The innovation centers of Mexico — especially in the capital, Guadalajara, and Monterrey — are leading the way in innovation. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the thousands of apps being developed across the country.
There are too many to list, but as the local population increasingly lives on its phone, just like their U.S. neighbors to the north, the app infrastructure only continues to grow larger and more robust by the day. Here are but a few of the many “Made in Mexico Apps” that are helping people throughout the country navigate their day just a bit more easily.
Certain areas in Mexico have a high risk of earthquakes and a history of deadly disasters. But one app is helping people across the country stay safer. SkyAlert, created by Alejandro Cantu, who was chosen as one of MIT Technology Review‘s top 10 innovators under 35 years old, is linked to a system of sensors that can detect seismic activity just seconds after the ground starts shaking. It then relays a warning to the app’s 3 million users about the potential for disaster. “This type of system carries great responsibility,” Cantu told AFP. “Every morning I wake up and think I go to work with a commitment to my country and my people.”
In addition to alerts and warnings, the app maintains a database of emergency numbers for local police, fire stations, the Red Cross, and other relevant public authorities that makes it easy to call for help in an emergency. And for those who want to see the action from afar, users can also actually see live camera feeds of literal hot spots — like Volcán Popocatépetl and Volcán de Colima — to monitor volcanic activity.
Buying movie tickets in Mexico has become easy with Cine+, something 500 Startups operations director René Lomelí calls “the Fandango for Mexico.” The company is one of the many in the nation that has gone through the 500 Startup accelerator program, and in addition to selling tickets in roughly 90% of the theaters in Mexico, it also help cinephiles discover new films and find out more about those they already love.
“It’s a great team of developers,” said Lomelî. “If you have the chance to download it, it’s an amazing app and an incredible experience to buy tickets.” Moviegoes can pick their movie, select a time, and even choose the exact seats they want. Then the purchase is taken care of easily and securely through the app, and Cine+ stores the purchased electronic ticket until it’s time to enjoy the show. Really, it does everything short of putting butter on your popcorn.
Wikicleta is a map-based app to help cyclists. Anyone on the go can find the best places to lock up their bicycle, the location of bike shops, potential dangers to avoid on the streets, or local tips to follow. Riders can also chart their trips to see how far they traveled and maintain a profile to share their preferred routes with other users in the community.
That is the aspect that many of the users like the best: interacting with other cyclists to compare and contrast their experience biking around the city. Hardcore riders tend to be a tight-knit community in any big city — where pedaling through the streets and battling motor traffic can be a badge of honor — and Wikicleta this brings all that online.
Whether you go to the grocery store weekly or nearly every day, it takes up a large chunk of time. But Cornershop is giving shoppers back that time by allowing them to order and pay for their food in an app. Best of all, the bags are then delivered to right to their door within 90 minutes. Shoppers simply make their selections by browsing the available items (which can be remembered from previous orders for quick purchasing) then pay with a credit card — or Paypal — and wait for dinner to arrive.
The team that created Cornershop are veterans of the retail space, previously having worked for Groupon, so they know how to make a highly functional, user-friendly app that blends the core, basic functionality with the exact right combination of bells and whistles. “They have something unique with their product,” said Lomelî. It is available for both Apple’s iOS and Android devices.