Archive for February, 2012

MWC 2012: Enterprise Mobility – The New Frontier for Network Operators

Live from the floor on Mobile World Congress 2012…

We’re well into the swing of things at this year’s Mobile World Congress. But with all the flashy announcements and stunts – from 41MP phones launched to “ice cream sandwiches” being given away at Google’s playground – it’s easy to forget that the focus should really be on the operators. After all, it is the operators that make up the core of the GSMA and have the power to drive real change in the industry. But recently they have been pulled into a bit of a tailspin, caused by a lack of growth in voice revenues and an inability to leverage their position on top of the mobile data value chain.

But there are rumblings of change. Yesterday, one of the biggest talking points at MWC was the launch of the GSMA’s initiative “Joyn,” a rich communications service that offers consumers IM, video calling and the ability to share documents and photos simultaneously with voice calls.  The aim of Joyn is to consolidate the multitude of communication apps and put them back under the control of the mobile network operators. This links to conversations we’ve been having with operators around how many are looking at machine-to-machine (M2M) data like this to drive new revenue growth. But the potential is much bigger: the real potential for operators is setting them up as players in the enterprise mobility space, providing their corporate customers with the production of M2M applications, as well as B2C and B2E apps.

A few operators have already ventured in this direction – we’re currently working with AT&T in the U.S., KT in Asia, and Swisscom in Europe, for example. On the whole though, operators have feared to tread in this space – which is surprising if you look at the latest industry stats. We recently conducted a study with Vanson Bourne which showed that on average CIOs and business unit leaders are planning to invest $926,000 (or £590,000) in employee and consumer-facing mobility projects in the next 12-18 months. That’s more than double the amount enterprises currently have invested in mobile projects ($422k/£269k). Not only this, but Global Industry Analysts Inc. recently predicted the worldwide enterprise mobility market would be worth $173.9 billion by 2017.

You can’t argue with numbers like that. And with the corporate relationships that operators hold, network operators that enable mobility for their enterprise customers through the provision of apps, web-apps, mobile websites and storefronts will not only  be able to open up a highly lucrative new revenue stream, but they will also boost revenues associated with the volume of M2M data traffic.

That’s the new frontier for operators. But despite this, many operators have been unwilling to make a play for the share of the enterprise mobility space, mostly due to the deep bank of investment and resource required. However, some operators are starting to see a new solution to the issue, forming wholesale partnerships with enterprise mobility vendors, and white-labelling those vendors’ solutions for their own corporate customers. For this to work, that partner must be able to provide them with a full end-to-end solution, including the ability to build, integrate, publish, manage and analyze, while providing cross platform device support. And above all, these solutions must meet the strict enterprise SLAs and mobile asset management requirements, have full cloud hosting capabilities and integrate with back and systems.

That’s where the opportunity lies. Those are the kind of conversations we are having here in Barcelona this year. And it is those network operators which take advantage of the opportunity in the short term who will reap the biggest gains in the long term.

 

Mobile App Privacy Policy is a Smart Move

There are many stories in the wires recently regarding protecting personal information.   A reasonable approach to Personal information privacy is needed.  Unfortunately, Government policy may be needed to enforce it.

I believe user trust in privacy policies is essential for mobile adoption to continue its growth trajectory, especially in business-to-consumer applications.   However, privacy policy compliance should also be considered for employee based applications – since these employees are also citizens of countries that require data protection practices.   At the end of the day, your employees are consumers first, and they are likely to have the same concerns in the workplace as they do at home.  More than ever before, employees expect the same kind of experience at work as they receive in their personal lives – especially when it comes to mobile technology and privacy.

Many countries have had data protection laws on the books for years.  However, they are not being enforced to a large degree.  I expect that to change significantly in 2012.  For example, the UK has had a data protection act since 1998.  The EU has just recently – as of Jan 25, 2012 – drafted a new regulation for data protection that will supersede a prior policy.  Awareness has tipped and the mobile industry needs to pay attention to these laws and policies at the price of losing subscribers and users.

What type of information requires protection?  There’s a term for this – Personally identifiable information (PII):  Your identity, location, network address, payment info, phone numbers, vehicle tags, driver’s license number, date of birth, birthplace, national ID numbers, and more.   The current definition of PII does not address social network concepts so add to that list your social “friends” and their PII.  You can certainly understand how this data protection issue grows exponentially with the advent of cloud-based social apps and networks.  In the news just recently several social services, like Twitter and Foursquare have been caught gathering user contact info from their devices without direct consent of the user.  This has since been addressed to a degree but it’s a great example of the issue.

