It is said that Africa is the last frontier in many ways, having vast resources yet untapped or undiscovered. This rings true on many levels when looking at the amount of knowledge inherent in our culture and history. In this day of increasing access to the internet and growing numbers of mobile subscribers, an ecosystem that supports the creation, aggregation, distribution and consumption of content has been created. This newly created markets are heavy consumers of content as shown by research, with many in Africa accessing the internet for the first time on a mobile device in their quest for content. It has been unfortunate though that a lot of the content consumed is foreign in nature; using the term loosely to mean not originated from Africa or being targeted to the African audience. Continue Reading…
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Factors that govern the economics of service and product delivery are the same across different industries and sectors. To draw a parallel with the mobile industry and give perspective, it is said to be more expensive per unit to transport goods within Africa than it is to Europe. Poor infrastructure by way of dilapidated or nonexistent roads, railway lines with different gauges, poor logistical planning and business models have made intra Africa trade a costly nightmare. Plans to address this have been floated, with the ideas being a focused on consolidated pan-african road and rail networks.
So how does this related to uptake of local content on mobile? In the rapidly changing world of technology, mobile network operators introduced mobile data, that has seen an increase in the consumption of services brought about by increased mobile phone utility. With this increased uptake, there has also been an increase in the demand for services that rely heavily on mobile data. This has seen all mobile network operators invest capital to own shares in the various undersea cables that connect us to the rest of the world to reduce reliance on satellite connectivity that is expensive. This initial surge by consumers on mobile data was driven by the need to access information and content which more often than not was created or resided outside the country. According to the State of the Mobile Web report released in July 2012 by Opera, the top 10 visited properties are Facebook, Google, Twitter, Waptrick, Tagged.com, Eskimi, Goal.com, BBC, Nation and Wikipedia. Of these properties, only one would be considered local, and I think differently about the social networks on the list as they would probably dominate the ranking in other countries as well . Continue Reading…
Most technology start-ups die within the first five years. Sadly, many entrepreneurs fail to re-invent their ideas and end up being overtaken by time.
Mobile Planet Ltd, a local technology company has survived for 10 years. The entrepreneurs behind it, Karanja Macharia, Nyanjiru Macharia and Kigen Kandie say it has not been a smooth ride; they had to come up with new ideas every other day.
Mobile Planet is a licensed premium-rate services provider, delivering the now popular short-code SMS service in competitions, news, entertainment, chats and ring tones. For the last decade, they have been creating customized mobile solutions that mobile networks and corporate clients use to connect with the growing number of mobile users in Africa.
One thing that ails technology start-ups is the inability to transform great innovation ideas to profitable businesses. Before 2001, Karanja who is a Computer Science graduate had tried several other software ideas, all had died as soon as they were born. Continue Reading…
Mobile strategy for a business is not one of those things that you can cover extensively in one post, but I figured I could at least give you a primer on some of the things that you will need to think through when creating it.
With everyone jumping onto the mobile apps bandwagon, the decision makers will be forgiven for being clueless about where to begin or even what would provide best fit for their operations given that agencies are also not doing a good job of education.
Many are just getting to realize the impact of web and the mobile story may be a bit too heavy to digest. As the year comes to a close and we begin to strategize for the coming year for our business operations and looking at how to connect in more meaningful ways with our consumers, mobile needs to form a key component of digital strategy.
In the same way that the web ecosystem evolved, you may want to take baby steps to discover what mix works best for you as well as ease into the whole environment. This process includes looking to see if mobile is necessary in your customer experience and what assets are available for mobile consumption – think product information, alerts etc.
