AppLanta?: Mobile Industry a Promising Boon to Metro Area

Apps — those cheap or free smartphone tools that give you coupons, let you play games, and can help run your life — are everywhere, and their proliferation is fueling a mobile technology industry that business leaders say can be a major local job generator.

Contrary to a popular perception, the industry is made up of more than lone-wolf computer whizzes cranking out novelty apps in their basements. Big and getting-bigger companies in metro Atlanta are jumping on the mobile train.

A prime example is AirWatch, an Atlanta-based mobile software firm that anticipates adding 700 jobs this year, according to company Chairman Alan Dabbiere. The company is holding a news conference Friday with Gov. Nathan Deal. Economic development is expected to be discussed.

A 2012 study ranked Georgia fifth in the nation in mobile app industry employment, with 24,000 jobs, and pegged the industry’s economic impact at just over $1 billion — seventh-best. Many of those workers are at larger companies whose primary business is not the creation of apps, but many small firms are generating jobs in the field.

“Atlanta and Georgia are uniquely positioned because we already have strengths in key areas where mobility is a big part of the change that is going on,” said Blake Patton, head of the Advanced Technology Development Center, a start-up company accelerator. “There’s an enormous opportunity for Georgia to be a leader in this space.”

“There are currently more significant industries in Georgia, but it’s in the very early stages, so it should expand rapidly,” said Tino Mantella, president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia.

Read more: AJC

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