FT.com secured as first customer
Volantis, the leading supplier of Intelligent Content Adaptation solutions for the mobile Internet, has announced the launch of i-mode Express for O2, a service to help content providers deploy mobile services on O2’s upcoming i-mode platform, scheduled to launch in the UK and Ireland later this year and in Germany next spring.
i-mode Express builds on Volantis’ extensive experience of deploying i-mode services for major brands in France, Spain and Benelux. The service is available immediately for brands wanting to deliver mobile services on O2’s i-mode platform. FT.com is the first customer to sign up for the new package.
i-mode is the world’s most popular mobile Internet platform with 45 million users worldwide. Unlike any other service in the UK, i-mode will deliver the nearest thing to true Internet access through mobile devices – enabling users to access independent web-based resources owned and managed by content providers, not the network operator. This combination of power and flexibility for users and new business model for content providers will make i-mode an important and vibrant new mobile technology for the UK.
Grahame Riddell, Head of i-mode Marketing for O2 UK, said: “We are pleased to be working with Volantis to offer its i-mode Express service to our content providers. The company is world class at delivering powerful and compelling
i-mode solutions across Europe for some of the biggest brands. This service will help our content providers to deploy better and faster services for i-mode when we launch later this year.”
Deploying i-mode services presents significant opportunities for content providers. However, in order to realise these benefits content providers need to understand some of the fundamental differences in developing for i-mode rather than traditional WAP sites.
Some of these differences include:
i-mode has a much richer user interface with stringent style guidelines. For example, i-mode pages typically are composed of multiple colours, font styles and emojiis (special characters pre-built into the handsets) and must adhere to a defined page layout structure and page size to ensure sites are fast and intuitive. These guidelines ensure that customers can enjoy the same quality of service whatever i-mode handset they are using, something not currently offered by WAP.
An enhanced Java implementation gives provider’s more control over applications, and more space to work in. In Japan, i-mode applications can now use 500k from Java memory, allowing content providers to publish applications equivalent to Playstation1 games.
Billing is subscription-based rather than ‘pay per event’ and requires every content provider to maintain a sophisticated user database which automatically reconciles with the operator.
i-mode provides for the first time the same security encryption as the fixed Internet for creating secure transactional sites, ideal for things like banking.
The i-mode browser provides automatic go-back functions, full application access to standby screens and live two-way communications with servers to keep users engaged.
i-mode does not use the usual mark up languages but is based on c-html and therefore is a language accessible to any developer with web experience.
Steven Trew, Head of Mobile Services for the FT, said: “Volantis has delivered FT.com’s successful mobile service for quite some time. With their experience of building and deploying large i-mode sites for big brands in other countries, it was an easy decision to ask Volantis to extend our mobile service to i-mode on O2.”
Ian Meakin, VP Marketing, Volantis, concluded: “With our proven experience and deployments, we understand the significant nuances that i-mode presents and have the proven technology, services and templates that make i-mode deployments relatively simple for organisations that are new to it. O2 i-mode is an exciting proposition for consumers and we can help content providers quickly establish a presence on this platform.”