Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Red Foundry launches new app building product: Fusion Studio offers publishers free tools for building their apps

Red Foundry recently announced that they have launched a new product for building and adding to apps: Red Foundry Fusion. Fusion offers publishers and developers commercial and non-commercial building blocks called Elements, that can be incorporated into their apps.

Most importantly, these Elements can be added free-of-charge with the publisher sharing revenue generated from the features – when the reader books a hotel room, or makes a restaurant reservation, for instance.
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Red Foundry continues to offers registered users the ability to build their apps from the ground up, but now the company looks to assist publishers and developers with preexisting apps, or apps created using different solutions.

I spoke with Stan Monlux, Red Foundry's VP of Business Development, who explained that with the first version of Red Foundry's platform the focus was on first time developers.

"One of the ways we made it easy was we introduced these modules, components and templates to make it easier," Monlux said. "People really latched on to that. But it was most attractive to people who were building an app for the first time."

Red Foundry now has over 8,000 developers building over 200 apps a month, Monlux claimed. Now the company wants to target those developers who have already started or launched an app, and need to add more functionality to their offerings.

"Now the publisher can work with Red Foundry, not just when they're building their first app or building a prototype or kind of at the beginning of the app cycle, but at any stage of the app cycle," Monlux said. "You can still build your app complete from the ground up using Red Foundry – we think its a premiere platform for doing just that – but we didn't want to limit ourselves to being only an app building platform. No we're kind of a tool kit, if you will, to make your apps perform better."

Monlux said that the company realized that the modules being created through the process of creating new apps could be shared and exploited by other publishers and developers.

"If we could grab these components and make them available to somebody who has already built an app – maybe they've built it in Objective-C or they've built in in Phone Gap, or another method – we wanted to make Red Foundry a source that they could go to to grab some components that we've created and insert that into their app," Monlux said.
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"The thought was that we could save the developer a ton of money and we could also introduce a lot of really intricate functionality into apps which would have taken them a lot of time if they wanted to code it from the ground up, which would also generate some revenue."

A good example of this approach is Random House's apps for Fodor's which not only include hotel and restaurant reviews, but built-in modules that allow the reader to make reservations. These "Elements", such as ones for OpenTable and TicketsNow, can be added into an app for free using Red Foundry's new solutions.

"The thought was that we could save the developer a ton of money," Monlux said, "and we could also introduce a lot of really intricate functionality into apps which would have taken them a lot of time if they wanted to code it from the ground up, which would also generate some revenue."

Monlux said the advantage of this approach is that the publisher or developer has only one SDK to deal with. This SDK contains a library of elements to work with, but the result is an app that dos not suffer from app bloat, as Monlux describes it. Further, with only one SDK, the developer does not have to work to keep every platform managed and updated, Red Foundry does that for you.

"If you're Fodor's and you say I'm going to put in OpenTable integration, I want to do ticketing, and I want to do hotel reservations, in the past you'd have to go out master all those different interfaces, manage and maintain them over time. It's really laborious and kind of cost prohibitive."

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