SPH Search To Develop Content For Mobile Services Providers (BT)

BackJun 28, 2010

WANT to know what's on the menu of a particular restaurant and how much each dish costs before walking in through the door? And also want to quickly browse through some of the reviews about the quality of the food served?

Very soon all that information will be just a few clicks away on a mobile device, thanks to a move by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to develop richer mobile services under the Digital Concierge (DC) programme.

IDA has awarded six companies CFCs (Call For Collaboration) to develop feature-rich mobile content for use by third-party mobile services developers.

One of the six is SPH Search, which will develop a shared directory service containing comprehensive and regularly updated information of local retail and F&B businesses. SPH Search is a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings and is the company behind Singapore's local directory search engine and its mobile platform Rednano Mobile.

SPH Search will offer the service based on a set of published commercial pricing to any third-party mobile services developers that are interested to make use of the information.

Speaking to BizIT, SPH Search's Shirley Tan said the company is offering local directory-plus information from its comprehensive and updated database to potential mobile service providers. "An API (Application Programme Interface) will be provided to mobile service developers to allow them to access SPH Search's IP-owned directory database," said Ms Tan, who is SPH Search's director, Business Development (Mobile). She added that this database is a unique blend of local content, lifestyle information and reviews of products and services. "It also incorporates rich media (such as images of shop fronts) and search capabilities to deliver complete summarised relevant results."

Ms Tan noted that mobile services providers who partner SPH Search will also be assured of a constant source of regularly updated data, a seamless and efficient API integration and a good range of monetisation opportunities. "SPH Search has developed a comprehensive set of APIs to help application developers access the large business directory database and the search engine that powers it."

She added that in order to help developers, SPH Search will publish detailed API descriptions as well as sample code fragments in order to get them up to speed. "All the developers need to do is to sign up with Rednano as part of our partner network."

According to IDA, in addition to the standardised set of information, SPH Search will also offer separately an additional set of value-added information, including local content, lifestyle information and products and services reviews. It will also incorporate rich media and search capabilities to deliver complete summarised relevant results.

Ms Tan noted that the key objective of the DC programme is to encourage more pervasive use of the mobile channel by businesses, starting with those in the retail and F&B sectors.

"As of now these are the two sectors that IDA would like to focus for this programme," she said. "If there is any request from any other sector – like the health sector, for example – to partner Rednano to develop new mobile services using our health-related content, we could potentially work on a separate business initiative beyond the DC initiative."

Ms Tan noted that there have been business inquiries from some ICT companies in areas such as 3D modelling, mobile commerce and transactions.

"We will also be working closely with the six companies awarded by IDA for this DC programme as the products and services offered by each of these companies are mutually beneficial to extend the business potential of new mobile services."

The new addressable market that Rednano targets for this programme are start-ups, developers and ICT companies that have great technologies with no killer content and cannot go solo on their own, Ms Tan said.