Is the mobile ad-based nav solution model workable in Europe?

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Appello will provide T-Mobile customers in Austria with its GPS navigation solution, WisePilot, which, according to Appello's head of account management, Peter Tyreholt, is already a multiple test winner in Austria, and the company will continue to work with local partners to extend the local presence and make Wisepilot the national navigation application in Austria.

Wisepilot gives T-Mobile's customers the full Austrian phone book with more than five million phone numbers from TelefonABC, the complete Austrian company register via FirmenABC, and information about the companies from Creditreform Österreich.

A subscription to Wisepilot includes quarterly updated map data from NAVTEQ.

The application will be distributed to customers via pre-installations on several T-Mobile handsets from RIM, HTC and Sony Ericsson. It can also be installed from the T-Mobile portals web'n'walk and t-zones.

Appello will also provide a mobile local search, mapping and navigation solution to Eniro Norway's Gule Sider® 1880 Navigation customers. The application is also based on Appello's WisePilot.

"We are entering a new geographical market and opening a new segment of the industry by working directly with a national leading directory search company," said Tyreholt. "Gule Sider is a very strong brand for mapping and local search on the web, and together we enable the natural next step by extending their presence with mobile local search and GPS navigation."

The Gule Sider 1880 Navigation application is fully integrated to all Norwegian telecom operators, and enables users to search for places, POIs, people and companies as well as phone numbers and addresses. It also offers maps, weather forecasts, driving directions and more. The service also includes quarterly map updates from Tele Atlas.

Initially, the application will be distributed via Eniro's web portal, Gule Sider (www.gulesider.no), the most used directory search and mapping portal in Norway with more than 5.5 million unique visitors per month.

"We feel we have established Wisepilot as Europe's leading operator-centric solution, and Appello's footprint continues to grow," said says Leif Sundström, vice president & general sales director at Appello. "We still see a very high interest in our solution from operators that wish to establish a strategic position on the navigation market with their own offering."

These deals with T-Mobile and Eniro show that operator-based navigation services through subscription is a business model with real potential. Appello now collaborates with eleven telecom operators in Europe:

  • A1 Mobilkom in Austria – Herold Wisepilot
  • British Telecom in the UK – Navig8
  • Eniro in Norway – Gule Sider
  • KPN in Holland – Kpn OpWeg
  • SFR in France
  • Sonera in Finland – Sonera Navigaattori
  • TeliaSonera in Denmark and Sweden – Telia Navigator
  • Telenor in Sweden – Telenor Navigation
  • T-Mobile in Austrie – WisePilot

Telematics Update's Thomas Hallauer spoke to Leif Sundström about the advertising model in Europe …

TH: Why do you thinkthe advertising model can't work in Europe?

LS: In order to attract the big global brands and advertising agencies and create an advertisement "eco-system" that really works (i.e. the ads must cover the cost of the solution so that all involved parties actually earn money), a large customer base has to be addressed. This means several million users, before the model holds any attraction for the global brands and ad agencies.

In Europe, we're about eighteen months away from this happening. Today, Appello offers all our operators an all-inclusive premium navigation service for which all our end-users are willing to pay. We do have a high retention rate in all our channels, and a rapidly increasing number of end-users coming with all the GPS-enabled handset entering the market.

We work with several of our customers and closely evaluate how the eco-system will be structured in this next phase, where we envisage the model will be a basic and premium offer.

TH: How much marketing and support do the operators give you in launching the service – really?

LS: All our telecom operator customers pre-install the solution that we have jointly developed, using Appello's turn-key platform, and localised it to each market and customer (i.e. changed the brand, integrated strong local content and integrated to operator billing and provisioning systems).

We support our customers with ongoing activities in retail magazines, in-store visibility and campaigns, SMS/MMS and web campaigns. We also support our operator customers with a dedicated key account manager. Together, this drives volumes and revenues – both for Appello and our operator customers.

We also team up with the handset manufacturers and each operator when new handsets are launched on the market, using their planned marketing campaigns to drive visibility.

TH: What is the key advantage from an operator perspective to work with Appello? (e.g. why do you think you are better than Nokia maps?)

LS: From an operator perspective, navigation is a key strategic service. It's targeted as the "killer app" within location-based services and the foundation for a coming LBS-portfolio of services. We see a clear trend that the operators have realised that they need to take an active decision and control of the future with this in mind. Nokia's activities have driven the market so far, but now the operators are aware of the importance of having their own control.

Appello's main advantages are:

  • We address the whole handset range from Nokia, Samsung, SonyEricsson, Blackberry, HTC, ZTE or operator-specific phones. We currently support more than 200 handsets with full navigation.
  • The current diversity of the pre-installed on handset navigation solutions is a problem for the operators and their customer care and retail personnel. By taking an active decision the operator both maximises his revenue (not only getting data download revenue, but also subscription revenues and control of the future potential like ad-revenue) and simplifies the end-consumer proposition.
  • Richer experience, with localisation being the main driver for user adoption and low churn. For instance, the Automobile Club of Austria recognised Nokia maps to be fifth best solution on the Austrian market, and our solution – Wisepilot – to be the best solution.
  • The local adaptation and integration of local content is key. Nokia's global solution can never be as rich as each of Appello's local solutions.

TH: Is Appello's application installed across Europe through the different deals the exact same version? If so, could you – at a later stage – pool all those users into one database and tell an advertising agency that you have x million subscribers across Europe instead of x thousand in different European countries?

LS: To reach premium rate, the advertising agency normally requires a local presence and local ads for a local community. For example, a customer having profile x shall have an xy offer within a specific part of London; this means that local ads needs to be handled by a local brand and structure.

However, the visibility of global brands in a solution could be handled by the entire WisePilot platform and framework.


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