Brazilian MNO Vivo has launched Vivo Familia Online, an application with tools for localization, organization and timeline. The service is based on the creation of private, secure groups of people, called circles, to bring together all shared content in a timeline format. Circle participants can share and edit information in real time through the app.
The location feature shows, in real time, where each member of the circle can be found. Users can also select favorite places such as home, school, work or recreational areas, such that each time they arrive or depart from these locations, other circle members receive automatic alerts. This tool is useful for parents wanting to know whether or not their children have arrived at school on schedule, for example.
Another feature is linked to organization and allows members of the circle to share a variety of daily activities, such as calendar, lists and tasks, as well as contacts. Finally, the timeline allows images shared by the application to be available in the service gallery and participants’ smartphones.
Vivo Familia Online is available to any Vivo mobile customer with phones with iOS 8.0 or later, or Android 4.1 or higher. In addition to the app, the service can also be accessed online. A weekly subscription costs BRL 3.99 (US $1.27), while the monthly package is BRL 16.99 (US $5.40).
While the features offered by Vivo’s app may well be available elsewhere, in part or in full, either on third-party apps or within the native capabilities of various smartphones, we think it is a good idea for an operator to create a proprietary app packaging such features and putting its own brand on the package.
For one thing, as we have shown in previous articles, in general it has been shown that it is beneficial for operators to create branded proprietary content and functionality. Doing so helps to strengthen the operator’s competitiveness and distinctiveness in a market environment that tends to reduce the role of traditional services as revenue builders. Vivo Familia Online certainly qualifies as value-added content and functionality.
Second, in addition to being useful in themselves, the location and calendar features of the app serve to unite family members within the operator’s network. For that reason, the app could be a tool with which Vivo could promote uptake of its services among relatives of current subscribers. That in turn could foster increased data use among the circle and therefore drive revenue to the operator.
Third, the emphasis on children’s safety gives the operator an entry to the youth market, a demographic that is highly desirable both in terms of forming long-term loyalties and in terms of data consumption patterns. By bringing children into its own circle via parents’ desire to monitor their whereabouts, Vivo is sowing the seeds of future business.