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Friday, October 12, 2012 - 9:52am

Ga. 'App Economy' Has $1B Impact

Updated: 2 years ago.
According to a new study commissioned by the wireless industry’s trade group, Georgia is home to 24,000 jobs related to the “app economy” -- the people who actually create or maintain smartphone apps plus other people who work at those companies and other jobs supported by the existence of those companies. (Photo by Joshua Stewart.)

Jobs related to mobile-application development are adding more than a billion dollars a year to Georgia’s economy, according to a new report, putting the state among the top 10 in the nation.

The study comes from CTIA, the wireless industry’s trade group. It measures so-called “app economy” jobs – the people who actually create or maintain smartphone apps plus other people who work at those companies and other jobs supported by the existence of those companies.

Some in the mobile-technology business think it could be even more than $1 billion.

“These numbers may under represent that impact because this is direct application development and things like that,” said Alan Dabbiere, chairman of Airwatch, a Sandy Springs-based company that helps organizations manage mobile devices and their security.

“When you think about [it], every worker is really being impacted. And even beyond workers: every school child, every hospital organization, every job function is being changed by mobile,” he said.

Dabbiere said his company has grown from 150 employees to about 800 in the last year and a half.

Those jobs are some of the 24,000 “app economy” jobs in Georgia, according to the study -- a higher proportion of the state’s jobs than the national average.

Being near the top early in the industry’s growth bodes well for Georgia’s future, said John Walls, CTIA’s vice president of public affairs.

“The fact that this is a nascent job market – this is just beginning to grow – and that you’ve found yourselves in the top 10 of this national ranking really speaks highly of the future in terms of application development and the impact the app economy can have right there in Georgia,” Walls said.

Walls praised the state’s business climate and said good universities like the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and Emory set the stage for innovation with an educated workforce.