I just received an e-mail from Aloqa CEO Sanjeev Agrawal regarding the release of the product’s API for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.
In our last writeup on Aloqa, one of the features highlighted was the ability for businesses to create a branded “channel” within the Aloqa app. The benefit here is that it’s much cheaper than building your own iPhone app and could even get found easier, given the increasing amount of noise (85,000 apps) in Apple’s App Store.
From the e-mail:
Aloqa’s API provides websites and other content publishers with location-relevant content to get their content to mobile users across all key smartphone platforms at zero cost. Any publisher with geo-spatial content can now create their own “branded channel” on Aloqa instead of having to build their full mobile application – so no cost of designing, building, porting or maintaining an app across multiple platforms and devices.
Example: A publisher with content on great things to do in Napa Valley can simply use Aloqa’s API to create a “Napa Activities” channel simply by making their content available as an RSS feed containing simple geo-tags (e.g. as a KML or GeoRSS feed). Once the channel is created, they can then let their users know how to find their channel on Aloqa.
The level of market reach for participating SMBs will depend on how widely Aloqa is adopted and used. In typical chicken-and-egg fashion, the application’s content will in turn drive this usage, but hinge partly on businesses that create channels.
The challenge for Aloqa could therefore lie in marketing this API to businesses, and convincing them this is something that’s easier and cheaper to do than building an iPhone app. Indeed, many SMBs aren’t really there yet. Aloqa is thinking in these terms though; the API comes with a style guide and set of “how to” guidelines to get started.