KDDI has started a new initiative that differs from the vertical integration model of the past. A strategy named “Syn. Concept” is a system that connects companies providing contents and services in various categories, so that users can navigate between them.
Content services until now had a portal top page, such as with Yahoo!, and one chose a needed service from within it. However, even in the era of smart phones, portals still resolutely exist. With the advent of smart phones, the concept of portals is no longer in alignment, and users have started to proceed directly to applications or icons of services, by directly pressing on what they need.
However, in order to use other services and applications by starting with the icons, one needs to terminate the application each time and return to the home screen, and thus the procedures become very cumbersome. In addition, even if the application is used after the initial download, users will quickly stop using it, and resulting unused icons abandoned on the home screen. Based on research by KDDI, “Users download on average 32 applications, but only 8 are used on a regular every day basis.” (Per Mr. Koichi Morioka, General Manager of KDDI’s New Business Promotion Headquarters)
However, with the transition from cellular phones to smart phones, a phenomenon of “unused applications and services” has started to appear.
From the perspective of service and application providers, there is no point unless the applications are utilized. As the number of smart phone users rises, novice users also increase, and there will be fewer users that download applications frequently.
With cellular phones, although it was possible to generate profits through monthly billings for fee based sites, in this era of smart phones, free services are common. Thus, KDDI has been working on entering into alliances with various services in order to establish a system where users are lead to navigate among them.
For example, when the side menu is opened while utilizing a calendar service, one can easily switch to music and ranking sites.
By implementing a common side menu for the companies that participate in the alliance, users can navigate between these company sites.
This is the world’s first system where it is possible to navigate between different applications, web pages and OS. 13 categories such as calendar (Jorte), maps/ traffic (Navitime Japan), bookmarks (Hatena bookmark), music / comic information (Natasha), and weather (Weather news) are among the alliance, with plans for expansion in the future.
The number of monthly users of the respective services total 41 million, which is the largest number of users domestically.
Mr. Koichi Morioka, who has started up this initiative previously worked at Yahoo! JAPAN and Facebook, and an individual familiar with the internet and contents.
Needless to say, although these services are free of charge for users, as ads are displayed on the side menu, KDDI is able to generate revenue through advertising fees. In addition, since KDDI is currently investing in the companies that participate in the Alliance, as more and more users visit these sites and corporate value increase, the investment will become meaningful to KDDI.