Sunday, July 11, 2010

5 Key App Insights from AppsXchange Asia 2010 Event in Singapore

The recent AppsXchange Asia event in Singapore on 16-17 June 2010 brought together the entire Apps Eco-system in Asia together -mobile phone manufacturers (Nokia, Samsung), operators (Telenor Group, Digi, Maxis, Singtel, AIS), content developers (mbounce, Zing Mobile, Touch Dimensions etc), mobile ads providers (Buzzcity, Mobile Spinach), platform solutions and payment providers (Oracle, Volantis, Globys, PayPal).

Here are the 5 key app insights gleaned from this 2-day discussion and networking forum around the Go-To-Market programs for Apps and the roles Operators and players could play in.

(1) With APPolution, Application Discovery is a Key Concern
  • In an earlier post "3 social News Apps for a Nokia Phone", I wrote referred to the increasing number of apps offered by media publishers in the many apps stores available today.
  • Arnie Chaudhari, Vice President, Sales and Business Development, mBounce, highlighted that with APPolution (i.e. app evolution), the applications marketplace is becoming increasingly crowded.
  • Praveen Rajan, Head of Mobile Internet, Digi, talked about working with partners from other apps stores to push recommendations of apps via various operator online, mobile and offline channels. One case study he shared was around promoting daily content discovery through SMS subscriptions to Youtube alerts

(2) Traffic and Downloads are going off-deck
  • Simon Wong, Sales Consulting Director, Oracle, highlighted that 50% to 80% of apps are now downloaded off-deck (note: Juniper Research)
  • Praveen Rajan from Digi also advised that from experience, that operators need to rethink the Operator WAP Portal.  He suggested simplifying the operator wap portal with key promotional messages like attractive data plans, value-added service packages, or contests involving apps.

(3) Operators are trusted brands and offer value in platform enablers and to partner

  • In his address on "Developing converged apps for TV, mobile and online", Naveen Wathan, Head of Product Innovations, Product Development and Infotainment, Maxis, saud that the role of the of the network operator is to enable applications across different user interfaces (TV, Mobile, Online) - use the Cloud, develop easy to use APIs for developers & co-market.
  • Tanis Kuneepong, Partner VAS Marketing Manager, AIS (Thailand's largest operator) ahso shared about SingTel's regional apps store program, which is scaling up through shared apps sourcing, shared in -apps ads inventory, shared VAS offers across the Singtel group.
  • Dr. Calicrates Policroniades, Senior Researcher/Business Developer in Content and Applications, Telenor Group Corporate Development, highlighted that the Telenor group's strategy is to focus on providing platform enablers to apps developers, rather than building their own apps stores.

(4) Operators offer value in consumer insights and marketing

  • Praveen, Digi had started the event saying that "Everyone has favourites" (apps for that matter) and there are many opportunities for operators to promote apps, value-added services (VAS) and data plans to their consumers. Think about how to sell VAS the Apps Store way.
  • Duanne Edwards, co-founder and Senior Vice President of Product Development, Globys, stated that operators can win the apps race by enabling discovery, profiling their consumers and understanding occasions - i.e. segment apps by occasions of usage, thereby driving downloads for developers through marketing contextually relevant apps to consumers.
  • Urvashi Sahay, Director, Mobile Services and Integration, Singtel, reiterated support in providing more transparency to developers from Operators. Singtel for example is committed to sharing consumer insights to developers - what are the opportunities and in which verticals should developers be work on.

(5) Think about Feature Phones - they need some loving too

  • Tanis Kuneepong, AIS, shared that out that 7 of the top 20 top performing phones for their AIS Apps Store (launched 8-FEB 2010) were Nokia feature phones.
  • Arnie Chaudhuri from mBounce, Urvashi Sahay from Singtel, Dr. Lai Kok Fung from Buzzcity reminded the forum to think about the needs of the emerging markets which were largely proliferated with feature phones rather than smartphones. These consumers are looking for mobile ads with value, apps with sms-based content, utility apps for their feature phones.
  • 2 examples of apps stores supporting feature phones are GetJar and the Nokia Ovi Store (which support more than 100 models of feature phones and smartphones today).

As seen by the 5 apps insights from the AppsXchange Asia event,
  • In Asia, where there are both developed and emerging markets,
  • where there are both smartphones and feature phones co-existing,
  • there are different needs of consumers which could be catered to by the apps eco-system players - operators, content developers, mobile phone manufacturers, solution providers etc. 
I am very excited to be part of this dynamic and exhilarating apps growth market here in Asia.  How are your experiences in the apps market space?  Any best practices, case studies or key issues to share?  I look forward to hearing from you.

best regards,
Nelson Wee
or tweet me at @nelsonwee

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