The latest interview in the MEX series is with Angus Murray, Head of Wholesale for the Mobile division of Legion Interactive. The Australian company provides a wide range of premium rate services, content and competitions on behalf of brands such as Australian Idol and McDonalds. Legion also manages BlueSkyFrog.com, a mobile content retailer for the Australian market.
Marek Pawlowski: How did you become involved in the mobile business and what’s your role at the moment?
Angus Murray: I became involved in the mobile business through my Mobilise, the B2B brand of Vodafone in AU and NZ. After a 3 month communications contract with Lowe Hunt, I took a role with Legion Interactive where I have been for the last three years in the capacity of account director and General Manager of Business Solutions. I am currently Head of Wholesale for the Mobile division, which involves working closely with the local carriers on user experience, infrastructure, products, revenue lines and marketing communications. It’s a very dynamic and fast paced role which I love.
What does the term ‘mobile user experience’ mean to you?
The mantra of anyone involved with what a customer sees needs to be ‘minimal click access’. The term ‘mobile user experience’ means there is no unified standard in Australia and the education of consumers to ensure all value-added services are used is expensive, where for a small investment, it could be much cheaper. Collaborative filtering has been ignored in favour of brand. It’s a shame, however, as there is a golden opportunity to provide a difference!
How important do you think it is to have direct exposure to end customers when developing new mobile services? Is this something you do when you’re building your own products?
In the current market, we are approaching more than 1 mobile per head of population – everyone is an end user of some sort. The biggest question that is answered sporadically is ‘what are the target breaks?’ Handset manufacturers are able to garner and unify anecdotal demographic splits from individual carriers; however, this in turn needs to be in the domain of the aggregator whose job it is to supply relevant, fresh and exciting content and services.
Who do you think has overall responsibility for user experience in the mobile telecoms industry – operators, handset manufacturers, application developers..?
All of us – we have to work smart!
Operators work with local aggregators – they meet early with OE developers and provide a flexible environment across handsets. I believe there needs to be demonstrable revenue for handset manufacturers outside of the hardware that will ensure that common elements are created rather than the continued development of proprietary software. Operators and carriers should have enough weight to drive this.
What was your first mobile handset and what do you use these days?
A Uniden handset back in 1994 (I was still at school). It was one of the first handsets whose cost was subsidised by the call plan – my mum heard it ring in my pocket and I was grounded for 2 months. I kept the number though. I currently have a Nokia 6680 and I am very happy with its live screen and the new PC Suite is 100 x better than the original.
Which services do you use most often on your mobile?
STK (SIM Toolkit) services such as balance, weather, news and event triggered alerts such as share prices. We developed the Vodafone AU STK application on multiple SIMS and have seen explosive growth in this legacy technology – it’s all about the ‘minimal click access’ mantra.
From a call perspective, I have a Bluetooth car kit.
I use search functions of Google and Whereis.com.au as well.
Do you think the industry should be moving towards a business model which enables each user to feel as if their handset has been designed for them as an individual?
Of course, however, this should be merely an extension of the other considerations users require. Simple phones are a retreat to the original from a specified need of those who do not care what their phone says about them. Perhaps mobile handset development can learn from car brands?
What combination of handset design, mobile services and customer support would represent your ideal user experience?
A tardis phone – small and lightweight, with large buttons. Dynamic menu structuring so my most frequently used items are presented first. Ability to switch plans from the SIM depending on location. 24/7 customer support is vital in reducing churn.
What’s the most bizarre use of a mobile device you’ve discovered recently?
A colleague dialling into their own home web cams using IVVR to check on the cleaner!