Monday, June 11, 2007

Towards an all IP model?

Last years we have seen that mobile applications have been closely modelled as Internet Web applications, with some significant differences though. Mainly related to the adaptation to terminal capabilities and to the operator part, and this is a very important one. When talking about Wap instead of Web or IMS applications instead of pure IP applications you get some advantages for sure: better service quality, user identification, billing, etc, but somehow the differences with the pure Internet model may be dragging the success of mobile applications. You can look at success cases in the Internet (Google, YouTube, etc.) that have no real counterparts in the mobile world. So where is the problem?
The problem may reside in two elements:

  • Excessive operator dependencies. Although it is nice to have the operator as an intermediate for use identification, billing to the final user, etc, it complicates the technological and business model. The pure internet model is much simpler, and in all success cases they show they really don't need the operator apart from its data carrier service. In fact there are some pure Internet players that are expanding to the mobile world using a pure Internet/Web approach. Google is doing well and using their maps service in a mobile terminal is a very good experience, with the added value that you can use it while you are on the move. Perhaps that is the right approach and for many mobile applications we don't need any operator support and just use the current web browsing capabilities in terminals or J2ME applets.
  • Lack of adaptation to terminal capabilities and usability of mobile applications. Probably this is the main point and it deserves a complete talking about it. Just two important points: first, in the mobile world with terminals with small screens and without keyboards, ergonomy becomes crucial, and using web applications as in a laptop is probably not a good idea. We still have to see which is the correct model, but probably, multimodal services, that combine several modes of input and output of information are around the correct model. Consider the capability of browsing the web using a mobile terminal through voice commands, and getting the information videographically. Second point: mobile applications model have been driven by terminal vendors, that have decided technological environment and even programming APIs (Symbian, J2ME, etc.). However new players are entering the game, like Apple with their iPhone and the already in-place Windows mobile from Microsoft. They intend to be big players in this game, and for that reason they need to give better accesibility to services, and this will probably will change the landscape in the mobile applications market.

1 comment:

juan said...

The data billing models applied by mobile carriers seem to become more rational now, GOOD NEWS then.
Carriers are realizing about the fact that the uncertain cost of mobile browser connection were discouraging users from trying.
At the other hand operators should avoid the use of mobile fix data rates to connect the laptop and get connected to P2P applications to download gigas of contents, because then the mobile network become saturated.
The approach seen now is creating a ladder of pseudo-fix rates for data related to data volumes. i.e: 30 € till 1 Gbyte monthly, is more than enough to extensive mobile browsing and even pc browsing but not able to use with P2P. This is a good trade-off.
A new model is to bill until 1-2 € the day the user uses the data connection from mobile, (with a limit to avoid P2P) and we consider perhaps is even a better approach.
When users could know exactly the cost and it is affordable they test mobile browsing, and if the user experience becomes succesful, they will increase progressively the use.
Considering european mobile ARPU in the 30-35 €/month, basically voice and SMS, if users realize they could do a lot of things with mobile browser for additional 15 € month, we get the win win, carriers increasing 50% the ARPU and users considering they have a lot of more things to do mobile just paying a few additional "and known" euros :-)

Our task now is achieving the "nice experience when using mobile services with the native browser" :-)

juan mateu

Post a Comment