Genband Plays Mobile App Matchmaker

Genband Inc. is trying its hand at setting up mobile developers with its wireless operator customer base and is even promising cash prizes to entice new developers to build communications-enabled apps.

The IP infrastructure and services provider launched the GenFuzion Developer Community Wednesday, along with a developers' challenge and payout to top performers.

The developers are given the task of building apps for GenFuzion, a community hosted by non-profit organization Coral CAE, that are powered by Genband's A2 converged application server. Genband will provide APIs, a testing environment, development resources and a forum for collaboration, while matching developers up with operators they may not otherwise be able to reach. The apps will get promoted in Genband's GenApps Showcase, and the top three developers will split US$30,000 in awards. (See Genband Hosts App Showcase.)

The goal of GenFuzion is to bring together operators with developers and potential partners, to get ideas, brainstorm, build apps and connect, says Sara Hughes, Genband's senior director of product marketing. Genband, meanwhile, wants to sit in the middle and act as the lead generator for both.

"As operator networks evolve into different typologies, they need applications to work on them," Hughes says. "This is an easy way for developers to get access into the platform and help the carriers grab market share, reduce churn and increase APRU."

Why this matters
It used to be that developers had to fight for operator attention, but with the rise of mobile apps, the tables have turned. Mobile operators now want to court developers to build apps for their network and not just to run on top of it, but the role reversal is still a somewhat new modus operandi for them. Rather than facilitate each individual developer relationship on their own, a central repository like GenFuzion could be helpful to operators looking to speed up the process.

Genband is not the only one trying to act as the moderator, however. GenFuzion is similar in scope to the ecosystem Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is building (although it offers beer instead of cash).

For more
For more on how operators are edging into the mobile apps game, check out the following stories:

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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