Services, platforms and the future of ecosystems
This is nothing new, since we start speaking about web 2.0 we have been speaking about mashups but now these arbitrary mashups have a close number of possibilities the engineer can compare with.
If we analyse current success cases we can outline five not exclusive models and they include the different service possibility.
The web model service usually is a solution offered by the browser-interface and this is the model used in the 99% of market.
2. Multichannel service
The multichannel service is a web model service extension on commodities interfaces that include different devices like mobile phone or smartphone.
The most important characteristics are:
- the alternate channel is offered as a gadged without surplus value given by use contest’s characteristics;
- the alternate interface is not always based on web technology but sometimes it is an installed application (ie:iphone application)
3. Service + API
The service offering his API interface to the world enables for the first time plaintiffs (or services) to exploit the service’s informative and functional heritage to build derived services.
This model enable plaintiffs to build interfaces on different channels or to integrate them in their services enriching them and distributing cost of production in a scalable way.
A platform (ie: facebook) enable to use API to develop applications that use his informative and functional heritage but now it is possible to develop them inside the original service. It means the platform manages all the integration, distribution and interface rules. So the platform increases his value because of all the integrate applications and they increase their visibility and distribution.
The last generation of services is the ecosystems. They are multichannel services with the same functions but also with the possibility to distribute intelligent interfaces on every channel.
The central idea about how the system works is derived on web, pc, mac, iphone, ipod, web mobile, etc… exploiting at most the contextual characteristic of the use environment to advantage the whole ecosystem.
The advantage is that the user can exploit the service always and everywhere, achieving an integrate and continuous user experience.
If we observe the market we can note two ecosystem submodels: the vertical one and the horizontal one.
The vertical ecosystem (ie: evernote) enables us to use at best the service on the used devices.
The horizontal one (ie: ipod + itunes + apple store) is made by a block of objects/applications/complementary services that massimize the service use and it enables us to make some further activities (ie: to buy music from the apple store using ipod).
Nowadays we know how an application starts but we can never know how it will finish and which version will be the most successful (web, iphone or desktop?). The internet mobile use is increasing and the ecosystem model is the most promising because it makes us exploit every channel/market opportunity.
Note: this is the translaction of this post in italian, a special thanks to Diana for helping me in the translation