Pierrette de Leeuw, Product Marketing Manager at Acision, urges mobile operators to embrace the open services framework model in order to leverage their unique assets
During this years Mobile World Congress, 24 operators, along with the GSMA, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG jointly announced the formation of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) - an alliance designed to build an open platform for delivering applications to all mobile phone users. The operators and the handset makers are committed to creating the applications ecosystem.
While this is undoubtedly a positive step for the industry, confidence in the success of the alliance has been less than enthusiastic, with industry analysts muting concerns over co-operation on such a large scale. Acision believes that an open platform is the right way to go, yet operators need to leverage the strengths of their network assets with the (application) services creation from their developer ecosystem.
Acision believes that the WAC could bring the potential for operators to create an environment for application and services developers, especially when leveraging the full breadth of their network assets and capabilities. The global nature of the alliance, and number of operator groups participating, will drive the standardisation the industry needs to ensure continuation of the value of applications purchased by their subscriber. To illustrate: if, today, a subscriber loses their iPhone, or after years of use decides to change the device for a Nokia phone, contacts can be easily migrated via the web or PC, and you can keep your same mobile number, yet the purchased applications, like navigation or office applications -costing between 5 - 100 are left useless on the old device.
The alliance will drive a single worldwide application and developer platform, offering device-agnostic applications and services. Acision believes that combining this with the capability to add unique assets to these services, like location awareness, subscriber identity and personal preferences assets that are often out of reach for applications developers today will enable them to orchestrate unique and rich data services, in a highly secure messaging ecosystem.
Open services framework
If the operators that join the WAC stick to just offering open access to their mobile network and subscribers, but fail to ensure a unique value add, there is a chance that this will drive them to become mere bitpipes. To ensure that operators will be able to add value, their messaging ecosystem should include an open services framework with a separate developer environment, for transparent services creation, and connectivity to messaging functions, as well as the unique network assets.
If the operator is able to disclose and manage these assets and intelligence, and provide these to third parties like service providers and developers, they can jointly offer better services to mobile users. This way, the messaging ecosystem also creates new revenue opportunities by enabling mobile operators to offer unique cloud services to Internet and enterprise customers, leveraging the unique mobile network assets.