Saturday, May 5, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
If you thought Facebook’s OTT business model was bad news for cellcos, just wait until their IPO kicks in.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
What we see is an important, and so-far overlooked, new management application targeted at institutional and enterprise customers, the Apple Configurator. This app provides a critical link in the Apple ecosystem for enterprise IT organizations, Mobile Device Management (MDM) providers, ISVs and VARs that allows enterprises to significantly improve and simplify the cost and complexity of managing iOS devices. Basically, the Configurator allows the configuration of an enterprise-standard iOS device/app image, then allows/enables that image to be deployed across multiple iOS devices. Previously, users and enterprises have had to manage multiple iTunes accounts in order to manage multiple iOS applications and content, depending through which account the apps and content were acquired. Such a management approach becomes onerous as the number of devices grows beyond even a few.
Apple Configurator allows improved simplicity in this regard. According to Apple, it can manage everything about an iPhone or an iPad, iPad, including apps, accounts, and content. Enterprise IT organizations, for example, can now configure an enterprise iPad image once, deploy it across enterprise and individually-owned devices, and keep it agnostic of/parallel to personal accounts on those devices.
The net impact for iOS users, developers, services providers, and enterprise IT shops is an opportunity to simplify and standardized enterprise management and use of iPads, iPhones and any iOS device. We see this as enabling an even faster- and farther-growing Apple grassroots enterprise presence and power, far beyond what is enabled by iPhones and iPads themselves. And it may strengthen movement by enterprise IT groups toward embracing iOS devices at a greater breadth and pace – eventually and effectively shifting Apple’s own non-enterprise-IT stance as well.
Why is it Happening? The Apple Configurator has been a capability missing from, and increasingly needed by, Apple’s ecosystem.
Apple maintains a laser-like focus on the user experience and on consumer sales. To this end, they have built a hyper-competent content and device ecosystem. This in turn has allowed Apple to develop a highly-curated-but-closed ecosystem. Together, the focus and the ecosystem have yielded premium pricing and market leadership in tablet and smartphone spaces.
Apple has also studiously avoided enterprise IT. Steve Jobs himself regularly stated that he did not want Apple to be, or become, an enterprise IT provider, preferring to focus on more creative and new types of devices, content, and services that enabled consumer/end users.
However, Apple is a victim of its own success when it comes to the enterprise. We’re starting to see more frequent orders for thousands of iPads coming in from enterprises worldwide. We see more and more pressure from enterprise business app and service providers to integrate their offering with iPads and iPhones. And the continued blurring of user device/business device removes functional and managerial boundaries between the consumer and the commercial environments – something that Saugatuck has been researching for clients for several years now. (Read: “Growing Pains: Consumerization Is The Heart of Fundamental IT Change,” and “Consumerization of IT Raises User Expectations, Creating Vendor Opportunities”)
Apple’s approach of decoupling management capabilities, network infrastructure, devices, applications, content, and delivery has allowed it to focus on its own core competencies: developing new user functionality, fostering its developer ecosystem, and allowing others to fill the demand of users and organizations by building within its ecosystem. Already there exist a multitude of MDM providers that operate within this niche, and we fully expect that more will begin to work within this space. On top of this, many 3rd-party ISVs and SIs are turning to the iOS SDK to provide value-added services to enterprise customers currently using solutions from larger vendors like SAP and IBM.
So despite is proclaimed “non-enterprise” stance, Apple has made very successful inroads into the enterprise market from the bottom up – driven by consumer demand, encouraged by broad ISV/developer interest, and capitalizing on increasing enterprise policies that enable and encourage “bring your own device” (BYOD) (Read: “Mobilization in the Cloud: Facing Bring Your Own Device Policies in the Enterprise”). (source: Alax Bakker - information-management.com)
Monday, March 5, 2012
Optimism in Mobile World Congress: Mutually Beneficial Cooperation between OTT and Cellular Operators
Let's get one thing straight. There is no recession in the mobile telecommunications industry.
Anyone present at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week for the annual tapas and telephone fest will vouch that it was the most energetic, positive and crowded event in years, attracting a mass of new peripheral players that are finally seeing that connectedness is everything.
The Insider cannot recall a time when so many different industries were represented in keynote sessions, on the exhibition floor and in cross-industry panel discussions. On the surface it was all positive, but some of it was almost too upbeat. Maybe it was the bright sunshine, copious amounts of sangria or the hallucinatory effect of coffee-con-leche on tap, but the love-fest involving OTT players and operators seemed, at times, almost too good to be true.
Facebook was well represented not only in the keynotes but also in the TM Forum led “operators as intelligent partners” stream. Don’t let the tongue-in-cheek title fool you, this was where the likes of Expedia.com and Facebook came straight out and said they are not only actively seeking out ways of cooperating with operators, they felt it essential for their long-term growth, nay, existence.
Flanked by senior representatives from AT&T, Teliasonera and Telus, Vaughan Smith, VP of Mobile Partnering at Facebook outlined that CSPs had skill sets and reach that his company did not wish to emulate and, particularly in the area of billing, wanted to work closely with them, happy to share the revenues. His realistic view was confirmed by the fact that a large percentage of mobile Facebook users do not even have bank accounts, let alone credit cards with which to pay for goods and services online.
Facebook’s future revenue growth will come from online commerce and if customers are unable to pay, the whole exercise becomes academic. However, by utilizing the existing billing arrangements operators have with their pre-paid community, the payment issue could be circumvented. He gave examples of the dramatic uptake of Spotify sales once they launched on Facebook, and how that could be emulated by almost any digital services provider.
His views were also echoed by his CTO, Brett Taylor, who announced in his keynote address that the company is participating in “a number of industry wide initiatives” intended to support the development of the mobile web, focusing on technology standards and payment enabling.
With the objective of reducing online payment verification from eight steps to one, he announced a partnership with “operators around the world to improve both the user and the developer experience of operator billing.” This work will remove the need for the SMS verification step for the “vast majority” of customers, while providing developers with a single SDK to get global reach with “very, very simple” technical verification.
“That way, payments on the mobile web can be what it should be – a single step to confirm the purchase,” he concluded. Operators working with Facebook on streamlined billing are AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica, T-Mobile USA, Verizon, Vodafone, KDDI and Softbank.
Jeff Warren from Expedia, now the world’s largest travel sales company, said the need to work with mobile operators hinged around connectivity for travelers wherever they are. The whole nature of the business is travel, much of it offshore, but to provide the best service Expedia needs to be in contact with its customers wherever they are to provide the latest updates, cancellations, alternative travel, etc. but the nature and cost of roaming means that most of their customers switch off their phones as soon as they leave their home country and the whole value proposal is lost.
He wants to see how his company can work with operators to make roaming, even specifically for Expedia customers if possible, a seamless and cost-effective service.
David Gurrola from Orange's Consumer Mobile Business, in his presentation said that increasingly complex value chains meant the way operators partner with other organizations has “completely changed”, with it being “much more about bringing together ecosystems.”
Gurrola added that operators will need to become more flexible and more willing to compromise with partners in the future, as well as develop a clear understanding of the value partners can bring. “Operators must go deeper, overcome risk aversion, and act quickly in to changing roles within the partnerships,” he said.Sounds like a future TM Forum ‘agile business case study!’ (source: telecomasia.net - Poulos)