Earlier today, IDC announced their study identifying 10 emerging players to watch in 2007. The companies that IDC has chosen to highlight as emerging players to watch for 2007 are (in alphabetical order) Dexterra, Firethorn, GoGoMo, GrandCentral Communications, InnoPath, iSkoot, JumpTap, mFormation Technologies, Sonic Branding Solutions, and TeleNav. I have talked to many of them in the past and have also written about some.
Yesterday, I sat down with Jeff Davis, CEO and founder of GoGoMo to talk about Content Interoperability – a significant problem in the mobile content space that needs to be solved quickly. First, let’s address what “content interoperability” means. Currently, most operators operate in content silos, i.e. ringtones, graphics, video, songs, etc. this is how the industry evolved and people just slapped another storefront or database to sell the goods. Very little was done to cross link these databases or pieces of content. As such it has been quite difficult (and a missed opportunity really) to cross-promote, cross-refer across different types of content silos. This is when we are talking about the same carrier. What if, i want to send a ringtone that i like to my friend who happens to be on another carrier. Taking this further, what if i want to send a song that i just listened to on my phone to a friend who is on a laptop. How do you keep track of content across carriers, networks, devices, and channels without inflicting complexity on the user and honoring digital rights? I dealt with this issue quite a bit in my work in 2006. There are a number of approaches one can take to resolve the conflicts across different dimensions but really the solution needs to be agnostic of any variables and just worry about content. Several companies are also trying to address the superdistribution issue, a way to tie all applications and services so that i can share any piece of content with anyone across the board.
GoGoMo has been working on the content interoperability problem for past few months and they have a digital content registry system that allows for maintaining a tag in their meta-data framework that allows to track the lifecycle of the content piece for a given user(s).
Of course, it takes two (or more) to tango. The value of this registry depends on how many (heavy weights) use it. It is something that carriers need to promote and come to an agreement amongst themselves on format, standards, rules, etc. Instead of deploying point solutions, one needs to take a more holistic and long-term view of the problem or else, we would be designing the solution again in a few months.
Mobile Content Interoperability will be a key issue to resolve in 2007 and we will be tracking it closely.