New Apps Ecosystem Initiative Opens Developers' Path to SPs


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New Apps Ecosystem Initiative Opens Developers' Path to SPs

  1. 1. Vol.2, No. 1 | JaNuary 2004 A BroAdBAnd InformAtIon resources Inc. Publication Vol.2, No. 1 | JaNuary 2004 A BroAdBAnd InformAtIon resources Inc. Publication may 2010 strAtegIc InformAtIon for the BroAdBAnd mArketPlAce New Apps Ecosystem Initiative Opens Developers’ Path to SPs sive, pan-carrier approach to engaging devel- Alcatel-lucent Puts API opers eliminates the tedious, costly process Bundles in Play to support of going from one carrier to the next to build reasonable exposure for their apps. A-L does multi-carrier App footprints a lot of that heavy lifting by negotiating with carriers to make their valuable data resources available to developers through a bundle By Fred dawson of A-L developed APIs that integrate with N the vendor-specific APIs surrounding various etwork service providers may data bases within each carrier domain. finally be ready to remove the “Alcatel-Lucent has found an elegant way bottlenecks to doing business to help service providers and application with applications developers that and content providers benefit from the new have kept them from exploiting model of application development – merging the types of opportunities that network capabilities with the agility and inge- have transformed many aspects of the mobile nuity of thousands of Web developers,” says business. Elisabeth Rainge, a director at IDC. “The Over the past year carriers and even some company’s holistic end-to-end approach to MSOs have moved from fence-sitting attitudes application enablement can help service pro- about whether building efficiently operating viders to reassert their value proposition in Jeff Cortley, VP, product & solution app storefronts makes good business sense the Web 2.0 value chain and beyond.” management, Alcatel-Lucent to widespread recognition that there’s a huge This is something new from the perspective opportunity in this arena, says Jeff Cortley, of a major supplier taking on such an effort are beneficial to both sides. The app develop- vice president of product and solution man- with the aim of serving network service provid- ment platform unlocks network resources agement at A-L. “Once the iPhone app store ers’ requirements across all service categories. and functionality for use in cross-platform phenomenon took hold the conversation shift- “We are helping service providers find new environments much as smartphone app stores ed to where carriers began announcing devel- ways to fully exploit their resources, including have done for the device world, Cortley says. oper programs and roadmaps for exposing location, presence, preferences, address book, “Carriers have a wealth of information, their APIs (applications program interfaces) quality of service and payment, by exposing their crown jewels, really, that can be used to for developers to use in building applications such capabilities in a managed and controlled create value-enhancing applications and ser- for carriers’ app stores,” Cortley says. way,” says Kenneth Frank, president of Alca- vices for customers, but getting to that infor- A-L, whose Applications Enablement tel-Lucent Solutions and Marketing. mation has been extremely difficult owing to group started out a year ago trying to evan- “Our Open API Service eliminates the carriers’ understandable desire to control how gelize the idea at a strategic level, soon found inconsistent policies, practices, requirements it’s used,” Cortley says. “Subscriber profiles, customers were ready to talk about the specif- and capabilities across multiple networks that transaction histories, contextual informa- ics of how to capture “the long tail of devel- make application development a costly and tion about where and when subscribers are opers and drive their applications through lengthy process,” Frank adds, noting that all accessing services – these are tremendous to carriers,” Cortley says. “We’re having an this is done “while protecting the integrity assets which carriers want to make better use amazing amount of interactions with carriers and reliability of the network.” of than they have in the past.” at every level about how we can support their A-L has been bringing various components The traditional approaches to making such application stores through our API exposure of its initiative to market over the past several information available have been intimidat- and bundling concepts.” months through a series of announcements, ing and costly to developers, who find it These concepts represent the core of the the latest of which points to the bundling of much easier to focus their efforts in the Web apps enablement business A-L has developed the APIs along with a new revenue sharing domain, resulting in lost revenue and service- apart from its traditional product and services model that allows developers and service pro- enhancement opportunities for network ser- portfolios. The company says its comprehen- viders to quickly set terms of engagement that vice providers, Cortley notes. “The carriers
  2. 2. news currents sp strategies have put a lot of impediments in front of conversation Cortley had with executives into the program.” developers in terms of the upfront costs of at a large pharmaceutical company. “They By going to conferences like South by utilizing those capabilities,” he says. have a lot of information relative to their Southwest where carriers don’t normally “For example, if I’m a developer and a product catalogue which they could leverage interact with developers the A-L team is carrier chooses to open up an API there’s a in applications for care givers and consumers uncovering a wealth of valuable informa- licensing fee which might cost me $2,000, in highly specialized niche areas,” he reports. tion about the possibilities that might other- and then there’s a certification fee I have to “For example,” he says, “if they could wise go unnoticed in the telecommunications pay the carrier for demonstrating I’m doing know where asthmatic patients are they world, he notes. “Talking with developers at everything right, which might cost me another could send out alerts about factory emis- ideation seminars we’ve come away with couple of thousand dollars,” Cortley explains. sions in specific locations or which trails thousands of ideas, some good, some not so “So if I’m a developer with a cool app target- not to hike when pollen counts