Smart Pipes Conference Day Two

Opening Points:
A smart pipe strategy is now critical to an operator’s service innovation plans as we saw with Vodafone, Joint Innovation Labs, Orange Partner, Telenor CPA; plus there are many more operators making money today in working with third parties, e.g. Globe, Telus, etc.

However, all is not well in this ecosystem.  Yesterday we saw there is a large gap between operators and developers on their needs and expectations.  This conference provided one of the few times I am aware of in this industry where such as open and frank discussion took place.  The most dangerous thing we can do is right off these opinions as just the usual developer ‘whinging and operator bashing.’  Developers have a choice, and they’re not choosing the operator; rather the consumer electronics and operating system channels to market.  And when technology reaches a point of simplicity that enters; this gap can not exist.

We are seeing some important initiatives in reducing fragmentation, but they’re technology biased.  We saw yesterday most of the developer frustrations are process and business related; and hence this is where we must focus.

Matt Millar provides a great summary of his thoughts from being on the developer panel on Day One.

James Parton, O2 Litmus: The first six months

  • Litmus’s objective is to grow their fan base by delivering unique services and experiences – note use of the word fan!
  • Looks like O2 aspires to be the ‘Apple’ of Telco – the ‘cult of O2.’
  • It’s a collaboration community, with the presence of real customers – this is a key difference to most other operator initiatives.
  • Focus is customers: Web 2.0 has created opinionated, educated, connected and engaged audiences – where O2 wants them to act as virtual product managers.
  • James is focusing on trying to meet developer’s needs – fair and simple process, direct customer access, paid in 5 weeks not 90 days.
  • Latest Litmus stats: 3000 customers, 560 developers (50 countries), 320 apps – about to promote across 600k of O2 customer base.
  • Fring a VoIP service is in the store – this demonstrates the open access model, allowing experimentation.
  • Roadmap includes subscription pricing, sale of services not just apps, URL based applications, SMS API, and opening up across the Telefonica footprint (260 customers)

David Stewart, OFCOM

  • UK has achieved 130% penetration
  • Mobile is >50% of total communication revenues (this includes broadband and corporate data services)
  • 1 in 5 voice connections are through BT, O2 will over take BT in about 1 year with respect to number of connections
  • Camera is the top selection feature for customers, browser is still small interest
  • What is it that’s driving next phase of development? – Mobilization of the internet and the separation of applications and the network
  • Will not regulate on openness or net neutrality, area they’ll likely regulate on is customer risks/protections (e.g. scams)

Grahame Riddell, Nokia Ovi

  • Positioned store as next generation personal media network – personal, location-aware, content and apps, social buying experience.
  • Beyond smartphone and S60 into S40 range based on Java.
  • Leverage Forum Nokia’s 4M developers
  • Free apps and looks similar to the apple app store experience
  • Uses behavioral algorithms in search to enhance relevancy
  • Global and local content
  • App provider gets 70% of customer price (less operator charges) – Nokia keeps 30%
  • Targeting 300 million devices by 2012 (50M+ at launch)
  • Nokia is going to have a rough ride from the operators!

Sean O’Sullivan, Dial2do: Social Phone

  • Gave examples how the voice experience can be enhanced by the web
  • Social phone book, e.g. INQ1
  • Enhancing calling – bringing contextual information about the caller/callee (Dialplus)
  • Key issues for Sean are: fragmentation, payment, share more rev, get at network assets, for the operator to get out of way – similar to Day One’s developer panel session
  • Everything is an asset – e.g. data such as when customers first use phone in the day, turn it on, etc.  And these can be monetized.  There are lots of operator opportunities.

Wrap-up panel session

  • Enterprise is where to focus on monetizing APIs – gap within the conference – important focus for next year
  • The large gap between operator and developer needs/expectations must be closed.  As an industry we’re going to struggling to compete with the consumer electronics and OS provider stores, until that gap is closed.
  • Suggestion that the web model does not apply to mobile – location can not be given for free.  Unfortunately on location the ‘horse has bolted,’ its now available for free on the phone.
  • APIs go well beyond OneAPI – e.g. memory available on the phone
  • Multiple stores on the phone are OK – let the customer choose
  • We’re entering a period of intense experimentation to determine what ‘recipes’ work.  This time next year, it will be interesting to see what has worked and what has failed.