Editor’s Note: This is our second piece on the just concluded WCACom 2012. We already shared some photos from the event, and thanks to @Ajibz who was a member of a panel at the conference, he did a brief recap of the conference which you can read below:
The WCACom conference brought together players in the West African telecommunications space, ranging from telecom operators to content creators and application developers. Companies that serve telecoms infrastructure and deliver bandwidth were also present.
WCACom 2012 Winner: Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX)
This seems to be the most recent technology that was widely talked about. It is an upgrade over traditional IP services with higher QoS, especially when transmitting voice and video services over data. The most prominent company supporting this service is Sybase365. They have the capacity to deliver voice data across continents and also over IPX.
As regards to delivering voice data, Sybase356 says users would need to get the connection from the networks ( e.g SMPP) so as to be able to handle traffic and in turn guarantee quality.
L-R Serigne Barro (People Input), Allasne Demme (Nelam Services), Ajibola (myCash)
Content Developers on the Developers Panel
The emerging frontier for content on mobile is focused on video. It is already accounting for a high amount of internet traffic and is estimated to be 80% by 2015 of all internet traffic. Traditionally sending and receiving video via mobile has been unreliable; with faster internet access and connectivity over IPX it could deliver a better experience for video content. New VAS will come from Video Share and Instant Messaging.
Got any Quality Local Content on Mobile?
There is scarcity of high quality local content; users are consuming international content via mobile. The best way to generate local content is to have users generate content via social media interactions which in turn focuses the local content argument back on the platforms used to create this content.
African Mobile Money and Payment Solutions
There were payment platform providers available, MobiFin, Comviva. MobiFin have a system that can be setup and connected to various mobile payment providers to buy goods and services. They have both an Android and J2ME app. Comviva also offers a payment platform and other VAS.
Verone Mankou VMK Tablet Founder
From the talks by Networks represented at the conference centered on content, specifically applications, it seems that the telcos are apprehensive of embracing apps because they haven’t found a business case for them. When they settle on a business case then the support from them will increase. I think they are having a hard time with this because with mobile applications a lot of things are taken out of their control which they are not used to.
Francophone Tech and Tech-ish Companies:
People Input – Focus on app development, office in some francophone countries. iPhone & Android development capacity.
Viadeo – LinkedIn competitor, enterprise social networking
bantaLabs –Tech Hub
VMk – African Android Tablet from Congo.
The francophone countries have a more mature market than Nigeria for application development even though we have the user base – i.e. numbers. Telcos support smartphone purchases which isn’t available here, so typically only low income people use feature phones.