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The Future in Mobile Applications (Part I)

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on August 9, 2010

This post talks about shifting the focus on innovation for apps and services to customer centric models amidst larger value creation templates with more stakeholders. It also shows the roadmap and indicators for value creation.

Connectivity and Mobility have become commonplace and commodities globally. The Voice ARPUs have seen deadweight drops amidst serious hyper competition. In that context data is being referred to as the King as Data ARPUs start taking off in India. The Data surge is powered by increasingly large number of users who are beginning to use their mobile phones as more than just voice and SMS device. They are accessing the internet, applications and more services through their mobiles.

Making the Moolah from Mobile Applications will involve changing the business models, shifting the perspective and defining value in a broader context for the mobile communication provider.

1. From device and network centricity to user centricity
The change driver in this domain is Internet’s personalization level for the user. The Internet led approach puts the user first and then allows the user to choose their own devices and the mode of interaction. Thus the game has shifted from customer empowerment to customer led personalization, whereby users can determine the level and context of their experience.

2. Re-arranging definitions of the marketplace and ecosystem: Innovate in partnership
Earlier the definition of a market used to be the service provider, the operator and the consumer. However, Mobile Apps and Telecom operators now need to create value by expanding the boundaries of their market to a much broader view of application driven commerce, content, delivery for the digital consumer. This may also include taking into account other influencers and stakeholders in the value chain for the consumer. Value thus would be created at all levels: Developer, Consumer segmentation approach, Internet Applications, Mobile Device companies, Operators and the final point of contact where “Consumer Need” is created.

Mobile operators must render their platforms,infrastructure and networks capable of supporting a massive innovation network comprising of thousands of partners in the eco-system.

3. Know Your Customer

The real power vested in the operators is the knowledge of their consumers, their habits, trends etc. It is not the data or voice pipeline to “faceless consumers”. The secret today is to identify consumer niches, derive insights and design/engineer services around these niches which are differentiated in terms of need appeasement.

Application richness and relevance will rely on powerful personalization, based on customers’ past usage,purchase, browsing and mobile habits. Also the discovery, purchase and use of applications will have to be de-cluttered and simplified.

The indicators in the picture above are roadmap constructs for building a future in Mobile Apps.Telcos will need to be mindful of these as tennets/ Strategy pillars for their mobile applications strategy.

4. Power Apps penetration through Internet

Telcos need to learn the art and science of “social merchandising”- Leveraging the power of social networks to act as a marketing “force multiplier”. By dynamically sharing browsing, recommendation and sharing history, social networking can evolve from an internet tool to a force that drives the adoption and use of entire new categories of applications and services.

The capability to build a strong consumer centric strategy powered by Apps is not just a tactical move (much to what is likely to be believed by Telcos). It will involve a fundamental re-think of consumers, services, innovation and value networks and the role that the Telcos can play in value creation.

(Discussion to be Continued)

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