In 2008, I was part of the team that launched the first smartphone on the Android platform. On the press conference stage, we proudly showed off the four apps we had installed.
From that moment, it only took five years for the number of apps available for the Android platform to break one million. Nowadays, there are more than three million.
Yet, these numbers don’t tell the full story of user experience. In fact, the average smartphone user spends about 80% of their time only on three apps: an internet browser app, Facebook, and either Youtube or WhatsApp.
Furthermore, these apps are sometimes difficult to find. You, as a user, only really download an app if you heard about it from a friend, saw an ad on TV, or read about it in a blog post. This is a “pull” type of internet experience, where you have to search for and pull out the services you need.
A much more exciting, intuitive, and useful type of internet is a “push” type of internet–an internet that comes to you.
You can see this manifesting in the rise of messaging apps. As the internet is being increasingly used for constant communication, apps like Facebook Messenger and WeChat have started incorporating services that can help contextually.
For example, someone in a WeChat conversation brings up the idea of going to dinner at the local dumpling shop the following Tuesday, and the app itself then asks if it should reserve a table at the restaurant and call a taxi for each user in the conversation for a specific time.
In this kind of contextual internet experience, you don’t see the actual app that provides this service–but does that matter? The result is the same.
In fact, you probably would end up using a larger variety of more useful apps without even knowing it because they are pushed to you in the context of your conversation. Instead of having to figure out a specific app that would give you the wind speeds at local beaches if you wanted to try kitesurfing with a friend, your messaging app could conveniently provide you that information right in the middle of your discussion.
Now imagine that kind of contextual experience in the broader context of surfing the web, not just while chatting with a friend. Even if you are reading an article and find yourself liking a quote from somebody and you reread it a few times, the contextual internet could pick up on that and highlight the name, saving it in your notes with a link to their Wikipedia page for later reading.
Right now, the app marketplace has the volume but the contextual internet experience is where the real innovation is happening. And it is the way the internet experience should be: user-oriented. That is why VEON is particularly interested in this approach to telecommunications.
We understand that privacy is a concern for many users–as it should be, since privacy is a universal human right. That is why contextual services, from entertainment to financial transaction, that we are adding to the VEON platform are all opt-in.
With our new VEON internet and messaging platform we are building a new, contextual internet experience where the user–securely–has all the power.