Oli, the Belfast-based technology business, has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to form a unique partnership with The Guardian newspaper group to develop a series of digital destination guides for tourists and other travellers.
The company, based in west Belfast, has received a range of assistance from Invest NI, including Jobs Fund, technical development support and trade advice. The company currently employs 10 people and aims to recruit a further two new staff over the next year.
Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director said: “This is a very exciting partnership between an innovative technology company and an international newspaper group.
“Our support has helped the company develop the destination guides in app format with the Guardian as part of the newspaper group’s strategic focus on digital information services.
“This important partnership endorses Oli’s leading-edge digital expertise and also reinforces the position of Northern Ireland as a developing centre of excellent in mobile communications.
“We were delighted when Oli decided to announce the partnership at World Mobile Congress, an exhibition that we’ve supported over many years because of its role at the heart of digital and mobile technology.”
Oli has developed the first seven destination apps, branded as Snout, for cities such as London, Barcelona, Paris and Rome and is working on a further eight. The Barcelona Snout app was launched on the Invest NI stand at the recent World Mobile Congress in the Spanish city.
The company has grown exports to over 75 per cent of its business over the past 18 months.
James Hanna, an Oli Director said: “Our Snout product is the result of a strategic decision by the company to focus on app technology for the tourism and heritage sector. This is a very dynamic and rapidly developing global industry that offers substantial business opportunities for companies committed to innovative solutions.
“We were aware of the strength of the Guardian’s commitment to digital systems and decided to approach the group with the Snout app concept. The Guardian, of course, is the world’s third biggest digital newspaper. They were impressed by our project and decided to partner with us in developing the first 15 destination apps.
“The Guardian provides the information about the destinations from experts in each centre for us to create the guide in app format. The app uses wi-fi technology to update the information automatically and thereby to ensure that the data is accurate and up-to-date when downloaded by the visitor. The IP on Snout is held by Oli,” he added.
Oli was formed in 2006 to specialise in innovative solutions for mobile data and communications. It has already carried out a series of digital technology projects for tourism and heritage organisations such as Visit Wales and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.