Device vendors, social networks, content providers, carriers, app developers and enterprises all have a role to play to protect consumers’ personal information.  I agree that this is required but a reasonable approach must be taken that provides sufficient protection and consumer awareness but is not “heavy” in terms of government regulation and compliance.

There’s a balance point here that the major industry players and government agencies must define and agree upon.  I applaud the recent Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, HP and RIM agreement with the AG of California.

And at Antenna, our platforms will continue to be compliant with the emerging policies across the globe.

Welcome to Oz

Just a couple days ago, Tony Rizzo, Editor in Chief of Mobile Enterprise Magazine, wrote a nice piece on AMPchromaTM our new cloud-based, mobile business suite that we announced on Tuesday.  The first thing that Tony wrote, which put a smile on my face, is “never let it be said that Antenna doesn’t enjoy its bit of marketing whimsy – well placed as it tends to be.”

Well, he is right.  As a marketeer – I love whimsy!  It’s why I got into the field in the first place.  Whimsy, by definition, is something that is both fanciful and odd.  It can be fun, strange, unexpected, and self-effacing all at the same time.  And when you work in technology, as I do, you need whimsy.  It breaks preoccupation and makes one stop and ponder things for a moment.  In today’s modern world where there is so much clutter, noise and companies fighting for share-of-mind, businesses need to speak in a different voice… they sometimes have to wear different hats and shake things up a bit.

Call it whimsy if you like.  I call it color.

Which brings me back to AMPchroma.  Why did we name our new product “chroma”?  Well, for you linguists out there:  chroma = color.  More specifically, it means purity or intensity of color.

Remember the first time you saw the Wizard of Oz and how jarring it was when Dorothy left the gritty, black and white world of Kansas and stepped through the door into the techni-color world of Oz?  Well, that kind of feels like where we are today.  Especially when it comes to mobile.

 

 

 

Mobile has been gray and gritty for years and years.  Dare I say going back to 1983 when the first wireless phone came on the scene? But in 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone to the free world, things changed forever.  We entered Oz …

The iPhone’s first act was on a consumer stage with a tsunami of apps geared for both gamers and goofballs.  (Remember iFart?).  But then people started walking their iPhones through the front door, right past security, up the elevator, and into the boardroom.

[A visible 'temple rub' was seen in IT offices around the business world.]

Let’s face it; apps have captured the imaginations of virtually every marketing group the world over.  If you don’t have an app you are a laggard of sorts… stuck in a business backwater… and perhaps at a serious competitive disadvantage.  But the mad dash to get an app built and launched into the app store has now settled into a realization that this stuff is hard work!

The new reality is that mobile isn’t just a project or a campaign.  It is the new normal.  It is essentially becoming the new computing platform and fabric that ties together all the systems, users, applications, content and more into a well choreographed business waltz.  Increasingly, people are tossing their laptops to the side and opting for smartphones and tablets, as proven out in sluggish PC sales at both HP and Dell, reported earlier this week.

AMPchroma strikes at the heart of this very issue.  It says: mobile doesn’t have to be complicated, scary and complex.  It doesn’t have to be a series of either/or choices?  Mobile doesn’t have to be black or white!  It is a colorful world of possibility and potential that needs to looked at holistically and well-managed.  It’s about capturing lightning in a bottle.

Covering the Full Spectrum

 

Just like there are seven shades of color in the visible spectrum, there are seven essential steps to mobilizing your business.  And each stage has its own cast of characters that have a stake in the game and a role to play.

At a high level, AMPchroma means different things whether you come from the technology side of the house vs. the business side:

  • For CIOs: AMPchroma allows Global 1000 CIOs to build, manage and measure a unified mobile strategy across the enterprise.
  • For Marketers and Business Managers: AMPchroma guarantees an easier, faster time to market for creating and publishing engaging content-rich mobile apps and websites.

BUT – both have a common goal in mind.  How can I accelerate my business with mobile?

What is AMPchroma?

