App economy – Unveiling new avenues of business

The rise of the smartphone, along with applications (apps) that run on them is perhaps the biggest technical phenomenon in recent times. The dominance of this single digital device and its demonstration in our lives has concord to believe that, “The Smartphone has now really become the remote control for our lives, with plenty of happening things our way in just a single click”. There is a plethora of mobile apps to choose from i.e., playing game, tracking music, chatting with friends, exploring outlets or food joints or an enriching retail experience through mobile, thereby, giving a wide array of choices to the technology users. Approximately a million apps have already been created for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android alone, greatly augmenting the usefulness of mobile devices.

According to a U.S based company Media Agility, “App Economy’ is an umbrella term that essentially implies creation of a well-defined economic environment wherein third-party developers and companies design, develop and trade their apps on different platforms, like smartphones, tablet computing devices, Internet TV, social media sites, and any other platform connected to the web”

Apps can be classified as basic or generic ones which may be used across various industries, or industry specific applications

Basic mobility initiatives such as email, messenger, calendar, contacts, and tasks have already been implemented in many enterprises. Initially, these solutions were available only on BlackBerry/Windows devices, but other device manufacturers and platform vendors have simplified the implementation of these services, resulting in high adoption.

Generic enterprise mobility initiatives can be further classified on the basis of the different communication channels where they act.

  • Business to employee (B2E): improve the interactions between a business and its employees by connecting mobile workforce with enterprise systems e.g., field force automation, sales force automation, time management or billing, executive / corporate management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management
  • Business to business (B2B): improve relations between businesses by providing more control and visibility over inter business transactions by connecting with business partners and suppliers to improve the quality of service provided. Some examples include customer relationship management, order tracking, and mobile alerts
  • Business to consumer (B2C): improve communication between the business and its customers, allowing them to provide an enhanced customer service experience. They enable enterprises to reach consumers through a highly sophisticated communication device. Some examples include mobile payments, social networking, customer relationship management, consumer instant messenger, mobile advertising and mobile alerts
  • Machine to machine (M2M): apps that work between machines, monitoring and tracking physical and environmental parameters and communicating with other devices. They enable remote tracking of asset and monitoring of systems. Some examples include vehicle and asset tracking, telemetry, and smart home                                              
  • Industry specific applications enterprise mobility has brought about a transformational impact in the way industries look at their business. In the current scenario, enterprises have also found several applications of enterprise mobility which are unique to their own industries and sectors giving a steep rise to industry specific apps

    Initially, Apple introduced a unique and a profitable business model in the form of its App Store and it subsequently raised a lot of momentum by unfolding a huge opportunity for other providers in the smartphone industry – Nokia Ovi Store, Google Android Market, BlackBerry App World, Samsung Mobile Apps, are the established examples till now.

    Apps can be created by a single person, a group of friends, and a programmer or by a team in a small or a large company. Ultimately, the app market is built on three different layers of the ecosystem – A core company which creates and maintains a platform and an app marketplace, small or large companies that produce numerous apps and connected mobile devices compatible to run various applications.

    At an aggregate level, each app creation represents jobs – for programmers, for developers, for user interface designers, for marketers, for infrastructure providers, for integrators as well as for the supporting staff.

    India’s app market is huge and will continue to grow in the near future. The young entrepreneurship in our country is already jumpstarting product creation and app development. Along with large and established players like SAP, Salesforce etc, a number of SMB players such as RapidValue and Geodesic have created specific applications with an industry focus.

    While players like GoDB Tech, MobileOne, Rapidvalue are primarily focused on the application development space, at the same time, niche vendors such as inMobi and Komli have been successful in building cross platform solutions for their mobile advertisement network.

    The market will be unfolding immense opportunities going forward for the app developers and providers. The opportunity for Indian service providers in EU market is development of apps for smartphones and tablets, however, the APAC will be offering huge demand for vertical specific apps and integrated development of consumer and business apps.

    Opportunities in the app economy are endless, and now the key theme within the technology space is “How to capitalize upon them”??


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