Archive for the ‘Apps’ Category

Interview: APAC General Manager, Tropo: “While we are a small and agile organisation and can react fairly fast, that’s not enough. We need to have everyone along the delivery chain moving quickly.”

tropologo

Tropo, an API that makes it simple to build phone, SMS and Instant messaging applications was picked as the winner of the Innovation Accelerator at the recent LTE Asia conference. In this interview with Fuxin Jiao-Kiuru, APAC General Manager for Tropo, we find out what the award means to them and why API development is so important in the telecoms space.

You won the Innovation Accelerator at LTE Asia. Why do you think your product attracted the attention of the judges?

Tropo bridges the gaps between telco and web development spaces, making fast innovation in communication possible.  I believe the reason we won is that we are not only talking about great technology, but also real customers, real applications in the market, and real innovation and we bring in great value. In the region, both China Telecom and Globe Philippines are already using Tropo with their eco-system partners. So we are not just talking about it, we are innovating with our customers and partners as we speak.

What are the main challenges you expect to face over the next 12-18 months?

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Interview: COO, Nimbuzz: “The way forward has to be the path of collaboration and partnership.”

350-Joby-Babu

Joby Babu, COO, Nimbuzz

Joby Babu, COO, Nimbuzz is taking part in a debate ‘Analysing the App Opportunity’ on Day One of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the show we speak to him about his perspectives on the relationship between OTTs and carriers.

Collaborate or compete? From the OTT perspective, what relationship should you have with operators?

The way forward has to be the path of collaboration and partnership. Competing with each other will lead to further cannibalisation of messaging revenues and it will be a lost opportunity to explore newer revenue streams such as virtual economies, gaming etc. Partnerships with the common intent of providing a seamless experience to the end user will be the best option forward and this will help stakeholders maximise their monetisation opportunities.

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Preparing for VoLTE

LTE_VoiceSummit_2013At the end of last year, one of our top 5 predictions for LTE in 2013 was ‘VoLTE: Only fools rush in’ as we saw a couple operators push back their VoLTE deployment plans. Over halfway through the year, it seems operators are still taking their time with the technology but voice services have certainly started to gain traction and the industry at large is solidly behind VoLTE.

VoLTE has been filling up our news feeds recently; with Verizon revealing its plans to launch its first VoLTE handsets sometime this year and AT&T announcing its VoLTE service will go live in 2013. The technology is undoubtedly maturing but we’ve also seen a range of mixed messages such as ‘VoLTE is set to break out’ and ‘VoLTE off to a slow start’.  Despite growing interest and investment in the technology, there is clearly still much uncertainty and many issues to be addressed.  

The demand for clarity and collaboration in the market is evident and the LTE Voice Summit on 1st-2nd October 2013 in London plans to provide just that, bringing together the greatest minds in voice services to realise the opportunities and manage the challenges of next generation voice offerings.

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Interview: Founder, Getjar: “We’ve measured a direct correlation between data connection speed/reliability and app engagement.”

Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar

Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar

Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar is taking part in a panel discussion  on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about this innovative App store, and why the performance of the network is so crucial to the user experience.

Please tell us a little about Getjar.

GetJar is an app distribution and monetisation platform for Android. We distribute 750,000 apps, have 500,000 registered developers, and to date have achieved three billion downloads. Our rewards-based virtual currency GetJar Gold has reached 200 million users, of which 30 million are active on a monthly basis.

How does your business model differ from that of the Apple and Android app stores?

Unlike Apple and Google’s retail model, we focus on “paid discovery”. We promote all major apps, from Facebook to games and our revenues come from app promotional budgets.  A unique aspect of our business model is that we give a portion of the advertising revenues to users (as a rewards virtual currency GetJar Gold) that they can then spend on premium content and in-app purchases.

Smartphones and tablets have dramatically altered the mobile landscape yet are still only around half of the mobile phone market. How great an opportunity is this for Getjar and other digital innovators?

