Tuesday, 11 December 2007

OVI: has Nokia declared war on the telco operators?

Last week saw the Nokia World Forum in Amsterdam. Apart from big ppts and beach parties, what really happened? http://www.lbszone.com/content/view/2653/2/ did a very comprehensive report. For me, there is a couple of points worthy of note:
  1. finally we get something to replace the shonky Nokia PC Suite: OVI, a dashboard for your digital life. Basically a webservice for Nokia users to connect, sync and collaborate their media whether its music, maps or videos. Its a social networking service too: sync your contacts and get collaborating and communicating. OK, its not a replacement; it does something different and its a massive step forward!
  2. free content: free music, free maps. Nokia did a deal for free music downloads for a year (along with their partner Universal Music Group) and you get free map data too (just pay for the data connection). This is a good start.
  3. gaming: I don't know for certain but Ovi for games will be great as long as they are not tied to one games publisher. There are lots of good games out there from a variety of companies.
So what does this mean?
"Web NG" or "web next generation" was an expression used at the conference. It means Web 2.0 plus context awareness. Basically, all the "C's" are important: context, collaboration, contacts, content. And OVI is Nokia's platform to deliver it.

Nokia is already the market supremo. And this puts Nokia even further ahead. Admittedly the inital OVI offering might be lacking but over time, they will build upon this platform, excite users and really take the battle to the telcos.
OVI is a webservice that encapsulates user generated media, encourages downloading and sharing and other properties of social networking has been in demand for quite sometime yet no other handset manufacturer has delivered this (at least I don't think they have).
Maybe its because no one is as big as Nokia and let's face it, you need resources, customers and a strong brand to move into telco territory.

Its all about who owns the customer. Who deals directly with the customer. Nokia's wide ranging, feature rich service is a breath of fresh air compared with the walled gardened, money grabbing approach of the telco operators. Despite Vodafone's presence, it was clear there will be battle ahead. Who knows best what the customer wants? Nokia's Smartphone 360 research made interesting observations and I don't think Vodafone agreed with them all!

Who owns the customer? Who deals directly with the customer? Telco operators watch out. Wifi connectivity will come. Now Nokia wants to deliver the content directly.

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