Qualcomm Sharpens Its Focus on Services; Roadmap Takes Shape Around Mobile Content Upsell, Dynamic Personalization, Recommendation & Mobile Advertising

Topic: Search | Author: Peggy Anne Salz | Date: April 11, 2008

In-Brief: A follow-up interview with Herbert Vanhove, Vice President & General Manager, Qualcomm Internet Services, Europe, which connects the dots in the company’s roadmap and puts the purchase of Xiam Technologies into perspective. Capturing a rich user profile could offer the foundation for scores of services we haven’t thought of yet…Herbert and I offer our pick. What services are on your radar?

When I reported in March that Qualcomm had snapped up Xiam Technologies — an Irish provider of targeted advertising, content discovery, and recommendations solutions for clients including Vodafone, Orange UK and O2 – I knew there was more to it. In my mind, the move clearly cemented the foundation of a new kind of Qualcomm, a company firmly focused on services and personalization – and not limited to the BREW value prop.

Without a doubt, Qualcomm has the corporate DNA for a full-force push into the delivery of targeted (dynamically personalized) content, apps and advertising. Consider the assets it accumulated when it acquired Trigenix back in late 2004. That IP became the basis for uiOne and has since evolved into a product portfolio combining a store-front, a home-screen replacement, and a skinning application that has been deeply integrated within Qualcomm’s BREW platform. Add Xiam, and Qualcomm has the bases covered to make its mark in mobile personalization, recommendation and targeting solutions. Xiam’s MPOS (My Personal Offers System) is software that enables operators to deliver targeted advertising/content to users.

But does Qualcomm see it that way?

After an hour briefing with Herbert I can now answer this question in the affirmative. Qualcomm Internet Services (QIS) “gets” it. What’s more, the company is gearing up to roll out more enabling services built from the ground up to deliver recommended content, apps and ads. (Special thanks to Richard George, Qualcomm’s professional and patient Account Manager at Hill & Knowlton, for rescheduling around my last string of business trips. He’s also put the wheels in motion for a deep-dive Q&A in early May with Andrew Gilbert, Executive VP & President of QIS, MediaFLO Technologies (MFT), and Qualcomm Europe – so please check back.)

During the briefing, Herbert told me the recommendation and targeting will be integrated into Qualcomm’s BREW solution and will likewise be a core component of BrandXtend, a Qualcomm offer focused on branded media, entertainment, music and game companies. A key aspect of BrandXtend is that it provides end users with a “platform for the discovery and delivery of compelling mobile content.” BrandXtend also sees Qualcomm collaborating with major brands. One deal that stands out is the 2007 tie-up with MLB Advanced Media, LP (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball.

Qualcomm will also market the recommendation and targeting solution as a stand alone offer and separate from BREW. As Herbert put it: “It will be business as usual at Xiam – particularly in Europe.” Beyond carriers there is also a greater focus on content providers and brands (off-portal). No doubt Xiam’s recommendation and targeting technology will play center stage in this marketing push.

What is the immediate focus? “From an immediate go-to-market perspective – particularly in the BREW space – the focus is on content upsell right now. It’s about getting to know the profile and interests of users to make recommendations for more BREW content. Brands and operators can apply [Xiam's] profiling and recommendation engine to sell more content and grow the addressable market.”

Herbert told me advertising is also an “important application area”, but the number one priority is upsell. “As carriers start to explore delivering ads to their users, then clearly we will be set up well to leverage the [MPOS] engine to recommending relevant ads as well.” Europe is where we’ll likely see an emphasis on advertising and a repeat of the pattern we saw earlier this year when Xiam launched its targeted advertising solution with Vodafone Ireland. (Vodafone Ireland is using MPOS technology to serve interactive third-party advertisements on their mobile Internet portal.)

It was helpful to have a briefing to draw the connections I knew existed in the QIS roadmap. But my conversation with Herbert also challenged me to think outside the box as we discussed the range of services he imagines could be improved by adding a more personal touch.

“Demographics, real-time content choices and preferences, how this changes dynamically throughout the course of an average day. The richness of a profile is a core asset that the MPOS engine can leverage to deliver targeted content and advertising.” But it doesn’t have to stop there. Herbert could envision a service based on this technology that recommends the right device to the right user. I suggested relevant, personalized health advice and services.

We had some fun and let our imaginations go – but one thing for sure: We shouldn’t restrict our thinking about recommendation and targeting to the usual mix of mobile content and apps. There are no limits.

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