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Service Providers can succeed with HTML5 where they failed with WAC

HTML5 image.pngGuest post by Alain Decartes,  Strategic Software Initiatives Lead, Cloud and Service Providers , HP Software Marketing



It is always unpleasant to admit that you have been betting on the wrong horse, and unfortunately it has happened to me. In March 2011, following the Mobile Word Congress enthusiasm for the new trends, I wrote an article “How to WAC a Home-Run”. It was based on the promises made by the establishment of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), originally constituted by 20+ operators.


The main rationale behind WAC was to provide a consumer-centric platform that would have enabled Service Providers (SPs) to more effectively address their subscriber’s demand for apps. As a result SPs would have been better able to respond to the challenge of app stores that are depriving them of new revenue streams and pushing them further away from the customer. Instead they are faced with the cost burden of supporting users in the post-sales phase and having to deliver faster network connections (bit pipes) to bigger, fatter bit pipes to carry the app-generated traffic.


Unfortunately, the complexity of the business model and the lack of developer engagement caused it to fail. On July 17, 2012 the GSMA announced the dissolution of its Wholesale Applications Community, selling off the project’s assets ending a two-and-a-half-year experiment that very few in the industry predicted would succeed.


OUCH… A lot of egos were hurt! And here comes HTML5.


HTML5 is similar to the promises of WAC APIs:

  • It is a markup language for structuring and presenting content.
  • It is rapidly becoming the de-facto standard for creating applications and services that work across device categories and operating systems.
  • It is based on the principles that companies can’t get away with creating just one or two apps in the enterprise.

Every employee has a different set of daily and weekly workflows even if two employees use the same software as a service (SaaS) tools on a regular basis. Therefore, companies developing effective mobility strategies must plan to develop dozens, if not hundreds, of mobile apps. Multiply the number of apps times the number of operating systems a company supports and CIOs are looking at a seemingly unrealistic number of apps that need to be built.

The promises of HTML5 promises evolved very rapidly – especially in the mobile area:

  • Deployment across multiple platforms means you can develop once and use the same code in many different markets.
  • Widespread familiarity with HTML among developers and Web designers gives you a better shot at using your IT resources well.
  • The convergence of mobile, cloud and desktop apps favor the adoption of this standard versus native application.
  • The mobile broadband coverage is good nowadays, facilitating the adoption of the HTML5 app that requires reasonable connectivity.
  • The closing of the gap between native and HTML5 apps which now have the ability to detect a user’s location, store data locally on the device and access information on the device (like contacts and downloads).
  • It is easier for employees to work together while dividing project responsibilities to make the whole development process more manageable.

How can SPs position themselves in the mobile apps value chain with HTML5? Everyone knows about Android and Apple apps – and everyone is using them. So far, there’s no comparable market for HTML5 mobile apps.  

Here are the facts for Service Providers about HTML5 for enterprises:  

  • The enterprise app store is an entirely different story then the consumer market. It is about helping enterprise customers in their mobility strategy and securing mobile access to enterprise content and business transactions.
  • It is not about sharing revenue with the developer eco-system for apps such entertainment, social media or gaming. This was a business model that failed when SPs tried to implement it with WAC. SPs can count on the price premium that can be commended for enterprise applications compared to consumer apps, as well as the simple fact that SPs won’t be competing against Google and Apple in the enterprise app store market.
  • SPs could leverage their local presence and their existing relationship with enterprise customers and provide a secure container for applications and other tools.  These tools can include: application lifecycle management, developer collaboration, application testing and—if an enterprise wants to limit access to certain applications—authentication and security. All of which could be bundled with consultancy and connectivity to address the full mobile app lifecycle.
  • SPs can also provide access to SDK and leverage the API exposure strategies that many put into place for their consumer apps plans. This exposes network assets such as location, presence, and authentication to enterprises for applications such as fleet management and telemedicine.
  • With the rise of BYOD (bring your own device) in the workplace over the past couple of years, Enterprise IT must contend not only with secure mobile application management on company-provided devices, but for employee-owned units as well. It is important to remember that Mobile Device Management tools won’t efficiently manage and control the provisioning and access to mobile apps on BYOD smartphones and tablets! SPs can move their value offering from managing the device (a very crowded market), to managing the apps, the highest value-added services for them.

Mobile World Congress.pngHP’s mission in mobility is helping enterprises build a connected mobility environment by working with SPs and their customers to provide universal access to people, applications, and data.  Recently, the launch of HP Anywhere, which supports HTML5, is a move to make it easier for enterprise departments to develop, deploy and manage mobile applications that run on multiple devices such as Apple's iPad and iPhone and Android-based devices. HP has also released the online HP Anywhere Developer Zone where developers can access software developer kits, demonstration applications and other resources.

To learn more about how support and services from HP Software can help you deliver mobile applications through better management of each phase of the mobile applications lifecycle,  join us at the Mobile World Congress Application Planet - Hall 8 – Monday 24th February 9am – 1pm  or download the new HP business white paper, Mobilize apps confidently. A lifecycle approach for communications service providers 


Labels: software events
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