Over 900 people attended the fifth edition of BDigital Apps, which this year featured prominent speakers from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and the Lebanese start-up Instabeat. Specialised in apps and mobility trends, the congress was organised by the Eurecat technology centre of Catalonia and CosmoCaixa of Barcelona.

Marcos Ordenes, a mobile apps specialist and member of Google Spain’s Online Partnerships Group discussed the main global trends in the mobile application sector, based on data from the second quarter of 2014 from Google Play.

The United States, Brazil and Russia are the countries with the most downloads, followed by South Korea and India. The top five countries in terms of turnover are Japan, the United States, South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom. Ordenes explained that games account for 40% of the downloads at Google Play, but generate 90% of the revenue. Likewise, the number of apps published at Google Play grew almost 60% between July 2013 and June 2014 and the store reported a 236% jump in downloads of apps for Android tablets.

Ordenes explained that mobiles are opening new market niches and identified gaming for senior citizens as a growing segment.

Self-analysis based on data coming from apps and wearables: a future trend

Knowledge of one’s own body, based on data provided by wearable devices and apps, was the focus of several talks on the second day of the congress.

The quantified self, as it is called, refers to a trend that we will see in the years to come, according to Hind Hobeika. This Lebanese entrepreneur said that by using wearable devices, we will be able to find out such things as our weight, our calorie consumption, how many steps we take and what our sleep patterns are like, but she also stressed the need to correlate the data to help us to understand ourselves better and make better decisions.

The founder of the start-up Instabeat, Hobeika showed the attendees the wearable device that she invented herself to keep track of the vital signs of swimmers and improve their training. This device, which started selling earlier this year, arose from Hobeika’s own need to know her own body better to perform better as a professional swimmer. Instabeat counts the pulse through an optical sensor that records it through the temporal artery and also incorporates accelerometers that enable users to keep track of each pool used and their breathing rate.

New mobility apps and trends in the sports sector

Based on the experiences of PlayfulBet, RiderState, Runtastic, Skitude, Viuing and Health & Sportlab, the Sport R-evolution session revealed new applications that may change how sports are practiced and enjoyed.

Susana López explained why Runtastic is the most downloaded app in its category. Using GPS technology, it records data related to time, distance, speed, change in elevation, calories and more for sporting and fitness activities like running and jogging. At the same time, it helps users to form habits for a healthy and fit lifestyle and to achieve their goals.

The fact that jogging is in fashion was also highlighted by Lluís Capdevila. The CEO of Health & SportLab said that over 300 million euros worth of sporting equipment are sold in Spain each year and so far in 2015, more than 300,000 people have jogged in public streets. Capdevila stressed each runner’s need to know their health status and to remain aware of the risk involved in marathons. For that reason, to help people to learn more about themselves, Health & SportLab created FitLab, a free app for smartphones and tablets that provides users with very useful information about their health status in order to deal with performance situations. Fitlab is based on scientific evidence to run tests at rest, quickly and non-invasively, indicating potential performance based on cardiac variability and recovery behaviours.

Meanwhile, Marc García discussed Viuing, a cheap, portable and customisable single-use device that allows audiences at large events to experience their favourite show in an exciting new way in real time. It is based on television technology and attendees can take it home as a souvenir once the event is over.

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