A great opportunity! We, and all partners that we work with, are almost entirely focussed on smartphones. While a big share of the mobile market (and GetJar legacy business) is still feature phones, given the technical constrains and limited future (we give them a couple of years), nobody is investing in the segment.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

As you look to grow, what are the biggest challenges you face?

Android fragmentation is among the biggest challenges. We had to deal with fragmentation back in Java days, so we know how difficult it is. Among other challenges are poor Android monetisation. Relative to iOS, an average Android user is worth 5x less. This is primarily because Google on the one hand has not solved billing for Android, and on the other hand does not allow any alternative billing platforms.

Another issue is that the move to earn from mobile advertising dollars is slow. It took 15 years for the internet to attract only 10 per cent of the potential advertising budgets from ‘old media’ (TV, radio and print), if measured by ad dollars relative to the consumer engagement.

A third issue is that despite being large Android markets, business is very difficult in China and Korea  as Google Play is not allowed, and distribution is very controlled and fragmented.

How excited are you by the 4G roll-outs taking place worldwide?

Absolutely excited! Numerous times we’ve measured a direct correlation between data connection speed/reliability and app engagement.

What would be your advice to those looking to develop apps?

One advice would be to seriously look at freemium/in-app vs. the paid business model. At GetJar, we get to see how different business models perform and it’s absolutely clear that a successful Freemium/in-app business model is not just better than paid, but often 10-20 times better! E.g. we’ve seen a casual game raise its RPM (revenue per thousand users) from $12 to $240 when it moved from paid to optimised in-app (selling levels, upgrades and other virtual goods).

Why are you choosing to attend the LTE World Summit?

We work a lot with app developers. Many of them are very interested in carrier APIs, especially with the rise of LTE, where a lot of app activity depends on the network (streaming services, location, etc.). I hope that sharing some of the biggest developer challenges will help the operators to better optimise their networks and services for developer, and ultimately consumer, needs.

Head of mobile business development and partnerships, Groupon: “we see people increasingly using mobile devices as a means of interacting with their local surroundings.”

Andreas Lieber, head of mobile business development and partnerships, Groupon

Andreas Lieber, head of mobile business development and partnerships, Groupon

Head of mobile business development and partnerships, Groupon: “we see people increasingly using mobile devices as a means of interacting with their local surroundings.”

Andreas Lieber, head of mobile business development and partnerships, Groupon, USA, is taking part in a digital innovation debate in the morning of Day One of the  LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to him about how the mobile space has been crucial to the success of Groupon over the past two years.

To what extent is Groupon a digital company – and why is innovation in this space so important?

Groupon is at its core a digital/tech company. More than 200 million of our subscribers receive our emails, view our mobile services and search the Web every day to find curated, unbeatably-priced offers from an ever-expanding list of more than 2,000 individual types of goods and services.

Innovation in this space is extremely important because just a few years ago our business was predominantly driven by our daily email. In Q1 2013, less than 45 per cent of our North American transactions came from email, with mobile and search accounting for a greater percentage of our total business.

Since its launch in 2008 smartphones and tablets have changed the mobile landscape. What impact has this had on how you communicate with your customers?

More than 40 million people worldwide have downloaded our mobile apps, with more than seven million of those downloads coming in Q1 2013. Groupon has tremendous penetration in the mobile space and is a natural fit for this medium. As a result, our mobile business has skyrocketed from about 20 per cent of North American transactions two years ago to 45 per cent in March 2013. And, the average mobile customer spends well over 50 per cent more than Web-only customers.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Tell us more about how partnerships with mobile networks and use of mobile technology can help create business opportunities for Groupon.

Our apps work across multiple platforms, and we see people increasingly using mobile devices as a means of interacting with their local surroundings. And partnerships are a great way to provide relevant, incremental access points to Groupon products via the partner’s content and discovery services.

Has the potential of digital now been fully leveraged or is there scope for greater innovations in the future?

