OTA Updating Saves $140m in a Year, says InnoPath

InnoPath Software, which specializes in Over The Air (OTA) customer care for mobile devices, reports that during 2009, North American CDMA and GSM mobile operators enjoyed an estimated $140 million (86 million) worth of savings through the use of the companys ActiveCare Mobile Update product.
In the past year, North American operators serving over 160 million subscribers have updated over 3.5 million devices via InnoPaths servers across more than 20 device models, resulting in the $140 million saving, and InnoPath says that volumes and savings are expected to rise significantly in the future.
The handsets, including models from Nokia, LG, Motorola, Samsung and others, have been updated, some several times, to address a variety of problems, including issues with Push to Talk, dropped calls, corrupted contacts, crashes/freezes and other issues.
The company says the savings are achieved as a result of reduced device recalls, returns and shorter care calls to address usability issues. Secondary advantages of FOTA include service assurance, directly impacting the operators revenue, as well as increased customer satisfaction, resulting in lower churn.
InnoPath notes that Mobile Update is the only single vendor OTA update solution. Where deployed, InnoPath says it creates an enhanced user experience and better manageability for the operator via an end-to-end standards-plus solution between the server and the update client.
While Smartphones are enjoying increased market penetration, they also bring greater complexity and a greater need for updates. Traditionally, firmware updates have been relatively rare and for most a very manual process. Recent devices, such as the Sony Ericsson Satio show the challenges that both OEMs and operators can face when presented with a device with significant issues but no way to address those issues OTA.
InnoPath cites the Nokia 5800 XM, a phone which supported FOTA in some markets but not others, as a vivid illustration of the customer impact of OTA support and the frustration that its absence can present. Many users in markets such as North America expressed disappointment when finding that updates were not available via FOTA or were later than updates for other markets, showing the importance of a well thought out, well implemented update strategy.
Ideally, says InnoPath, OTA update and support issues, including client and server availability and whether the device will be updated by the OEM or operator, will be addressed as part of the initial product development process, not left as an afterthought. Just as errors or oversights in the design of the product itself can impact the subscriber experience, an incomplete support story can leave customers with a bad taste in their mouths.
InnoPath deployed the first commercial FOTA (Firmware Over The Air) solution in 2003 and we have been the leaders in that space ever since, says InnoPath CEO, John Fazio. Many of our 21 patents are related to FOTA, and it is this technical expertise, combined with real world operational experience and a world-class interoperability test team that together give both operators and OEMs the edge when developing their over-the-air support strategies.