A Bishkek app

January 28th, 2016 Sections: Bishkek, IT
A useful app!

A useful app!

OK … although I do have a mobile phone, it is one of the older models which is basically a communications device – which can be used for telephone conversations and sending short text messages.  (It does have a built in camera – but it is not particularly good.)

I don’t have a smart phone …

To me, a mobile phone is exactly that … a phone that happens to be portable and can be carried around.  It is probably a sign of my age and the fact that I grew up in an era when there were no such things as mobile telephones … just landlines.  As a result, I tend to see them as a tool for use when you’re ‘on the road’ and/or in an emergency, but at other times other telephones (for example, at home or the office) are to be preferred.

To be honest, I strongly dislike the idea that I am at the ‘beck and call’ of everyone, no matter where I am or what I am doing.  I take the approach that if my mobile phone rings – then it’s probably urgent, and I get really frustrated when it’s just someone calling to pass the ‘time of day’.

As a result, I tend not to give out my mobile phone number … (just to ‘family’ and close friends … and for the hotels etc. to use … if there’s an emergency).  Sometimes, people look askance – as if I have insulted them in some way.

On the other hand … I can see that functionality of the smartphone makes it a valuable asset.

Apart from the built in cameras and music players, (replacing he walkman – remember those – or ipod), not forgetting internet access so you can watch youtube clips, keep in touch via facebook, and so on … and, of course, a variety of games, (such as the addictive 2048 – which I have written about elsewhere).

Some of the apps are more specific.  Several of the banks, for example, have apps which can be downloaded for personal banking … and, as one advertises its service, “Try it and see how comfortable it is!”

The other day, I was introduced to an app which can be downloaded that presents a map of Bishkek and can be used to find places, businesses, in the city … plan routes between points in the city, either walking on foot, in a car or using public transport.  They even have a standalone version for Windows, which can be downloaded … and a site which is updated everyday … and a version that be be embedded in your own website … like this:

Посмотреть на карте Бишкека

It’s the product of a Russian company – hence the interface, information and maps are all in Russian, but it is possible to change the interface language – but they currently work in nine countries around the world – covering almost three hundred different cities, (actually 287).

When I first heard that, I immediately thought that they would be former Soviet republics … but they’s spread their wings a little further, including Dubai, Italy and Chile.  That puts the fact that they have also chosen Kyrgyzstan in a different light and probably reflects the relatively high penetration of mobile phone services into the market.

They started in Novosibersk in mid-1990s, in the first instance simply producing an electronic schematic map, but they very quickly began to explore how to integrate it with a database of information about companies – and to combine the two elements, a map and city information, into a single GIS (Geographical Information Service) product.

They then decided to expand their service to other centers – to move out from Novosibersk, at first to Omsk, then other cities.  Rather than operate as a single company, they created a franchise under the overall umbrella trademark, 2gis.

With their product already proving successful, they decided to start ‘exporting’ it … to other platforms like Android tablets and across the border to create a international brand.  In 2012, it had become one of the Top-25 apps downloaded in Russia, and in 2015 Forbes listed it as one of the Top 25 profitable franchises.

Obviously, they also have plans for further expansion.  Here in Kyrgyzstan, for example, they are moving out of the capital and are working on Kant …

I know that it is not the only such app on the market … but I have to admit that I was impressed … I’m not sure that I was sufficiently impressed to go out and buy a smart phone … but I did download ind install the application on my computer … and I can see that, if I had one, this would be one of the ‘essential’ apps that I would want to have on it.


For the record: I ought to make it clear that I am in no way connected with 2GIS … other than being a ‘client’ in that I have downloaded and (already) started to use the program.


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