There is definitely room for us to further leverage our mobile platform. We’re constantly advancing our personalisation and are simultaneously growing our inventory, which will enable us to provide more relevant deals based on your location, current intent and personal preferences. We’re also very focused on increasing our mobile search capabilities to enable our customers to navigate this expanded inventory. Watch this space for some news soon.

Why did you choose to attend the LTE World Summit?

Mobile fits right in with our mission to make it easy for people around the world to search and discover great businesses at unbeatable prices. With its global scope and wide spectrum of attendees, the LTE World Summit is a great way for us to meet people and potential partners across the entire mobile ecosystem.

Interview: Business development director, Shazam, UK: “I am genuinely very excited about the growth opportunities for Shazam and the app economy.”

Iain Dendle, business development director for Shazam, UK

Iain Dendle, business development director for Shazam, UK

Iain Dendle, business development director for Shazam, UK is taking part in a debate on Digital Innovation on the morning of Day One of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.

Smartphones and tablets have dramatically altered the mobile landscape yet are still only around half of the mobile phone market. How great an opportunity is this for Shazam and other digital innovators?

Over 300 million people have used Shazam to engage with music and television but I do believe this is the tip of the iceberg. Smartphone penetration has reached over 50 per cent in the US and Western Europe and Shazam is in the top 25 most downloaded apps – but we see no sign of reaching saturation point. We’re generating over 10 million new users a month, so our growth continues to accelerate at an astounding rate. Also, there is a massive opportunity in the rest of the world where smartphone penetration is much lower and where the smartphone will be many people’s first experience of using a computer. So I am genuinely very excited about the growth opportunities for Shazam and the app economy.

Conversely, what are the biggest challenges you are facing as you look to grow?

I think we’re operating in an incredibly fast-paced industry. If we are to retain their interest and deliver value to their everyday lives we need to constantly evolve and improve the proposition we deliver for our users. At Shazam, this is challenge we embrace and you can see examples of our efforts in the past few years with features like LyricPlay and Shazam Friends and new propositions like Shazam for TV. Shazam recently appointed a new CEO and CPO, which will accelerate our innovation in the coming months and years.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Shazam is a OTT smartphone app. Do you have any relationship with operators and is there any scope for mutual business opportunities.

Shazam has long standing partnerships with mobile operators stretching back to the days before the app stores. These relationships continue to deliver value for both parties. Shazam can deliver significant strategic benefit to an operator by driving users and usage to their content stores, whilst delighting their customers and contributing a significant financial benefit also. Shazam is responsible for selling over 500,000 items a day and this is extremely valuable to operators as they strive to offer their customer more than just a communication tariff. In return, the mobile operators represent a sizeable and efficient promotion and distribution channel for our application.

Are you excited by the 4G roll-outs taking place worldwide?

Shazam is one of the first truly mobile applications. Many of the others in the top 25 have evolved from websites but the majority of times you Shazam something, you are out and about. Whether it’s Shazaming a song in a coffee shop on your commute to work, a track played by a DJ in a nightclub, or the ads in the cinema before you watch the film, the majority of our use cases are mobile. The roll out of 4G is a massive opportunity for Shazam, as it will enable us to deliver an even richer experience to our users via streaming video of the media you just Shazam’d, to having a more immersive purchasing experiences. It enables us to deliver the same rich content you enjoy over Wi-Fi at home, but when you are mobile.

Why is innovation in the digital and mobile space so important?

A major factor is the amount of competition for your smartphone’s homescreen.  Apple has over 800,000 apps in the App store with Google Play not far behind. Apps need to constantly evolve, innovate and deliver value if they are to remain relevant and become an integral part of their users lives.

Why did you choose to attend the LTE World Summit?

LTE represents a fantastic opportunity for application developers and all other players in the smartphone ecosystem. I am intrigued to discover more about what other companies are planning to do to take advantage of those opportunities, learn from the line-up of experienced speakers, and discuss and debate topics with like-minded individuals.

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