The Internet of Things and Localization at the Mobile World Congress

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13 March, 2014

Apart from the keynote from Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and its last acquisition, Whatsapp, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona had many things to talk about. In our opinion, those that are more interesting for us are the Internet of Things and the discussion about the success of localized apps that took place in the congress official TV channel.

What is exactly the Internet of Things?

To put it simple, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the use of sensors in physical objects that makes it possible to gather enormous quantity of data (the famous big data) that is later analysed to help us create more efficient procedures, keep track and improve of our health condition or adapt our sales to customers’ buying preferences, for example.

Among its applications, the IoT is used in waste management, urban planning, environmental sensing, social interaction gadgets, sustainable urban environment, continuous care, emergency response, intelligent shopping, smart product management, smart meters, home automation and smart events.

In our meetings with companies from Denmark, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and Spain, we have seen some examples of these applications. As an example, we had a meeting with a company developing a sensor that detects the amount of UV-radiation your body can admit, in order to avoid over-exposure. Not only is this great for people going to the beach, but also for people working usually outdoors, like builders, or sport professionals (and amateurs). Avoiding over-exposure prevents sunburns, skin aging and definitely helps to reduce the risk of suffering from skin cancer.

What is the use of localization in the IoT? Definitely, it is important to provide these apps with the local languages and uses. For example, the types, duration and time of the year of outdoor activities and jobs are not the same in Spain as they are in Finland, so the app will have to be adapted to such a use, and it is there where localization can help to provide a product in the target language and culture that is useful for that audience.

Related to this, it was great to see that localization was also tackled in the interviews and panels at Mobile World Live TV.  I had the occasion to be at home at the time MWLTV was broadcasting the panel with guests from Distimo, Flurry and Opera talking about the secret of success of local apps.

As proven by global brands, although the use of localized apps depends on the country, it is clear that English is not enough. In Asia, 50% of most successful apps are locally successful. As panelists mentioned, companies have to think global but act locally. Having a local developer team, a local website and a local support team will enable them to reach more markets and, therefore, have a global presence.

As an example, Opera browser is localized in 64 languages, so is the Opera app store. Apart from finding the apps in their local language, users will be able to find the apps that are more interesting for them according to their culture and habits, and also payment methods are adapted to each country methods, so users can pay in their local currency.

In order for an app to be successful in a local market, it is very advisable that titles, descriptions, icons and content in the app store is as local as possible. This way, the app will be taken more seriously by users, it will have a higher rank in the store and therefore it will be more promoted.

At Jensen Localization we work with companies having local teams that do not have neither the time nor the tools to localize their software and product documentation. For this reason, they trust us as their language team and they act as our in-country client review team, confirming our translations or asking us to adapt them to their marketing or other needs. Feel free to contact us for further information.

If you want to see pictures of our visit to the Mobile World Congress, visit our Facebook album.

Apps, Events, Jensen Localization, Localization

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