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The Stifling Effect of the Vertically Integrated Operator

The Wall Street Journal has a very interesting article this week by Jason Fry looking at how mobile phones could be used to provide local information to users on a real-time basis. Armed with GPS, a compass and some nifty software from GeoVector, a mobile phone could be pointed at an object and:

  • Show a map of it and its surroundings.
  • Show information about it that is contextually relevant to the user (especially if the user’s preferences are already known.
  • Allow the user to play games in a real-virtual world based on local surroundings.
  • etc, etc.

The possibilities are limited only by the quality of the service provider’s information database (which presumably would be the web + some proprietary providers) and the quality of their CRM system.

Sounds like a dream? Well, it’s available in Japan.

So why not Europe and the US?

The Director of New Media at Geo Vector, Peter Ellenby, blames it on the vertically integrated business model of the operators which prevents applications and services like Geo Vector from being made available on US devices:

“the carriers need to be a lot more creative in how they deal with content and application makers in the U.S., I think, for things to take off over here.”

Now wouldn’t a service like this stimulate more calls…?

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