Road to WWDC: Why Calgary’s Robots and Pencils values Apple’s developer conference

Robots and Pencils Doull app

Since Calgary-based Robots and Pencils’ inception back in 2009, the studio has released more than 250 apps that have been used by 77 million people worldwide, making the company one of Canada’s most prolific app developers.

According to Dave Anderson, Robot and Pencils’ chief technical officer (CTO), the development studio has worked with a wide range of brands across a variety of industries, resulting in a portfolio that’s significantly more varied when compared to the majority of other development studios.

“Over the past eight years, we’ve been fortunate to work with brands across industries with a focus on a few key areas: financial services, education technology, telecommunication, energy, travel & hospitality and retail,” said Anderson in a recent interview with MobileSyrup

Robots and Pencils screenshot

Anderson says that some of Robots and Pencils’ more recent projects include WestJet’s iOS and watchOS app, which actually skyrocketed to the number two position in the free travel section of the iOS App Store.

The studio has also worked with Doull Site Assessments, a well testing services company that operates out of western Canada, through the creation of a custom iPad app that features built-in, easy to follow workflows. Additionally, Robots and Pencils created Farmers 2050, a free mobile game designed to bring awareness to sustainable farming practices.

The company’s varied portfolio continues with a platform called BoosterBuddy, a mobile app aimed at youth dealing with mental health challenges. Through the app, users are able to check in with their feelings, keep track of appointments and medications, use coping skills and follow various self-care routines.

Unlike many developers that often focus on one particular industry, Robots and Pencils has worked on apps focused on a variety of disciplines, which Anderson cites as a significant part of the company’s success.

“The breadth of our exposure to other industries helps us identify parallels between verticals that would otherwise be overlooked. It’s remarkable to take the lessons learned in building a solution for one industry and see how they can be reapplied and have a measurable impact on an entirely different industry,” said Anderson.

“It’s also really invigorating to learn the intricacies of someone’s business. Our team loves to learn, and the opportunity to ingest the human challenges that are faced every day is inspiring.”

Robots and Pencils Dave Anderson

Robots and Pencils employs over 180 people and now has offices across North America and the U.K. Anderson says that the U.K division of the studio created two popular apps for the U.K.’s largest telecommunications company. One app is focused on offering proximity-based deals and features an impressive 36,000 five star ratings.

“The other app is an updated self-service tool that increased customer satisfaction by 15 percent and grew monthly unique user sessions by 1.2 million,” said Anderson.

In terms of WWDC, Anderson says that Apple’s annual developers conference offers an opportunity to be fully immersed in “learning, inspiration and opportunity.” He also explained that WWDC is the main event where Apple previews what it’s working on to the world. This gives his team the ability to meet face-to-face with Apple engineers in order to provide feedback on operating systems before their final commercial release.

“This is an official chance to have a voice and to provide validation and perspective back to Apple,” said Anderson.

In this ongoing series of features, leading up to Apple’s 2017 World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) MobileSyrup will highlight key Canadian developers headed down to the annual event.