Portland chamber members going mobile

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PORTLAND — The Portland Regional Chamber has gone mobile.

Last week, the chamber announced a new smartphone application that will make it easier for shoppers to find local shops and bargains. 

Spokeswoman Laura LeBrun said the app will eventually be available for download on iTunes, the Andriod Market and Nokia’s Ovi store. 

“It’s been submitted, but it takes an indefinite amount of time for iTunes or the Andriod Market to go through, approve it and put it up,” LeBrun said. “We’re not sure of an exact date, but we’re hoping soon.”

Until then, the chamber’s mobile website is available by going to PortlandRegion.com on a mobile phone Internet browser.

The site allows users to search a variety of categories, including “Where to eat,” “Where to stay,” “Things to do,” and “Find a business.”

The site also features a “What’s near me section,” which uses the phone’s Global Positioning System to congregate a list of businesses within a 15-mile radius. LeBurn said the chamber is working to narrow that radius, too.

Each member business is able to create its own mobile page, containing company information, directions, corporate logos, links, videos and other social media widgets.

LeBrun said members were informed of the new app last week. She estimated that about 25 percent are in the process of setting up accounts.

The mobile site was built by Portland-based Mowbi, which has been in business on Exchange Street for nearly two years.

Mowbi Chief Executive Officer Bill Broadbent said the company has developed mobile apps for the Freeport Merchant’s Association, WPXT-TV and The Beaden Path.

It is currently working on app for Portland Magazine and has created products for international companies, Broadbent said.

While the Freeport Merchants Association’s app is geared towards tourists, Broadbent said the Portland chamber’s app functions more like the Yellow Pages.

“Mobile directories are one of the things that make a lot of sense,” Broadbent said. “When you need something, it’s right on your phone.”

The chamber’s application will be the first to use an advanced coupon system, Broadbent said, which will allow companies to manage their own promotions.

“It’s come from the fact that our regular coupon module has been used like mad,” he said. “They’ve been very, very successful, so we’ve decided to go a little bit deeper.”

LeBrun said the app will allow member business to increase their visibility to tourists and residents alike.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net

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