With the click of a button on your smartphone, you can take photos and video at a crash, locate the site of the crash through GPS, document information about injuries and contact a lawyer at Kingston-based Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn.
Sue Greenfield, business manager at the law firm, came up with the idea
for the app. With the growing popularity of social media and mobile
apps, she said she thought it was a good idea to have an app for people
who are in car accidents and don't know what to do.
Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is one of a growing number of businesses using mobile apps, which continue to gain popularity.
Recent research from Pew Internet shows as of December, 87 percent of
adults in America have a cellphone and 45 percent have a smartphone. As
of April, 43 percent of adult cellphone owners download apps.
"I think every business is going to have some type of app," said
Kathleen Houlihan, instructor at Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and
Leadership at Wilkes University, who teaches marketing and technology
and a graduate course about social media. "Certainly, that's the way
things are going."
The law firm's app directs people where they can find police, a tow
truck, an auto repair shop and nearby hospitals. Its features include a
camera and a voice recorder for people to use at the scene and a text
notepad to record names, telephone numbers, emails, license plate
numbers and insurance information, and a one-click link to call the law
"The app literally takes you through everything step by step. It gives
you a place to store everything," Ms. Greenfield said. "We specifically
designed it to try to get more clients, and it helps the community."
The app was developed by Elmhurst, Ill.-based AppsLegal, said Dan
Luvender, information technology manager for Hourigan, Kluger &
"We thought it was a good idea because it gives you a safe and secure
feeling when you are in accident that you have somewhere to go," he
said. "The farther away you get, the less you remember the details, so
we just wanted to give you the option to have a direct memory of the
accident and what happened."
When someone wakes up the next day after an accident with an injured
neck or back, Mr. Luvender said the app enables the person to have all
the information available, and a button allows the person to email the
details to the law firm.
A key for businesses using apps is to develop a model about what they
want them to accomplish, Mrs. Houlihan said. Apps can be used as a
service or as a revenue-generator that can drive more business, she
said. Businesses that use social networking sites such as Facebook and
Twitter should figure out a way that using these sites will draw traffic
to their businesses, she said.
"Just because 5 million like the site, that doesn't mean they will buy
your product," she said. "As long as it makes a connection, it's a great
A strategic way for businesses to use social media, she said, is to get
people talking about the information and to create a buzz. She
suggested businesses that use social media offer a discount or encourage
people to download apps by giving away a prize.
"With social media, everybody else is doing it, too, so you should have
a plan how you're going to use it, such as to target customers in new
markets or as a service," Mrs. Houlihan said.