Heike Roettgers is a freelance internet and mobile consultant, helping agencies and start-ups with product strategy and roadmap planning, product concepts, product management and project management.
French mobile operator Bouyges Telecom is the third network in the country to become “quadruple play” – offering TV, internet, telephone and advanced wireless services. In order to push it’s Android product range and stand out from the competition, the operator has launched a brave new service called “ICI INFO” (“Here Info”), which features an Augmented Reality service. But is this operator running before it can walk?
What’s ICI INFO?
Augmented Reality (AR) is an exciting and developing field of mobile devices, where you use your phone to add a “layer” of information to reality. It’s a location-based service based around your phone’s camera and accelerometer. If the service knows where your phone is, and what direction it’s “looking” with it’s camera, then it can add information to the screen:
ICI INFO is an LBS search service, featuring local information, such as business addresses and transport information. The information can be displayed either on a map or through an AR camera view. Martin Kaiser, Director Roadmap Services, explained that Bouygues Telecom was the first operator in French to launch this kind of app. It has sourced an enormous amount of information from the French Yellow Pages and a service called Allociné, which provides program info and times for cinemas all over France. All a user needs to do is point their phone in the right direction, and they can see this info layered over the view in front of them. The app has had 150,000 downloads so far and shows good stickiness, retaining 80% of active users.
Bouygues Telecom’s goal was not only to push its Android phones into the market, but also to attract B2B customers for similar projects, such as car manufacturers. And according to Kaiser, this goal has been accomplished, as Bouyges is in talks with BMW and Renault.
The actual search functions of the app have created good buzz for Bouygues needed – but it doesn’t actually know whether the AR feature is being used, as it doesn’t track usage numbers.
What we think?
Cian here, taking over from Heike: Woah, woah, woah… Bouygues put the time and effort into creating an AR solution for mobile and then didn’t track it’s usage? Good analytics are of paramount importance on mobile – if you don’t know how many people are using your service, and how they’re using it, then you might as well not have launched it in the first place. Services that have become successful on mobile – for example, Flirtomatic – put a crazy amount of resources into analysis and quantifying their audience, and their audience’s behavior. They then implement that information in regular updates to the service, in order to keep slightly ahead of what their audience. Mobile moves so fast that you have to do that kind of thing to stay relevant.
So, one the one hand: congrats, Bouyges – this looks like a good search service, and it was a ballsy move to be the first operator to go AR.
On the other hand: you really dropped the ball on your lack of AR analytics.
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