Verizon Wireless: App discoverability becoming a problem on smartphones
Development options and consumer choice are no longer the issue, according to VZW’s LTE ecosystem chief. But sorting through all of those apps is.
SAN JOSE -- There are now 200,000 apps in the Android Market. The iTunes App store has even more. Meanwhile, BlackBerry App World is growing quickly and the number of independent app stores and retail channels is expanding as well. There are plenty of options for Verizon Wireless’s (NYSE:VZ, NYSE:VOD) smartphone customers to get applications and content regardless of what platform they use, said Brian Higgins, executive director of LTE ecosystem development at VZW. The problem, he said, is now one of discoverability.
“We’re pretty good on options for apps—the key is going to be discoverability,” Higgins said today, speaking at Ericsson’s Business Innovation Forum in Silicon Valley. “You have to make sure discoverability is exceptionally easy, both for what we have now what’s coming out in the future.”
In an interview after his speech, Higgins said customers are having trouble navigating the ins and outs of apps stores, particularly on the Android and BlackBerry app stores since they don’t have the tight integration that Apple’s iPhone has with iTunes. And even when those customers learn the ropes, distinguishing between the thousands upon thousands of apps available and identifying the apps they’d gain the most benefit from using is are becoming increasingly big problems, Higgins said.
Ultimately some kind of solution that brings the most popular and useful apps to a customer’s attention will be necessary, and a solution that distinguishes between different types of customers would be ideal, Higgins said. The apps most useful for a guy who owns his own plumbing business are different from those most useful to a teenage social media fiend—though they’re definitely some apps on which they might find common ground.
Higgins said VZW is trying to solve the discoverability problem in several ways: it is bundling apps with its carrier services such as VZ Navigator and V Cast Music. It’s encouraging developers to submit their apps directly to the V Cast App Store, creating a boutique market for Verizon customers that cuts through the clutter of the platform app stores. But Higgins said one of its most effective efforts has been direct face time with its customers at its stores.
“Literally, it’s all about engaging with the customer at the point of sale,” Higgins said. Sales associates can help a new smartphone customer set up an app store account and point them to some of the most popular and useful applications available. The plumber might be directed to expense management app, while the teenager would get the rundown on Twitter’s mobile app.
Verizon isn’t the only operator that has identified discoverability as an issue. Sprint (NYSE:S) launched a major initiative called Sprint ID last year for its Android phones, which allows customers to download bundles of applications built around themes. A music ID, for instance, would give a customer Sprint Music store, Pandora and other streaming and entertainment applications (CP: Sprint tackling the problem of app discoverability).
Higgins also said that HTML5 mobile development is starting to get its legs. VZW hasn’t yet started offering HTML5 apps through the V Cast store, but Higgins said there is a lot of activity going in VZW’s innovation lab on the browser-based app front. He wouldn’t reveal any timeline for introducing those first HTML5 apps.
HTML5 will present VZW with its first opportunity to push out its network application programming interfaces (APIs) to the broader development community. Though the apps will run in the mobile browser, developers working directly with VZW or coming to the carrier through the Whole Application Community initiative will be able to tap directly into Verizon’s messaging and location APIs and eventually into more network features.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
In this Webinar you will learn how to create a real-time relationship with your customers, how to proactively improve the customer experience, and how to successfully target and cross-sell services to boost incremental revenue.
- Megabytes to Megabucks, Bandwidth to Business Models: How 4G Is Changing Everything
- How to Unplug Your Redundant Telco Apps To Save Money and Improve Efficiency
- When IaaS Isn't Enough: Service Provider Business Models to Drive Growth and Build Margin
- How to Transform Your Aging Telco Voice Network to Drive New Profits and Revenue
- Creative Licensing Approaches for Telcos & Their Network Equipment Vendors
- Smart Home Opportunity: Balancing Customer Data & Privacy
This paper discusses the rise of Diameter and benefits of Diameter Protocol.
- Conducting The Orchestration – Order Management at the Speed of Business
- Toward a Converged Network Edge
- Beyond Spam – Email Security in the Age of Blended Threats
- 6 Important Steps to Evaluating a Web Filtering Solution
- The Expertise to Protect You from Botnet and DDoS Attacks
- Seeing is Believing – Bridging the Order Visibility Gap
Service providers are under tremendous pressure to turn up new services faster then before and, at the same time,
to do it at less expense - and intra-office fiber is one of the biggest challenges in terms of both cost and service
From the Blog
Join the Discussion
Get more out of Connected Planet by visiting our related resources below:
Connected Planet highlights the next generation of service providers, as well as how their customers use services in new ways.Subscribe Now