BEDA: App Stores for broadcasters?

Blog every day in April he said… It would be easy he said…

I want to expand on my post from yesterday slightly. Today, the consumer electronics market is evolving and empowering small businesses in the same way the internet did a decade ago.

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone, and since 2008 Apple iOS devices have had an App Store – an application distribution platform that allows anyone with an idea and a bit of technical know-how to write a program for the iPhone. It could be a game or productivity app or social service or anything else. It’s a win-win for Apple because their customers get more choice, and therefore more of what they want (however niche), and developers get exposure, feedback, maybe even a revenue stream. Apple in turn sell more phones and makes more money. What’s there not to like? They’re not even having to pay the developers to write software anymore, they get a cut of their revenue instead! It’s like developer outsourcing.

Apple’s success model of building an ecosystem around their products hasn’t gone unnoticed, and now everyone is doing it. There’s an App Store for cameras, trainers, thermostats, Xbox Kinect, games consoles… everything. It’s great because now if you want to extend the applications of a product to an area the company wasn’t intending, someone else has probably made an app for that purpose already! Developers get their creative freedom, knowing that a good idea will get good exposure, while a bad idea can be swept under the rug without thousands of pounds of development cost being wasted. All without the company who made the actual product being sold worrying about “diluting the brand” or “loosing customers”.

All these App Stores have allowed people to start their own businesses just making apps for small markets, or even on commission by other companies. App Stores are like the new YouTube, encouraging diverse levels of creativity.

I think if Sony were to make an App Store for their new Creative Media Cloud Service, then finally the professional market will start to get a piece of this amazing everyone-wins pie. There are obviously some issues around testing, security and integration with business that make using that App a 12 year old made in his bedroom to send Spiderman 3 to LoveFilm a bit tricky to justify, but we’ll get there. Developers are a huge untapped resource for the professional world, and the sooner businesses start using common cloud service platforms, the quicker everyone can benefit from cheaper, better quality features and enhancements to their business processes. Am I right?

Sorry if that was a little incoherent in places, I’m tired, and I don’t really know how to put this mass of opinion in my head onto paper… guess that’s another reason I’m trying to write more x