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Briefly, tell us how your journey took where you are right now
What was your ‘aha’ moment which led you to create your business?
Over the first few months of 2010, we toyed with perhaps a hundred business ideas and even built a dozen or so apps. One evening we decided to read through the Android SDK APIs. This might seem a pretty dry form of literature, but it proved a great source of inspiration in our case. What became clear to us then was that Android provided a powerful set of methods for understanding the network connection — not just the network name and generation (back then just 2G and 3G, LTE was only available in Sweden), but detailed information on the different cells the device can see.
This set us thinking about how we could use crowdsourcing to understand the experience on mobile networks. Connectivity is what makes smartphones smart, and we saw that crowdsourcing could provide the best window on this.
Why is your business relevant to the issues you have identified?
Prior to Opensignal there was scant information for consumers on the quality of mobile experience. The information that was reported was generally provided by the mobile network operators themselves and came in the form of coverage maps. Each network operator would have their own methodology for calculating coverage, their own website, their own graphics. This was not ideal for consumers.It was this set of consumer problems we focussed on initially, but we came to see clearly that an information gap problem also existed for the mobile operators themselves. Many competing sources of truth exist within network operators — there are mathematical models based on cellular deployments, there are field tests and drive tests. Crowdsourcing offered something different, a picture of what was in fact experienced by the people who really matter, the users of the networks.
Understanding user experience — be it of speed, mobile gaming, video — has become the core of what we do and it’s been great to see how the mobile network industry has bought into this perspective.
What has been your biggest lesson learnt from growing your business?
Tell me about your customer acquisition systems?
What do you wish more people knew?
Thinking about your legacy, how do you want to be remembered?
I’d like Opensignal to be remembered as a great place to work and a source of truth.
About the speaker
James is a co-founder and currently VP for Research & Innovation at Opensignal.
Previously, he led the team responsible for the development and adoption of Opensignal’s mobile apps. 32 million consumers worldwide (and counting) downloaded those apps.
Opensignal measures the user experience of mobile networks, developing ways of determining the quality of experience for specific services – like gaming, video or voice calling in apps. Opensignal analytics and insights power the evolution of mobile networks to improve mobile connectivity for all.
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