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Airwide Pinpoints App Store Success Factors

David Murphy

Airwide Solutions, which provides next generation mobile messaging and mobile Internet infrastructure, applications and solutions, has revealed the results of an independent survey conducted among mobile operators into the rise of mobile applications and services. The study shows that despite consumer enthusiasm for mobile applications, operators could risk failure if they try to replicate the model pioneered by Apple. The study, which was conducted by the independent analyst house mobilesquared on behalf of Airwide, reveals overwhelming enthusiasm for the App Store concept, with all operators questioned planning to keep a degree of control in their own app store environments.
When asked how much control they thought they could exert over which applications their subscribers could access, operators demonstrated a surprisingly pragmatic and realistic approach. 45% said they would expect to directly control less than 10% of the apps and services launched, while 36% said they would expect to control between 20 and 30%.
Airwide believes that this dynamic could significantly increase the amount of fragmentation that application developers and publishers will need to address if they want to deploy services across multiple operators and on multiple handsets. Until real standards evolve, the company says, operators need a consistent platform to be able to roll-out enhanced applications and services.
Airwide is aiming to address this issue with the launch of its Open Services Framework.This, it says, represents the latest phase of the evolution away from existing monolithic messaging infrastructure, and has been designed to enable operators to use network intelligence on messaging and browsing, location, user profiling, presence, security, micropayments and more, to create and enhance high quality, relevant applications, without disrupting existing infrastructure. It is designed to work across multiple networks and is open, powerful, intelligent and flexible, helping operators cut the amount of time necessary to roll out new and enhanced services by up to 75%. As a result, says Airwide, operators can secure the appropriate share of untapped revenue opportunities, generate more interactive engagement with subscribers, and regain control of the subscriber.
Airwide says it is launching the solution because the rise of the app store model depends on robust and powerful messaging infrastructure, which can efficiently support multiple media types, while remaining flexible enough to enable the rapid rollout of new services that use location, presence, subscriber profiles, the mobile Internet, or any other of a range of operator assets to enhance their functionality.
The Open Services Framework does this through two modules that can be used together or independently. The Service Innovation Module enables the rapid introduction of high-quality service enhancements by exposing value-adding operator assets and capabilities, independent from the delivery infrastructure. The Delivery Optimization Module enables high-reliability, low-latency, secure, handset- and network-optimized delivery of services.
Airwide says this approach is supported by the survey, which also revealed that operators believe that relevance or the lack thereof is the most important factor in creating a successful app store, with 55% of operators ranking it the biggest factor in a successful download. By enhancing mobile applications with their unique assets, context and intelligence, while minimizing cost and without disruption to the existing infrastructure, Airwide says its Open Services Framework can help operators can realize significant cost savings, jump-start additional revenue generation, and play a more significant role in mobile data services.
Cost was also cited as a major factor by 18% of respondents, and a number of operators also said that effective marketing is also crucial for the success of the app store model. The marketing campaign by Apple, which focuses on how to discover and download applications to the iPhone, was seen as an example of how good marketing can overcome many of the education issues faced by operators when launching new services.
Clearly education is indeed an important factor which must be addressed, as a separate survey of mobile subscribers conducted by mobilesquared revealed a lack of widespread awareness of the app store concept. Only 24% of respondents knew what an app store was, yet when the benefits of an app store-like experience were explained, over 50% of respondents said they would want to have an app store accessible from their phone. The survey, which asked 1,000 UK mobile subscribers their opinions on the app store concept, shows that there is clear demand from consumers for applications from operators beyond the current triumvirate of games, music and video. However, with less than 25% of UK subscribers currently owning a high-end handset or Smartphone, one of the major challenges faced by operators in the short term will be how they can deliver an app store experience to mass-market handsets.
The study we have conducted highlights that there is a clear demand from both operators and subscribers for a centralized content and services solution that will help operators to deliver relevant, high quality applications quickly to the end user, says Airwide CMO, Jay Seaton. Weve designed our Open Services Framework with this need for versatility, speed and quality in mind so that operators can enhance virtually any application with contextual information and support as well as quickly rollout the new mobile applications their subscribers demand without risking disruption to the underlying infrastructure.

Well have an interview with Jay Seaton about the Open Services Framework concept next week. A detailed whitepaper outlining the results of the research in more detail can be requested by emailing Gemma Yates at: airwidepr@miliberty.com

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