Bloomberg’s Small Business Commissioner Robert Walsh Advising App Company
NEW YORK—The Bloomberg administration’s commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services has become a senior advisor to an application (app) development company.
Robert Walsh, who served all three terms under Mayor Michael Bloomberg—from January 2002 to January 2014—is helping Manhattan-based theCOMMSapp market its customized apps to government and higher education sectors. He joined the company’s staff at the end of July.
The app company has produced a family of customizable communications apps, which include theIRapp (for public companies), theEMPLOYEEapp (a secure employee communications portal), theCOMMSapp (for external communications), and theFUNDSapp (for mutual, hedge, private equity, and asset management funds).
The apps allow companies to share photos, videos, sound files, presentations, and stream live web broadcasts for an intended audience.
Emergency messages—through push notifications—can be created to appear instantaneously at the home screen of recipients’ smart phones. For example, property owners or building managers can use the app to send a warning about a water main break. Or, it could be used to send an emergency alert that “the FDR is closed because the President is visiting,” Walsh said.
“In some cases you don’t want to get bombarded by messages … If there is something day to day it can be tailored,” Walsh said.
The app’s intended audience can be divided into different categories, he said. So those who need the information immediately via emergency messages can get it on their phone’s home screen, and those who likely don’t want a lot of messages can check the app at various intervals.
“It gives a lot of flexibility without a lot of barriers,” Walsh said.
Founder and CEO of theCOMMSapp Jeff Corbin said in a release that with Walsh as an advisor they will be able to better understand the challenges that public sector groups and educational institutions face.
Walsh joined the staff of the City University of New York’s Baruch College School of Public Affairs in spring this year. He is faculty director of the executive masters in the public administration program.
Before working for the Bloomberg administration, Walsh was president of the North Carolina Charlotte Center City Partners for five years, where he was responsible for restructuring the economic development organization. From 1989 to1997, he led the Union Square Partnership business improvement district.
Company theCOMMSapp was formed in June 2012, and now has six full time employees. The first app the company released was theIRapp.
It takes roughly two weeks for an app to be branded and available for deployment. The intended audience can then get the company’s customized app through Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
Depending on the product, the price varies. For theIRapp (for public companies), the price is about $4,200 per year. For the services of theEMPLOYEEapp it starts at around $7,500 a year for smaller companies. The price increases with the number of employees or other constituents.
Companies including Colgate-Palmolive, Campbell’s Soup, Duke Energy, and Teva Pharmaceuticals are subscribers to theCOMMSapp platform.
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