Tuesday, January 17, 2012

KooKoo App Directory for voice services- Marrying the voice world with the mobile app world

As you know, we have a lot of developers building voice services on our KooKoo platform. Most of them have a problem of discoverability. Also, we were talking to several telcos and though most of them provide short code VAS services, remembering the short codes is a pain. One other problem was that building location based voice services currently is tough.

So we were trying to think of some innovative way in which to solve these problems and we came up with the idea of building a simple android app which provides a clickable icon for all these services. Though the idea is simple, we hope that this solves some major problems.

So we went ahead and hacked up "KooKoo Voice App Directory", an android app.(https://market.android.com/details?id=com.ozonetel.kookooappexchange).

At its heart, KooKoo Voice App Directory, is a contact directory application which tries to solve 3 problems.

1. Discovery: KooKoo has been a very popular platform for developers to build telephony applications. There are more than 1500 registered developers with a lot of innovative apps being built on the platform every day. This creates a problem of discoverability. Users do not know what services are available and also do not remember the phone numbers for those services. The mobile application provides a generic solution for this problem. Install the KooKoo mobile app to access all voice services without remembering the phone numbers. The service list will be updated regularly. We believe this provides a solution to all service providers also where there is a problem of finding and remembering the short codes of value added services. Providers, maybe, could install this app or an app similar to this on the SIM itself, so that the short code services come pre installed.

2. Innovation: Voice services are limited by the fact that they do not get enough information about the caller. All we get to know is the caller id and there is very limited information that we can extract from that. But in a mobile app we can get much more information about the caller including their location(with their permission, of course). An example of this is the weather app in the KooKoo app exchange. When the user dials the weather app, we playback the current weather based on the user location. The data channel is not used at all. Similarly, when you dial the ICICI bank app it automatically dials the city from which you are accessing the app. So location based services can be enabled for voice services. This innovative use opens up the door for a whole host of location based voice services. The actual idea behind this will be explained next week on our blog.

3. Monetization: Currently, all apps on the App exchange are free. But in the future we plan to enable paid apps as well. Developers can charge per minute credits to access their content. Users can buy pre paid credits from the KooKoo website and use the credits on the paid content apps. 

This is a very unique and innovative experiment we are trying out at Ozonetel and we hope this will democratize the mobile value added services space.

Or maybe some telco will figure out that KooKoo can provide a VAS platform for its developers ;)

A new way of viewing/designing voice solutions has been proposed and we hope more people take advantage of this to provide more enriching voice solutions.