Pierre Azzam talks about his mobile technology company and the benefits to SMEs
April 17, 2014 2:11 by Maha El Gazzar
Mobile technology company, Mobibus, was founded by Pierre Azzam and Mohammed Johmani – both founders of digital agency Belong Interactive and, respectively, president and CEO at Mobibus – and Hussam Abu Zaalan, the firm’s chief technology officer.
The company offers a multi-lingual DIY mobile app maker, which allows anyone to quickly and cost-effectively create, manage and publish their own professional looking iOS and Android apps on smartphones and tablets without the need for any technical or programming knowledge.
“The very concept of DIY is going to be a game-changer for the region,” says Azzam. “Numerous studies have established the growing smartphone penetration in the Middle East region and our increasing reliance on mobile technology in both our professional and personal lives.”
“The Mobibus DIY app maker is particularly suited to SMEs, entrepreneurs and marketers who have no experience with application programming,” says Jomani.
Prices start with either an annual payment of $125 per month or a quarterly $150 per month, with the option of selecting add-ons to enhance user experience.
Azzam spent 27 years as communications group Impact BBDO’s COO of the Lower Gulf. After quitting his job for a long hiatus he “decided to do something that is future-oriented and game-changing, and that is synonymous with digital.”
So he launched his second career with his own initiative, Belong Interactive, in partnership with entrepreneur Johmani. With the number of independent and multinational digital agencies in the UAE market today, Azzam maintains his stance that Belong Interactive offers something different.
This is undoubtedly a good time for the digital sector in the Mena region, given its growth and evolution. Yet, it may not be the best time for an independent agency to operate in a market that was swept away by the gigantic merger of Publicis and Omnicom.
Azzam, nevertheless, doesn’t see it as a threat to his business, even though he set up the agency before the merger was announced. On the contrary, he believes the merger creates an opportunity for independent agencies, because some clients are shopping for small agencies rather than large-scale ones.
“They are looking for a breath of fresh air and size doesn’t always guarantee quality. In the past, big meant something, it meant the assurance of intellectual capital and management that delivers. It was synonymous with quality,” explains Azzam.
Moreover, even with the high level of maturity of digital in the region, Azzam still sees a lot of challenges and shortages.
“When you look at digital, whether it is digital marketing or digital platform infrastructure, they are means to an end. Digital is just another channel that is added to other existing media of clients. However, when it comes to the online world, engagement is paramount. Smart digital platforms have to be built with that in mind. We are not building a website or a mobile app just so we can have one; business sensitivity and intelligent strategic thinking is always required. The problem is, like with anything in marketing jargon, you pick up a word that everybody gets excited about and start using it, until it loses its value,” he adds.
Azzam maintains that the Mena region is only scratching the surface when it comes to digital and mobile, and if the statistics released by the agencies are even half accurate, then bigger changes are yet to come. “We haven’t yet seen the big story for digital,” concludes Azzam.