Etisalat unveiled their new Appzone add-on yesterday in a fairly casual forum held at the Etisalat HQ. If you haven’t seen it, we ran a small introduction to what it is in a previous post. Etisalat first brought on some we-who-have-done-it-before inspiration for potential app developers, in the form of Sajith Udayanga and Ashen Gomez (people who have made some major money off Appzone), before moving onto a live demo and walkthrough of Appzone Click.
Here’s the condensed version. Appzone Click, accessible via https://appzoneclick.etisalat.lk, basically offers templates to create SMS-based Alert and Chat applications. (Any other apps will have to be developed via AppZonePro or you’ll have to get into the code).
To create an app, you need to head over to the URL and register for an account. Click. Enter your information (name, email and mobile number) – that’s mandatory, followed by bank account details. (Earlier, developers faced a lengthy process to get these details clarified but Etisalat has apparently streamlined the process a bit).
Once you’re past the legal necessities, you arrive at a homepage. Click the Create New button and select the criteria of the app (Alert/Chat).
- Regardless of what you choose, you’ll have to define App name, Description and an App keyword (generated to identify your unique application. (For example, 4499 REG XYZ where 4499 and REG are predefined keywords and XYZ would be replaced by your app keyword).
- At this point, you start throwing in the parameters necessary to make the app (they’re very self-explanatory). There’s a smaller area in the window allows the developer to see how the app would perform providing real-time simulation of the app. If the app is to be an app of group chat and/or direct chat, the simulator can simulate that as well.
- Once details are confirmed, clicking the “Confirm” button will direct the user to an App creation confirmation window where the app will be pending Administrator approval. Once the Administrator approves the app, it’s moved to Active state. Once approved, an email is sent to the developer
- Now the app’s live. From here, the developer is given access to usage instructions on a dashboard. You’ll be able to look up stats such as:
- Overall stats showing how many users have been added and/or are subscribed
- How many alerts have been sent out (if an Alerts app, of course)
- Total number of alerts and subscribed/unsubscribed details within the last 7 days.
To illustrate this, the Etisalat team demoed an example – a Salesforce App where an employer can notify customers of special offers via an Alert, or communicate with employees via the chat platform akin to an IM service.
It’s interesting. Chat is honestly overdone, but alerts applications have quite a bit of growth potential in terms of what can be done, especially now that it’s so easy to set up an app. The only downside we see to this is the vendor-lock, which is the bane of every telco app platform in Sri Lanka. Say, for instance. the HR Department of a company with 500+ employees wanted to be able to send messages to their workforce; unless everyone’s on Etisalat, (or their company phones are), it’s still an unfeasible exercise. Hopefully, we’ll see telcos working their way around this.