Is industry collaboration really possible?

Is industry collaboration really possible?

Anurag Patraik

Anurag Patraik

Anurag Patraik, director of product management for context-aware mediation and messaging solutions provider, Openwave Analytics, on collaboration.

One of the hot topics at Mobile World Congress this year was collaboration. During the show we learned that 24 of the world’s largest mobile operators, representing three billion customers worldwide, signed an agreement to create an open platform for application developers. The Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) is designed to make it easier for developers to build and sell apps “irrespective of device or technology.”

That announcement really set a tone for this year’s show. While I was there I had lots of interesting discussions with people about the importance of collaboration to really get the mobile advertising market off the ground.

Long way to go

At Mobile World Congress in 2008, everyone was talking about advertising and its ability to transform the economics of the mobile industry. However, that promise hasn’t materialised yet. Most media buyers still view mobile as something for that extra bit of budget, and not worthy of much strategic marketing focus. While there have been several very notable exceptions of operators who have made real headway with advertising, namely Turkcell and Vodacom, the rest of the industry still has a long way to go.

 

It appears that one of the main stumbling blocks is a lack of consistently reliable analytics data which advertisers can trust as they build targeted campaigns. If, for example, advertisers were able to get aggregate analytics data, it would help them see consumers at an industry-wide level as opposed to just seeing users through each operator’s network. Aggregate subscriber data coming from cooperating operators would help promote a much more compelling proposition for advertisers which would benefit the entire industry.

 

Learning from history

History has shown us that collaboration within the mobile industry can be difficult even during the best of times. Indeed, instances of collaboration have occurred only under the threat of regulation. But, if the industry were to come together to agg

regate a unified data picture for media buyers, it could really be the tipping point for the mobile advertising industry. Such collaboration doesn’t preclude fierce competition. Operators can still use detailed analytics insight to promote their network to media buyers, and could also differentiate on the levels of targeting they provide. Operators will need to invest heavily in analytics to build detailed insights into their customer base, as this will ultimately be the mechanism to attract advertisers and generate revenue in the long term.

 

Competitive differentiation

It’s just about finding the line where collaboration will be important to make the case to the whole of the industry, while still using detailed analytics for competitive differentiation.

Openwave Systems is a global software innovator delivering context-aware mediation and messaging solutions that enable communication service providers and the broader ecosystem to create and deliver smarter services. www.openwave.com