For a select group Dialog is opening up SMS, USSD, Billing and Client Apps APIs. So Dialog is opening an App Store (like Etisalat has) but with added features (billing being the money one, literally).
The IdeaMart API makes deploying telco apps a lot simpler. Going through the current code and bureaucratic processes takes months. Now there’s this IdeaMart layer that takes care of that complexity, letting you interact just through a REST API. There are wrappers also. Which I don’t quite understand. I honestly don’t know what a REST API is either, but I’m assuming Janith does.
The SMS stuff is pretty much open. It’s been live for a while. You can get indica updates, which I haven’t updated for a while cause I have to log in and do it. I’m assuming they’ve made it a bit more sophisticated now.
Anyways, as Sayy says the challenge now is making an effective business case, not wrestling with the telco technology.
USSD is interactive messaging for smart or dumbphones. If you dial #111# you can get one USSD menu, in this case for Dialog eZ Cash. It’s cool cause it works on basically any phone and you can get hierachical menus, which is enough to handle a lot of service use cases.
Since it’s a menu structure customers don’t need to remember commands, which beats SMS for less than simple interactions. ie, Park Street menus. I’m thinking for YAMU we can deploy basic listings via USSD like next week.
USSD is powerful cause it works on any phone, without Internet. This is a market that I think only exists for like 5 years, but it is the bigger market now, in SL at least.
This is the money slide. Now they’re opening up two bit (for approved peeps) the ability to 1) check balance and 2) do a direct debit, ie, you can see if they have money and charge them for products. This is an extension of services like 444, which let you get tickets and movies and stuff, except without having to sit thru meetings to hook it up. Consent driven, obvs. I’m writing this from the dev perspective, but for a consumer it’s also mad nice to be able to pay without entering or using a credit card.
Someone was asking how the money gets in. Appara it’s a monthly reconciliation. As it is now, when you register you give bank details. Each month you get a deposit if you earn above a minimum, after Dialog takes a cut.
Someone is saying there’s only about one million credit cards in Sri Lanka, compared to seven milly plus Dialog subscribers.
This is their own app store. The advantage here is that, unlike Google or Apple app stores, the user doesn’t need to have a credit card. The advantage over a similar store from Etisalat is that the subscriber base is bigger and you have access to the aforementioned APIs.
And it’s ongoing. I’m hitting publish now. This is opening up a lot of opportunities for people, so good all around.