are high. Or good,” he says. “Publicizing and advertising ed to a special niche and I have to go through maybe they want to give diabetics access to what the possibilities are to both constituen- a multitude of such transactions to get to a information about which items on restaurant cies is part of the value chain we’re helping large segment of my targeted audience, I’m menus are suited to their dietary require- to address.” going to be drawn to the over-the-top venue.” ments, possibly with interfaces to reviews. Beyond uncertainties over how to mete A-L’s first vertical API bundles include And to reach as many people as possible out more sensitive subscriber information, three social bundles supporting the creation within these types of categories they need a huge barrier to app ecosystem develop- of new mashups in the rapidly growing to be sending out this information for access ment is the limited degree to which net- social gaming, advertising and virtual goods on all devices.” work service providers have managed to markets. Collectively, the APIs included are At this early stage in the emergence aggregate their data internally to make it SMS, advertising, location, virtual goods, of a carrier application ecosystem there easily accessible for multiple uses. “When credit card and billing. These bundles target are many barriers to reaching the level I have a conversation with a CIO one of the two fastest growing app markets, mobile of ubiquity and granularity represented in the first questions I ask is, who’s your data advertising, projected to exceed $3 billion the pharmaceutical example. For example, architect?” Cortley says. “Often the answer by 2013, and virtual goods, which already because carriers have yet to work out how comes back that all the data is still silo’d. is generating $4-$6 billion annually world- they want to share subscriber information, There’s no one person with overall respon- wide, according to A-L. most of the early applications in play around sibility for consolidating and logically inte- “Any one API may have value, but it’s the A-L app enablement platform are tied to grating data resources.” limited if you can’t combine the information use of location-based information, which, Subscriber preferences, their service accessible through that API with other infor- given the GPS phenomenon on mobile, is profiles, what type of access network mation through other APIs,” Cortley notes. considered more or less a commodity-level they’re on and at what data rates, data “For example, I can obtain location infor- data resource. from IDAP directories and relational data mation for my app, but that’s only worth so A typical case in point involves a devel- bases – the list of disjointed resources is much. If I can combine location information oper, Agent 511, specializing in municipal long. “All this information needs to be with other subscriber data and match that up government services, which has created an aggregated into a composite record and with data from enterprise catalogues [listing app that can identify the location of people offered with the right restriction so you a particular suppliers’ goods and services], I who text messages to authorities reporting don’t compromise subscriber privacy and have the pieces I need to put together com- on broken parking meters, bad potholes and you expose only the information you want pelling apps for multiple niche markets. And other problems. “As another example, we exposed for any given internal or external when you add the third leg to this, which is have someone offering an airline concierge use,” Cortley says. the monetization APIs you need for advertis- app, which tracks people who sign up so A-L has made considerable progress ing, couponing, direct sales, etc. you’ve cre- that it can deliver messages to people in toward facilitating such aggregation through ated a lot of value for the developer and for proximity to a given airport telling them its subscriber data management solutions, the consumer.” there will be someone waiting for them with which it says have been deployed with more Other key elements to the applications a boarding pass or meeting them at their than 200 customers to manage more than one marketplace A-L is putting into place are the arrival gate to help them with local informa- billion subscribers worldwide. Of course, not virtual sandbox where develops can access tion,” Cortley says. all these customers have achieved complete the API bundles for non-commercial use in a “We also have a bunch of retailer coupon- integration of all elements, but there’s clearly non-commercial environment and the dash- ing apps,” he adds. “They ask people on their an accelerating trend in this direction, as board through which developers can perform customer lists to join a service that lets them attested in revenue projections for subscriber real-time analysis of application activity and know they can get information or a discount data management systems issued by various revenue potential. by going in to buy something when they’re in research firms. “We’ve created an end-to-end horizon- proximity to a store.” For example, Frost & Sullivan reports that tal platform that goes into carrier networks A-L’s Applications Enablement team is in 2009 total world SDM market revenues to expose APIs, manage interactions with putting a lot of its efforts into educating reached $1.73 billion, representing a 31 per- developers, license APIs, manage onboard developers on the opportunities that come cent increase over 2008. The researcher proj- apps and do billings and settlements,” Cort- with engagement with network service ects SDM revenues will top $2 billion this ley says. “We eliminate the upfront fees and providers. “We’ve dedicated consider- year and reach $2.78 billion in 2012. provide the mechanisms for participants to able resources to calling on developers “I think carriers realize now that if prorate percentages based on which APIs are over some period of time,” Cortley says. they rely on their own innovations they’ll generating the most transactions.” “Some of the people we’ve recruited in be left in the dust,” Cortley says. “They The transformative potential of an appli- the past few months come from companies have to be in a position t ride the wave of cation distribution ecosystem that operates who are in this field, and they’re leverag- innovation that’s going to occur out in the in this manner was illustrated in a recent ing their contacts to recruit developers Internet ecosystem.” ■