Who knows where the customer goes, when the customer goes away?
Openwave, with its dominant presence in WAP and internet gateways, as well as accurate location technology, says that it does.
The browser and gateway company has developed an ad delivery and campaign management product that works by tracking where users have gone on the web, where they have gone in 'real' life, and what they do when they get there.
In theory, the product puts operators in control of what ads are being served to users, even when those users are browsing off portal.
The contextual ad service then fits users into one of many categories such as Fashionista, Cricket Fan, etc. Ads relevant to that segment of user are then delivered to the user as he browses, moves around geographically and buys things.
Chris Goswami, director of product management, Openwave, said that because Openwave was already "in the data path in a large percentage of the world's operators", it was in a great position to pick up on data that reveals exactly what subscribers are doing, and how they are behaving.
The campaign management, inventory management, serving and brokering of the ads is not where Openwave is playing, said Goswami. Those functions will all be fulfilled by partners expert in those areas.
The aim is not just to produce a delivery of banner ads whilst someone is browsing, or send an SMS top a user when they wander into a particular location, Goswami said.
"That's a bit of a sledgehammer approach," he said, "this is about enhancing the whole mobile experience according the profile of the user." Goswami said the issue of whether users opt in or not could be handled by the operator, but in essence he said that if the targeting of ads was done in a sensitive and relevant enough way, consumers would not object and so would have fewer privacy, or spam, concerns.
Goswami added that operators could even use the technology to place ads on of portal sites that drive users back on-portal. For instance offering a piece of content relevant to a music site the user is visiting.
Operators have been confused by mobile advertising, Goswami said, because either they have not understood the agency and brand priorities, or they have tried to do everything. Three major requests for information had been torn up and thrown away by operators after the tender stage, Goswami said, after the operators had gone through the process.