Today, I start my new job as Head of Product Management for BlueVia, a unit of the newly forming Telefónica Digital. Why, after 10 years at Vodafone, have I chosen to pull up stakes and move to BlueVia? The answer is simple: BlueVia are actually doing something that I’ve been talking about doing since 2006 and even earlier – they are taking operator network capabilities and exposing them (via APIs) to Web and app developers. And they are bringing these APIs to real grass-roots developers. Read what I wrote in 2006 about exposing enablers. Most of the other predictions in that post have been borne out (mobile Web, connected apps, social media, etc…) but mobile operators have so far not been able to expose the capabilities of their networks to developers in a simple, straight-forward way (a-la market-leading Amazon Web Services).
Well – BlueVia are actually doing that: taking the capabilities of the network and making them available to developers through an accessible developer program. If you combine that capability with the emerging idea that applications will exist in the cloud and be accessed by users through a range of connected devices, the important role such a provider can play becomes clear.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. Vodafone is a great company and working there has been a fantastic experience. I’ve worked with some great people on some amazing projects. I’m immensely proud of the work I’ve done there. The work I’ve been engaged in at Vodafone has often focused on bringing the Web to the mobile – the w3c Mobile Web Initiative and dotMobi were early examples: making it easier for Web developers to engage with users across a range of mobile devices.
But now it’s time to move on to a different set of challenges – to look at things from a different angle: how can we bring the mobile to the Web? How can we make mobile networks more transparent and more useful for Web and app developers – to enable new kinds of experiences that are uniquely mobile.
People have asked me a lot of questions about the move so I though a short FAQ might be in order:
What about your W3C activities? I’m not going to be playing an active role in W3C in my new role. However, Web standards and advocacy thereof are are part of my DNA. Telefónica are a W3C member and I will continue to play a role from the sidelines.
What about your role on the W3C TAG? Will you run again? As I’ve told the W3C community already, I’m not going to be putting myself forward for another term on the TAG. However, with agreement of all parties, I will be serving out my current term until the end of January.
Are you moving to Madrid? No. I’m staying in London. The role is based in London at Telefónica Digital’s offices (once they find suitable offices). In the mean time, I’m going to be working out of places like TechHub and Adam Street where I will be more than happy to chat in person about what’s happening with BlueVia.
What’s going to happen to Over the Air and Mobile 2.0? These were always side projects for me (though thankfully projects that were allowed by my employer). I’m going to continue to be involved with putting these together at my new role.
What about MobileMonday London? I had already stepped back from direct involvement in MobileMonday London at the end of last year. Since then, I’ve played an advisory role to MoMo London and I will continue to do so.
BlueVia looks like it’s about Apps – I thought you were the Mobile Web guy? BlueVia is about helping developers do cool stuff using network APIs (apologies to James Parton if I am mangling the marketing message right there but you get the idea). This includes Web and App developers. One of the things I’m going to be working on is making BlueVia more friendly for Web developers so if you have any suggestions along those lines, please send them my way.
I noticed a mistake on the BlueVia web site. Can you fix it? Er. Give me a minute to get settled in… :)
I have a suggestion about BlueVia. Interested? Absolutely.