Operators have a role in delivering a “curated” mobile app experience to customers, Lee Epting, Content Services Director of Vodafone Group, said during the App Planet Forum yesterday morning.
“Our job as Vodafone is really to help bring a quality component, and some of our unique enablers, into the purchase process, to provide a better experience for our customers,” Epting noted.
While in recent years the mobile app industry has been dominated by a discussion of the number of apps available and the total number of downloads, this is now changing as the industry matures. “I think the days of counting the number of apps and number of downloads has gone, and our customers are telling us that they are somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of choice they are facing on the smartphones they are buying,” Epting says.
In order to deliver the most appropriate content to customers, the subscriber data available to customers will become a vital tool. “The importance of having the customer information, the behaviour, the demographics, the purchase history, is going to become so important. The deep integration of the right recommendation and promotional solutions behind your shopfront is going to be key, as we move from this quantity into quality world.”
Among the other attributes that Vodafone can offer is integrated billing support. “We will be focusing on how we make our billing APIs more pervasive across our mobile footprint, and harmonising those APIs in a way that, for example, the OneAPI initiative is doing in the industry.”
Part of this “curation” of the mobile app experience includes quality control. “I can tell you that in our shop we vet a lot of Android content and it doesn’t pass the first quality test for a number of reasons. Either it’s accessing personal information of our customers, which they haven’t given their approval to do, or it’s failing because it simply just doesn’t work well on our network, ” she said.
Epting was also defensive of Vodafone’s earlier Vodafone 360 internet services effort, which was not a resounding success. “Vodafone 360 was a first brave attempt for one of the largest telcos in the world to get into the internet services space in a real way…It’s a process of iteration, as the saying goes you should fail fast and move forward. And we continue to iterate,” she noted.