The future of product selection

Gordon Routledge tests the first app from Voltimum, the electrical products portal, and discovers 20,000 lighting products in one place.

Hot off the iPad this month is a rather useful app from Voltimum, the electrical industry’s leading portal targeted at specifiers, electrical engineers and contractors. If you’re at the nuts and bolts end of the lighting and electrical industry then this is an app for you.

The app is broken down in to four sections: news, catalogues, videos and partners. News is packed with a raft of electrical industry news, subdivided into manufacturer and industry.

The partners section provides information on all the manufacturers who are members of the Voltimum network and includes Thorn, Philips, Osram and Cooper – so don’t expect to see content from hundreds of lighting manufacturers. But Voltimum says its site contains a whopping 20,000 lighting products.

Perhaps the most useful section is the catalogues bit. This allows you to download electronic versions of manufacturers’ trade catalogues and easily and intuitively navigate through the pages – much easier than PDFs on a regular computer.

The videos section contains short, YouTube-style clips of the latest kit from Voltimum members, showing key product features or how to install. Check out the Osram Final Trade Nero video, and see why a video is worth a thousand brochures.

The fact that you can access so much information in one place with ease of navigation is perhaps this app’s biggest strength. The days of having a dusty, groaning shelf in the office packed with manufacturers’ catalogues gathered from a trade show, but rarely used, could be behind us. Perhaps I wouldn’t admit it down the pub, but I did enjoy flicking through the content and learned about quite a bit of new kit already on the market – stuff I would never have found on a traditional website.

The app is being launched simultaneously in eight countries, having undergone a trial and pilot phase in Germany and Sweden.

On a wider note, this app shows a road map of how communication is changing with the move away from traditional PC platforms. So even if you’re not at the nuts and bolts end, take a look.

Voltimum SA
Platforms: iPhone 4, iPad

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