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The Future in Mobile Applications (Part II)

Posted in Value added services and applications by Manas Ganguly on August 11, 2010

Continued from an earlier post

So what’s driving applications as the future of applications?

Operators need to re-cover costs and investments in 3G through data revenue.App centric business model drives higher profits for Telcos

The cost of advanced wireless networks and 3G infrastructure investments recovery by 3G operators are a negative drag on the balance sheets of customers.Very few companies have recovered their costs and investments in 3G business. More telling is the fact that the profitable operators have a significant play in the application business. The hyper-competition in the voice space isnt helping the cause either. The case study of NTT Docomo which pioneered the apps-centric model by offering iMode service with optional adds ons such as Osaifu-Keitai mobile wallet,i-motion multimedia services, i-area location-information services. Connectivity and high speed data transfers are sold as enablers of various i-Mode packages and not the as the principal offering.

Following the success of the Apple and Android Marketplace, operators are making a bee-line for apps stores. However, a thoughtless approach to Apps Stores can be more harmful than being just the dumb content carrier.

Understanding and meeting the needs of the emerging digital consumer may be the starting point of the journey towards mobile lifestyle enablement.

Users are demanding more and more applications

Consumers are increasingly taking to internet services. An example to this effect is 170 million application downloads in one month (November 2009). The ubiquity of mobile devices has driven adoption of internet based services. Consumer inspired innovation and a falling cost of acquisition of feature and smart-phones are the sub factors powering users adopting and accessing more and more services and applications through their mobile phones.

Mobile ubiquity will compensate for the functional limitations imposed by the small screens of handheld screens.this trend is already visible. Value added services account for almost 30% of telecom revenues in China and Japan and 20% in Europe.

Developer-innovator networks are lending impetus to applications
The robust demand for versatile mobile applications is matched by the push of developer networks that have proven their innovation potential on the internet. Leveraged effectively, these two forces create the suply and demand cycle that work in tandem to put an increasing number of innovative applications into the hands of end users faster than ever before.

All these trends point to a dramatic transformation in the role of the operator and a clear opportunity to lead the way with new applications and services are delivered to subscribers in an Internet-like “have it your way” model.

Guardian’s Open Platform (Part 2): Where’s the money?

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on June 16, 2010

Guardian’s experiment with open source data has proven one thing quite clear that Public data is a growth media for an ecosystem to form. Public data on open source is a nutrient of a whole new eco-system and allow new things to happen. The key to monetization of the open systems in this case is building user centric apps which have a business model.
The applications build on the Guardian Open source platform is divided into three categories mainly differentiated by span of Guardian’s control and the revenue/revenue share model.

So then where is the money?

Guardian’s open platform gives API and Content Developers 3 tiers of access and 3 separate revenue models to choose from:

BESPOKE: Taking, Reformatting, and content augmentation with same access as that of Guardian. Allows custom access for licensing content and integrating rich applications. The revenue is a combination of sponsorship, media, fees, revenue share and downloads.

APPROVED: This involves taking the full Guardian article content, with an advert. Out of this Guardian keeps the ad revenue and the API developer keeps the rest of the page revenue.

KEYLESS: The API developer takes Guardian’s content and keeps part of the associated revenues. Thus there is free access to headlines,data,tags and meta data. There is no key required and partner keeps associated revenue from the page.

What this means for Guardian is that developers are able to access full content APIs on demand from Guardian with keys approved thus making the platform a place to do business with Guardian and engage its scale. Rapid scalability, reliability and performance are the core requirements.

The technology back end running the open source

To assist the developers, Guardian has the Microapps which is a third framework for integrating 3rd party apps into the Guardian platform. The Microapps helps developers integrate their solutions more easily and readily into the Guardian core and evolve the Guardian open platform to be the commercial future of the partners/developers.

