Friday, February 02, 2007
Interview with VF R&D - Vodafone Betavine
I recently did a post on the Vodafone Betavine launch, and thought I would follow it up with an interview with one of the project team that was involved in creating it. So I got in touch with Stephen Wolak, Web Technologies Manager at Vodafone Group R&D , one of the key project proponents.
abigidea: hi Steve, how are you doing?
Stephen W: I am pleased that we managed to launch Vodafone Betavine in January as promised ...
abigidea: How's Newbury?
Stephen W: I like Newbury, it is small and does not have a cinema but it is very friendly and a great place for families. People still say hello to you in the street ...
abigidea: What handset are you currently using?
Stephen W: I am using a Nokia N80
abigidea: Whats your favourite mobile application or service?
Stephen W: Flickr via Shozu. I really enjoy creating a photographic trail of my life ... a photoblog ..
abigidea: Can you summarise for the readers what Betavine is all about?
Stephen W: Vodafone Betavine is all about mobile and internet communications. It is a platform and set of tools to enable developers and early adopters to work together creating new things and socialising those new things, applications.
We would like it to become a hub for creation of new concepts and technologies applied to communications.
abigidea: So developers can test out new apps with a hungry audience - do you vet the apps first?
Stephen W: We are as open as we can be, we do not vet applications as such but do perform a quick AV scan to protect our users from known viruses.
abigidea: How long has the project been in the works?
Stephen W: It has taken the team 7 months to develop using open source software components.
abigidea: Was it difficult to achieve this in a company the size of Vodafone?
Stephen W: It was surprisingly easy! We came up with the concept in May 2006, got approval in June 2006 and delivered the website in January 2007 ... Clearly we had to consult to a range of people to ensure that what we were doing aligned with the Vodafone Group Strategy and complied with good governance but there was a lot of support for the concept from the beginning.
abigidea: How do you see Betavine evolving?
Stephen W: We are going to introduce an open source website soon and also start some student competitions. Beyond that we would like to experiment with APIs on the website, for developers to try out new services.
abigidea: Much of the mobile blogosphere complains about operators and their apparent lack of willingness to support the developer community, hindering the overall rate of innovation. Betavine is a huge step in the right direction, but do you think we'll ever get to the developer utopia of a comprehesive API on to the operators infrastructure (e.g. offering location, presence, billing, messaging, voice and more)?
Steve W: yikes! That is a good question ... I really believe that Vodafone Betavine is a valuable platform for developers, from all areas, to use to promote their applications and get valuable feedback.
abigidea: Thanks for your time Steve - good luck with the project
Steve W: Your welcome.