Ronnie05's Blog

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)

Profiling Facebook: The Google of Social Networking (Part III)

Posted in Revenues and Monetization, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on March 17, 2009

This is the last of the Profiling facebook series. The earlier posts have been listed above. The first post dealt with the rise of Facebook and its business model, the second part dealt with Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for Facebook. This post is a critique of the Facebook’s success in terms of efforts @ monetization of Social Networking Freetardonomics.
Fortune featured Facebook in an article “How Facebook is taking over our lives” in February 2009. Read the story. The focus was on the growth in Facebook users and race to mass market (Graphic below), stickiness, user demographics, Zuckerberg’s vision and applications that make Facebook a very happening place! 


Here is Paul Monica, (editor in chief of CNN money) critique of Facebook published as “Why i hate Facebook“.

Reason 1: It is not always about Networking. There are times when people like to be un-networked.

Reason 2: With 175 million users and growing at 6 million per month, the top line sounds great. But How do you generate meaningful revenue and profits out of such a venture/user base. Popularity @ Freetardonomics is fine, but profits are cooler!

Reason 3: The first 150 million users accrued to the following in the stated number of years.
Telephone: 89 years
Television: 38 years
Cellphone: 14 years
iPod: 7 years
Facebook: 5 years
This rationale has a strong fallacy: Apple sold a product to 150 million consumers, a pretty pricey one at that where as all Facebook has done is to get people signed up for a service: a free one at that. A comment worth a mention in here is “Bill Gates did not become one of the wealthiest men on the planet by giving away operating systems for free!”

Reason 4: Social networking is about easily connecting and communicating with friends. Ads and promos wouldnot mean much to the user who is “blind” to all that the web site offers since he is single mindedly networking. Thus the inherently loose one here is that Social Websites can never be major generators of Ad revenue.

Reason 5: Efforts to tap information about users implicitely can invite legal backlash as it did with the Beacon@Facebook. This furthermore narrows the field for targetting users with relevant marketing stuff.

Reason 6: 2009 and 2010 would possibly be the toughest years in US and marketers will cut costs. Online advertising will slow down from 17,5% in 2008 to 8.9%. Facebook’s attempts at Traditional online advertising has failed miserably and revenue from banner ads are small enough to ignore them as incidentals.

There are the examples of AOL and Yahoo who after a brilliant start fizzled out in trying to monetize their offerings on the web. Facebook and its team must now deliver on a telling agenda of monetizing their growth on a difficult wicket of the economic meltdown.

%d bloggers like this: