Frankfurt on the Main, 6th July 2012 - Around a million mobile applications, 'Apps' for short, exist worldwide for a variety of Smartphone operating systems according to BITOM calculations, and the trend is growing. Leading German manufacturers of the initiative, Blue Responsibility have recognised the potential: with their Apps they promote awareness for sustainable sanitation solutions with interesting additional information and suitable tools that simplify the assembly and selection of equipment.
Apps are software programs that have been developed especially for Smartphones and Tablet-PCs and make mobile use of the Internet easier. In 2011, 962 million Apps were downloaded onto mobile phones in Germany alone, according to a report from the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, or BITKOM for short. This equates to a growth of 249 percent compared with the previous year.
The possibilities of the small software programs are endless and can be used by both architects and planners and specialised tradesmen and end customers in the sanitary ware sector. Dornbracht, for example, has prepared the key content of its website clearly on an App. "Apps concentrate information and services down to what is important and make it accessible at any time and from anywhere. They are therefore ideal for creating awareness among users for issues such as sustainability," Robert Müller, with responsibility for online marketing at Dornbracht, confirms.
Geberit presents its customer magazine with its App for Tablet-PCs and makes this a multi-media experience through films, interactive cards and background audio. "We have offered the possibility of making information even more graphic for our customers. Our users are more actively involved in the App's operation and consciously take note of content," Thomas Brückle, Head of Marketing at Geberit, writes. Geberit's sales staff also use Apps to train wholesalers and installers on new products. The Apps demonstrate key product benefits of the innovations briefly and succinctly and the added value that they provide for the end customer. A shopping basket function is able to e-mail suitable documents directly to the customer.
The bathroom supplier burgbad opted for a particular way of reaching its end customers with its b in touch mirror-App. Anyone who has the right mirror with integrated TV will be able to project information onto the bathroom mirror at the touch of button. The App bundles useful information at the start in one day – from messages, to traffic information and the weather right through to new e-mails. The App may also be used without a mirror on the mobile phone display or iPad.
Assembly instructions and spare parts at the touch of a button
The innovative offers of Germany's sanitary ware sector demonstrate that Apps provide genuine added value. Manufacturers, such as Kludi and burgbad, for example, do not simply offer their entire product portfolio as an App, but also make the work of the specialised tradesman, planner or architect easier with installation instructions, dimensional drawings and data sheets. You will be able to find your way to the next bathroom exhibition using burgbad App's GPS function. In future, SYR will provide its products with QR codes that can be read using an App. As well as technical information, any spare parts associated with the model can be ordered using the application.
The new App from Neoperl supports specialists and end customers when selecting flow rate regulators that are able to reduce water consumption in fittings by up to 50 percent. It is not always easy to pick out the right flow rate regulator, as there are a variety of different models and flow categories. The "Send Me Picture" App makes it possible to send model, size and flow rate with very little effort. Using the App the user only has to photograph the flow rate regulator model available and send it to Neoperl. Specialists will then determine the required information and the sender with model details, as required, by e-mail, phone or SMS. Professionals and end customers are therefore able to select a suitable spare part in just a few steps.
Soft water in everyday life – Apps for softening water
Many German households would like to have soft water to ease the strain on equipment, domestic installations and the household budget alike. Some sanitary ware manufacturers offer applications alongside water softening systems that make the selection of suitable equipment easier with calculation programs or calculate the costs in advance. The Grünbeck App's KALkulator function, for example, enables the operating costs to be calculated based on the water softening system. To do this, the user enters the raw water hardness, the required diluted hardness as well as the energy costs and is given a detailed table of costs, together with useful information on nominal flow rate, salt consumption, time and waste water quantity for each regeneration. The Honeywell App, on the other hand, enables expert planners to select a suitable water softening device by using the current raw water hardness, water consumption and the required regeneration interval. Once the parameters are entered, the App suggests the right water softening system and displays the likely salt and water consumption.
Modern technologies make addressing target groups easier
Apps have already developed to become an important element in the marketing mix, Thomas Brückle from Geberit feels – both for mobile support on site to advising the customer. And yet leading German manufacturers agree: Apps will not replace printed media in the foreseeable future, but their use will complement such media. Nevertheless, they are able to simplify processes and reduce paper volumes, therefore contributing to environmental protection. Wolfgang Burchard, the spokesman for the Initiative Blue Responsibility, advocates the use of modern applications: "Apps offer the opportunity to approach the required target group quickly and simply. The mixture of useful functions and additional information means that messages can be brought to the required target group virtually without any scattering losses. No company can afford to ignore such a trend."