ZeroWire Labs

Quick Facts

  • Leverages BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™) capabilities to engage users and drive app downloads
  • Cites local support from BlackBerry Development team in the Middle East as a key differentiator
  • BlackBerry® smartphone super apps allow for seamless integration with native features

BlackBerry Developer Success Story - ZeroWire Labs

When United Arab Emirate (UAE)-based company ZeroWire Labs FZ LLC. (ZeroWire) began operations three years ago, co-CEO's Mahmoud Hashem and Mohamed Ali ventured that application development in the Middle East would prove to be lucrative. With a mobile adoption rate that continues to grow year after year in the region, the company is focused on providing localized app content to consumers, governments and businesses in the region. Due to the popularity of the BlackBerry platform in many Middle Eastern countries, it was a natural choice for ZeroWire to begin developing for that user-base first.

Hashem spoke to us about the presence of BlackBerry products in the Middle East, the importance of taking a local approach to app development and why he thinks it's so important to integrate ZeroWire's apps with the native features of BlackBerry smartphones.

View details in BlackBerry World

Q: Why have you focused on BlackBerry development in the Middle East?

Mahmoud: We realized very quickly that the best opportunity for growth was in the Middle East. The region was a huge and largely untapped market where the mobile penetration rate is extremely high. Take Dubai for example, it seems like everyone carries at least two devices!

As for BlackBerry smartphones, the brand is very strong across the Middle East and that made our decision easy on what to focus our efforts on. BlackBerry users here are keen and passionate and there are many organizations looking for expertise on the platform to engage their clients. We've also been working with the development team at Research In Motion® (RIM®) to help develop our content.

Q: How important has that support from RIM been?

Mahmoud: The support we've received has been integral to our success. The RIM development team has helped us with testing our applications and has provided us with training sessions as well. Something that in our opinion simply isn't available with other platforms.

Another advantage is there is a local presence in the region so having someone that we can meet with regularly helps us put our plan together for prospective clients, which has given us a lot of credibility. Recently we met with one of the highest ranking government organizations in Dubai and a representative from the RIM development team attended the meeting with us. This gave the officials comfort in seeing that the actual vendor was involved in the project.

Lastly, we've been able to work with the RIM marketing team on the release of our applications. This has given us some much-needed PR exposure. While some other platforms are focused on big organizations and global alliances, RIM continues to focus on the local development companies in the region, such as ZeroWire, which is a huge asset.

Q: How easy is it for you to integrate your apps with the native features of BlackBerry smartphones?

Mahmoud: In our opinion, unlike other platforms it's very easy to integrate fully with the various features, whether it's BBM, the calendar, or your inbox. In February we released an app called Sports Vibe, which truly leverages the BlackBerry's social features. We knew consumers enjoyed sharing and debating sports-related news and we wanted to replicate that experience.

By integrating BBM and BlackBerry Push Notification APIs into the app, it's able to automatically update the users' home screens and BBM status with information about their favorite football team(s). We also used the BBM 6 SDK to build a chat capability that allows the BlackBerry smartphone user to invite their contact list to join in a discussion or debate, depending on how the game is going of course.

Q: Can you tell us more as to why you think BBM is so popular in the Middle East?

Mahmoud: BBM is a fantastic mobile Instant Messaging application. Most people in the Middle East are big on communication and social interaction and I think that BBM has been a key factor in driving the big adoption rate in the region. People are very passionate about it. While other chat or email software might receive a delayed response, BBM messages get an immediate response. It's a great way for people outside of the Middle East to stay engaged and connect with family and friends who have BlackBerry smartphones, so being able to build applications on top of the BBM platform is very unique and very important compared to any other platform.


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