Perhaps the mobile strategy will be inward facing, looking to improve certain parts of your internal business. Strategy goes deeper than application and, mobisite deployments and has to link back to deliverables that impact your bottom-line in one way or another. Continue Reading…
The tariff wars between the mobile operators was bound to have a resounding effect at some point in time, with the day of reckoning coming by way of Safaricom announcement of their half year results that saw a 47.4 percent dip in half year net profit to Ksh 4 billion. Traditional voice and messaging has in the past been majorly peer to peer and served as the cash cow for mobile network operators. With consumers calling for lower tariffs on both these fronts, mobile network operators are having their work cut out for them, if the plum profits they have enjoyed in the past are to remain constant.
TNS Research International East Africa released a report last year dubbed – Digital Life 2010 that looked into what Kenyans are doing online. That alongside other research can help in determining where to place effort and financing toward the creation of compelling new services for mobile network operators. What is important though is that this innovation need not come from within the operators but they should look to the growing local developer community.
My growth area forecasts are as follows.
Increasingly people want to be able to stay connected and communicate with their friends on Facebook anytime, anywhere,” said Henri Moissinac, Head of Mobile Business, Facebook. “Gemalto has developed a creative solution in Facebook for SIM that enables people without mobile data plans to stay connected to their friends on Facebook in an affordable way.
A new technology developed by digital security firm Gemalto will soon see Facebook, the world’s most popular social network, coming to any mobile phone handset, regardless of whether it has a data connection or subscription.
Facebook integration comes by way of its Facebook for SIM service, which embeds the Facebook software application into the SIM card. This means that the client will be 100% compatible with any mobile phone that uses a SIM card for its carrier connectivity.
The experience won’t be as visually aesthetic as it would be if you were accessing the social network on your smartphone but Gemalto’s solution will still be able to deliver friend requests, status updates, wall posts and messages. Users can sign up for the service and log into their accounts directly from the SIM application and notifications can be delivered to the phone’s screen to display any messages, events or posts shared on their friends’ walls. Continue Reading…
When thinking about reaching out to the mobile consumer, we tend to gravitate more to the obvious use of sms – either directly via bulk messaging or shortcode. There has been a market for hawking lists and databases locally that has seen many hapless Kenyans spammed silly with non – opt in, non targeted marketing material.
Email seems to have slipped to the back burner as many may not have noted mobile device manufactures adapt their devices and software to cater for mobile email.
That various social networks have over one million Kenyans registered; it very well means that there are the same number of active email addresses with real people behind them waiting to be engaged. The social networks have also primed consumers for alerts via email as practically all actions that occur on their platforms are communicated back via email.
However, the rules of engagement are not far off from what we have seen adopted for the more ubiquitous messaging channel that is sms. The key challenge with email, is that delivery may not be guaranteed and if delivered, it may not be opened by the target consumer. The obvious advantage of email over sms is the amount of information you can disseminate and the ease of retransmission of your message to the social graph.
So how do we ensure that email is plugged back to our consumer communications? Continue Reading…
Mobile technology has grown tremendously over the past decade with devices becoming smarter and faster and the supporting technologies improving by the day. With increased capabilities of mobile phone handsets, there is growing demand for content that can be downloaded or streamed.
The growth in this demand and the availability of the supporting technology such as 3G, opens up huge opportunities for the local film industry.
The local film industry can explore the potential of mobile devices as an outlet for content consumption and discovery. The modern lifestyle is one lived on the go, and to fully leverage this, the industry can create “bite sized” pieces of content that mobile subscribers can consume on their mobile devices – mobisodes.
At the ‘Mobilize 2010’ conference in San Francisco on Friday the 1st, Orange announced its “Open Source Mobile Widget Platform” that is now available to the mobile industry. The Open Source Mobile Widget Platform is a technology developed by Orange Labs that enables web-based mobile apps to be developed for all mobile devices, ranging from the lowest to the highest form factors All telephone manufacturers, integrators, developers and operators can access the technology on http://github.com/osmwp in the coming weeks.
the Open Source Mobile Widget Platform includes:
- a ‘widget reader’, already integrated into millions of Orange mobiles throughout the world
- server technology that enables management of a catalogue of widgets
- tools for creating widgets, documentation and examples of code Continue Reading…