BREW's Andrew Gilbert
On the eve of the annual BREW confab in San Diego, Sue Marek, editor in chief of FierceDeveloper talked to Andrew Gilbert, executive vice president and president of QIS/MediaFLO Technologies and Qualcomm Europe about the latest developments in the BREW platform.
FierceDeveloper: You recently transitioned into the role of executive vice president of QIS and MediaFLO Technologies and Qualcomm Europe. How has the change been so far?
Gilbert: It is a new role. I've been at Qualcomm for a few years through the acquisition of Flarion. I spent the past few years running the European division. I had a huge exposure to QIS and MediaFLO because I was leading the operations of those two groups as they tried to develop out into Europe. I had a lot to do with Telecom Italia selecting the BREW gaming solution and O2 with their use of the BREW interface. Recently, I worked with Hutchison the BREW platform. So I have been groomed on the BREW way. The opportunity to take over running the entire organization was a fantastic opportunity and an honor.
Since then, I have spent a lot of time in San Diego. I'm based and live in the U.K. In the early stages, as I started to reach out and meet with customers and the vendors and developers, the first question was why have someone run this from the U.K.? But in reality the business has been global. The U.S. is a huge part of the business and a great success, but the appeal of BREW has spread globally.
FierceDeveloper: Verizon is one of your biggest BREW customers and they have been talking about their Open Development Initiative. How does BREW fit into that?
Gilbert: Open is such an open word. What does it really mean? I think BREW is a very successful model and others are trying to recreate that model, like Apple. That is a very similar model to BREW but they even own and run the device. In that sense BREW is much more open. BREW is applicable across any air interface, across any BREW-enabled device and with any operator that wants to be a BREW operator. It's developing now to create opportunities for a more open approach to how content is being delivered on BREW. BREW Zones is the opportunity for us to create an environment where developers can deliver content into a safe zone through a willing operator to a subscriber. A subscriber could go onto a BREW developer site or a BREW developer partner site, choose a game they like and download it across BREW Zones, across a BREW operator and onto their phone even though it may not be a standard BREW on catalog game. For those operators that want a more open environment, BREW Zones enables them to do that. It opens them up to a wider community. That is one illustration of how BREW is becoming more open.
Another would be how we are trying to add new features and functionality to BREW. These are features that can be deployed standalone or they can be deployed as part of BREW. Our recent acquisition of Xiam in Ireland is one example. Xiam has a product that is a profile and recommendation engine that allows an operator to add value to the subscriber experience by using the history of what they look at as a guide to recommending other content that is relevant. How does that tie into BREW? This will be an integrated part of the BREW solution and it will not only recommend content as part of the BREW content and BREW portal but also other content. It's designed to support recommendations from other portals that the operator might have. This is another piece of openness.
FierceDeveloper: How is BrandXtend -the off-portal part of BREW--progressing?
Gilbert: With BrandXtend we have announced Major League Baseball as a customer and we have been focused on making that a success. We are not in a position to announce any other clients at this stage.
BrandXtend is an ideal example of my over-arching strategy: any content across any network delivered to any device. We are doing that today with Major League Baseball.
FierceDeveloper: Tell me about the hosted services business. This was publicly announced earlier this year. Do you see a lot of growth potential from this model?
Gilbert: I do see this as having growth potential. There are different requirements for different operators. We saw an opportunity when Midwest Wireless was acquired by Alltel so we purchased the managed services business. I've met with the BREW managed service customers and they are happy that we offer this service. We have scaled down the power of BREW to these smaller operators and that is valuable to the operators and the subscribers who might not otherwise get access to this service.
I think there is an opportunity to take this to other operators that are emerging so they can deliver this type of service.
I will bring on stage one of the managed service operators to talk about their experience.
FierceDeveloper: Can you give me any hints at what Qualcomm will be talking about at BREW?
Gilbert: We will talk about BREW Zones and Xiam. We will also talk about a package of improvements that we are putting together for our developers to help improve the economics and the time to market for getting their products out. We will announce a number of improvements so developers have an even better experience with the BREW ecosystem.
FierceDeveloper: How is the BREW conference evolving?
Gilbert: I don't want to disenfranchise anyone. We have core and loyal group of operators and developers. We have seen great support from these companies. But we also see a broader world out there. We are bringing new people to Qualcomm like Xiam and we are bringing in new technologies such as widgets and new speakers such as Telefonica. There are more countries represented here than ever before. It's much bigger than just games and content.