Last week in Thailand, Dialogic held an event for our APAC customers. Although Dialogic is evolving to provide more and more service provider infrastructure products like Softswitches, SBCs and mobile backhaul optimization solutions, the technology enabling part of our business continues to remain vital and important. As such, it was natural for us to hold an “Innovation Panel” where we got a mix of Value Added Service (VAS) solution providers, Dialogic GMs and an analyst to discuss the VAS ecosystem. APAC has always been at the forefront of innovative VAS applications, being the birthplace (on Dialogic enabling technology of course!) of CRBT, Mobile Radio, Voice SMS and countless other VAS applications.
There were a few questions posed to the panel and below is a synthesis of the answers.
1. What kinds of partnerships are critical to service providers?
a. Partnerships that enable quick movement and action on their part.
b. Partnerships that drive more usage, including partnerships with technology providers because of the innovation and revenue-generation they can bring.
c. Partnerships that enable more modern pricing models.
2. What kinds of partnerships are critical to VAS providers?
a. Things are moving fast in the world, so VAS providers need to move fast with minimal resources. Therefore, analytics that help them understand what the customer base is doing with the deployed products would have the VAS providers provide even more innovation.
b. Partnerships with underlying technology providers (like Dialogic) are important since VAS providers cannot just view a technology provider like a vendor. The best relationships involve bi-directional vision discussions.
c. Content providers are also key. Because many VAS applications involve some kind of content (such as music or video) the VAS provider needs to have key business relationships with the content providers.
d. Partnerships with the service providers.
3. What kinds of innovations have occurred because of this model?
a. Most of the innovations have occurred because of this “best of breed” model. The many smallish, focused companies creating applications enable great competition and innovation. A service provider simply doesn’t have the time or focus to bring out innovations this quickly. A downside is that there are innovative applications developed that aren’t necessarily “revenue-generating.” They’re innovative, sure, but for whatever reasons they aren’t revenue-generating. But overall, there have been billions of dollars of revenue created because of this model.
4. In the OTT world, how important will VAS continue to be?
a. This ended up being an interesting topic. Smartphones enable more OTT and while OTT will certainly impact VAS, VAS will continue to be important. The actual Value-Added Services offered may change, but VAS importance will not. For instance if mobile devices become more and more of the on-ramp to the internet, then some VAS applications that enable advertising and payment or take advantage of location may be future growth areas. Just like the most successful innovative revenue-generating applications from the past, no one really knows until it happens. But having a great enabling technology base to develop the applications on is the key to any application’s success. That would be Dialogic software-based media server and signaling products going forward.