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Traffic Tieup? There’s an App for That

RELATED: Navigating New Workflows

As apps transform the way consumers access media, they are also having a growing impact on TV station operations, particularly in the traffic and billing arena.

Last year, Pilat Media became one of the first vendors of traffic and billing solutions to launch apps enabling clients to access parts of its IMBS traffic and billing platform on smartphones and tablets. “It allows management to monitor things on a tablet or smartphone when they are out of the office and can be used as a sales tool in the field,” says John Larrabee, VP of the Americas, Pilat Media.

Others stress the role of apps for the future of their businesses. “There is a generation of users who rely on apps. As they take over the workplace, they won’t just expect apps at work—they’ll demand them,” says Crist Myers, president/ CEO of Myers Information Systems.

To capitalize on that interest, Harris Corp. this month demonstrated apps for its traffic and automation systems at its user conference; the company is planning to promote them at NAB 2012.

“It gives a middle manager the ability to do a sign-off on a mobile device,” says Bill Cleveland, senior business analyst for the broadcast communications division of Harris. “That was the key thing our clients wanted. But in phase two, we will defi nitely be looking at sales tools.”

WideOrbit is expected to launch an app in the second quarter. Company founder and CEO Eric Mathewson cautions that developing apps for small screens is not easy.

One major problem is that traffic and billing systems are typically designed to display a great deal of information on one or more large computer screens, making it difficult to apply the same user interface to a small screen, Mathewson says.

To make sure it has worked through those issues, Myers is not planning to launch apps until the second half of 2012. “We could do something very quickly with limited functionality, but we want to create something that would have a seamless integration with our solution,” Myers says.