Introducing AMPchroma

                  • It is the mobile cloud that helps you manage your ‘always on’ business.
                  • It is the SaaS layer that allows businesses to manage the entire mobile lifecycle from a single web-based console.
                  • It simplifies how you engage users with apps and content on any connected device — from phones to tablets to TVs — to drive greater profits through the mobile channel.
                  • It lets you easily create, publish and manage apps and websites and connect them to a suite of powerful cloud-based services. These services include content management, integration with web feeds and enterprise systems, distribution through branded storefronts, management and control of devices, apps and content, and sophisticated real-time analytics.
                  • It gives you the flexibility you need because your business requires you to be agile.  Let’s face it – things change on a dime these days and you can’t be tied down to expensive long term contracts.
                  • It gives companies the ability to control, measure, adapt and future-proof all of their mobile strategies for employees, partners, and customers in one place. Whether for one or one hundred apps; whether for 100 users or millions.
                  • It delivers greater productivity, connectivity and engagement for happier customers, partners and employees.
                  • Unlike previous AMP platforms that were organized around the technology stack, AMPchroma approaches mobility from the point of view of the myriad actors involved in the seven-act play. All design, development, management, and analytics. functionality are presented as a suite of software modules accessible from a friendly Web interface. Yes, Antenna has always been about cloud, but AMPchroma is the true culmination of an integrated, cloud-based platform for the 7 phases of the app lifecycle – Design, Build, Integrate, Publish, Run, Manage and Analyze.

Yes, the iPhone and iPad changed business in ways we never thought possible.  It showed us Oz.  It opened our eyes to a new way of conducting business and created new channels of growth.  But it is not just about Apple.  It’s also Android, Microsoft, etc. It’s not just mobile devices.  It’s multi-channel – laptops, handhelds, IPTV, M2M, It’s not just apps!  It’s videos, images, and other digital content.  It’s not just native, its web, hybrid, etc.  Mobile is a colorful place, and smart businesses need an integrated suite of software that recognizes how they operate.

It says:  You don’t have to manage mobile in silos anymore.  You can pay for what you use.  You can take as much or as little as you need.  It can grow with you.  It can be collaborative.  It can be secure.

In short, mobile can be a whole lot simpler.

On a Day Dedicated to Love, Three Things I Love About Mobile

While I only started really working in the mobility space five years ago or so, I had a beeper in 1997 and was stealing my mother’s Nokia 638 so I could call all my friends no matter where I was, so I like to consider myself a lover of all things mobile.  So on a day that is about appreciating the people and things we love, I thought I’d call out the three little things about mobile that make me swoon.

1. Access to information, anytime and relatively anywhere: With the exception of some dead spots of cellular service, mobile phones make it possible to access information pretty much anytime and from anywhere you want.  While the work-a-holic in me loves this for the ability to stay in touch via e-mail no matter the time, the fact-finding, must-always-be-right part of me loves that I can pull up Wikipedia or Google during any argument and quickly settle the case.

From a personal perspective it’s just exciting, but for businesses this has some pretty transformative powers for productivity and efficiency.

 

 

 

2. The evolution of devices has been nothing short of extraordinary:  I still marvel at some of the features and functionality we have on smartphones and tablets now.  I can remember thinking Snake on my Nokia was really cool, but Siri?  Mind-blowing.

And working in the mobile space, I know that there is a slew of even cooler things to come.  I truly believe that with advancements in machine-to-machine communication and mobile  devices we will one day have devices that do everything for us.  The jury is still out on whether  that’s going to be a good thing or not :)  Either way there are a lot of consoriums and organizations dedicated to the growth of this – one that’s interesting you should check out is Webinos.

 

 

3. The transformative nature of its impact on our lives: When forced to live without mobile devices, even for a short period of time, I can count at least 20 people I know that turn into absolute puddles, melting down as their connection to the world, their watch and sense of security have been stripped from them.  Mobility has changed the way we work, play, and has changed the things we love and how we discover them. There’s a wonderful quote about love that I’ve always enjoyed, that I think in some ways can apply to how mobile impacts us:

“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything…”

Comparing mobility to love might be a broad stroke, but in this context I think some parts ring true.  Mobile apps have changed how we find new restaurants and how we tell our friends about them.  They change the way people act and what they do with their friends.  

It used to be that the first thing many of us would do when arriving at a party or a bar would be to seek out our friends, shake hands and hug and then get a drink.  Today, most people will check in first on FourSquare or Facebook , perhaps hoping for a coupon to be sent to them automatically for a drink, and then will see who from their friends have already checked in.  That my friends, is transformative.

Mobility has given me a lot (least of all a job in this exciting and dynamic space), so on this Valentine’s Day, I want to share three little words with the world of mobile technology:

I love you