Archive for the ‘Mobile Apps’ Category

A Report on MAC India 2009

November 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I had been to Mobile applications Conference India last week since I eager to check how much the enthusiasm is, for mobile apps development locally in India? There were around 800 people and there were also 15-20 exhibitors.  Sun Startup Essentials & Forum Nokia were present but we were missing an operator presence – the organizer SiliconIndia should make sure that they bring in an operator – they are many now – to hear their point-of-view. I am happy to see a ‘critical mass’ developing here in this area. There were:

  • Arvind Rao from OnMobile which is one of the leaders in this space currently.
  • Prakash Sayini from Forum Nokia.
  • Bakshish Dutta from Sun Startup Essentials.

There were other speakers from TCS, InMobi, TeleDNA, MChek, Navteq, Satnav, MapMyIndia, etc. The event was well organized by SiliconIndia. I have summarized the key points for start-ups in this space, as advised by the various speakers & panel discussions:

I have shared some of the keep points that were brought out by the speakers & also during the panel discussions:

  1. Indian consumers are value conscious and there are very few people using high-end phones. Understand the needs of the  target niche segment of users for your mobile app first – instead of just developing a ‘me too’ app.
  2. There is no one killer app, there are many killer apps for different user segments.
  3. Speech and not data is the lowest common denominator for most of the phones & users. Main reason why  OnMobile started to develop speech based apps first. Their techies had experience from Philips & Nuance projects in Infosys.
  4. Be patient – OnMobile was not successful immediately. At one point they were even thinking of closing the shop but fortunately they had VCs funds.
  5. Time-to-market is critical since lifecycle of apps is short. Also need to constantly think of improving the app. Developers & operators do not need to worry about micro-billing & micro-promotions since network-side platform provide those features.
  6. UI and UX are the two main factors of apps to create user ‘stickiness’. Arvind indicated the Phone Back-up product for cumbersome UI.
  7. User roles, identity & profiles is also important.
  8. ‘AppStore model’ has created a level-playing fields for developers. But whether we need to share revenue with operators even for apps which require the network only for download is to be questioned!
  9. Which kind of applications? Amit Mehta of TCS talked about ABCD – Astrology, Bollywood, Cricket & Devotional. LBS applications still hold some promise. Whether video-based apps hold any promise was a question from audience but it requires 2.5/3G  adoption which has not got much usage in India yet!
  10. Last but not least – give ESOPs to make the whole team part of the company growth.

Of course, there was a separate panel discussion on LBS – Navteq, Interchain Solutions, Satnav & mapmyindia executives. I was interested in LBS based apps for Elderly Caredomain back in my days at Inst. for Infocomm Research (I2R) in 2002.  BUT security & privacy are THE MOST important issues still to be addressed, this WIRED magazine article is an interesting read – covers both the good & the bad sides of LBS & also some incomplete solutions!!!

Categories: Mobile Apps