Check out the iPhone App Store on a daily basis and it's likely the most popular apps will have titles such as "Plants vs. Zombies." iPhone apps for small-business people and field professionals are never going to win the app store popularity contest. But, niche business apps are of growing interest to app developers, and user searches for them will be rewarded with some powerful solutions designed specifically for the challenges of different professions.
A case in point is Multi-Educator's Formulator Series, a collection of more than two dozen apps targeted at professionals in the architecture, electrical, waste management, building, engineer, HVAC and real estate segments. The Architecture Pro Formulator, for example, provides iPhone access to more than 400 formulas that architects use daily as well as information from the International Building Code and Americans with Disabilities Act code. Architecture Pro is a $17.99 download, and Multi-Educator's other apps for various building professions range from $3.99 to $17.99.
"They're great for anyone working in the field who has an iPhone or an iPod touch," says Multi-Educator co-founder Marc Schulman. "We look at developing applications that can add value where people are out doing their jobs."
Having started with software for the original Macs back in the 1980s, Schulman is an old hand at developing for Apple devices. So it's no surprise the company will adapt many of its apps to the iPad, too.
In the coming months, Multi-Educator will be looking to provide electricians, architects and other pros with the ability to do price quotes and invoices directly from the iPhone/iPod app, Schulman says. "A lot of people may not realize these devices rival desktop computers with the power they provide," he adds. "We want to help professional people take full advantage of that."
Dan O'Shea is a Chicago-based writer who has been covering telecom, mobile and other high-tech topics for nearly 20 years.