Thus the open source platform would be instrumental for Guardian in terms of
• Moving away from content broadcast, and yet keep the growth engines running
• Partner engagement and open source contributions on journalism, data, software, applications, revenue and ads
• It would also support the developers and partners with data and APIs, scalability, reliability and speed.
Guardians enterprising effort build on open source is pretty much on its way to re-define media and thought behind media.

In times to come, media will need to evolve into a two way communication path and Guardian will be referred as a case study, as a pioneer of new media.


Guardian’s Open Platform (Part 1): Coming of Age (Driving Innovation to stay relevant in Media)

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on June 13, 2010

RIP, Print Media!

The proliferation of Digital and Social Media and Google have had an adverse impact on the print media by means of replacement.Communication is two way, immediate and Twitter has now added a dash of “conversation streams” to the news and print.

In this context, Guardian’s effort to move from being just a broadcast publisher to a platform and use content , search and open source to build a new business model around news and media is noteworthy. The transition from news and journalism to news, data, video, audio, content partnerships, innovation, conversation, comments, keywords, podcasts, recommendations, hashtags and live blogs is a case study.The bottomline is about Guardian’s evolution to a platform and not just a publisher.

This platform approach is about changing the perspective from “bringing the data and apps from the internet” to “enabling partners to build applications using proprietary content and services for all digital platforms”. The idea is “experimenting in combining the experience and knowledge of a large media network with experience, opinions and expertise of people who want to participate rather than passively receive content and news”.

Guardian’s open platform is thus its suite of services enabling its partners to build applications with Guardian. The platform has three parts to it:
Content API: A service for collecting and selecting content from the Guardian for re-use

Data store: A directory of useful data curated by Guardian editors.The developers can take this content of the newspaper as the raw material for building new businesses. This raw data is useful in profiling demographics and trends and data catalogues,

Politics API: Database of candidates, voting records, constituencies, election results and live data on election day. The data here is again freely available for use and analysis. Developers innovate on this data and develop interesting tools such as the voter power index for the recent British elections which lets the user know his vote’s woth basis his marginality and constituency size.

Thus Guardian has been making interesting use of Public data to make its own media eco-system and allow “open ssource” innovation to take over.The emerging trends point to change in public participation space aroud public data. Public data can create new economies, improve procurement processes and through evolutionary pressure in the marketplace increase the usability and user centricity of applications that access Government services. Guardian is stepping as a facilitator for consumers of these services to provide an environment where Consumers can get better and access to newer things, mediated by the ingenuity of the developers

Part 2: How the open source makes money?

Mobile’s First for Google

Posted in Internet and Search, Mobile Computing by Manas Ganguly on February 19, 2010

We want to have a little bit of Google in everybody’s transaction with the Internet

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), Google Inc Chief Executive Eric Schmidt urged the mobile industry not to block opportunities offered by the mobile Web and said Google and telecoms carriers could have a symbiotic relationship. Google has raised hackles in the industry by launching a smartphone platform — Android — selling its own-branded phone directly to consumers without the mediation of carriers, and announcing plans to build a super-fast broadband network. It has also been seen as a problem by some operators, which are having to invest and upgrade their networks to meet the huge demand for data services required by users spending time on the mobile Internet and sites from search leader Google and others. Eric urged that the surge in data services had to be viewed more constructively in terms of revenue opportunities.

Given Google’s increased focus on smartphone-data services it is not unusual that “Mobile First” is being put as primary focus of the company. The latest acquisition in that space, AdMob, is a result of this new strategy. The signs are there, smartphone sales are growing at a 30% year-over-year rate, which will eventually surpass the personal computer sales.Even more important, the adoption of the Mobile Web is growing annually eight times faster than the Web adoption did a decade ago. In countries like Indonesia and South Africa more searches are done via the mobile Web than via the desktop, it simply cannot be ignored.

Three areas are coming together on the mobile device, namely the Cloud, computing power and interconnectivity. All these three areas converge in the mobile device, making it a most powerful device where strategies need to be developed in order to thrive or at least, survive.

Check this Slideshare Presentation which is a simple, easy and interesting note on Google’s Mobile Strategy.

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