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Summary:

Comcast has created an app store for small business customers to resell cloud storage, security and collaboration products from vendors that include Box, YouSendIt and Microsoft.

comcastupware

Comcast opened Upware, an app store featuring nine services for its small and mid-sized business customers on Wednesday. The app store isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that will bring in a new line of revenue for the ISP and serve one of its fastest growing customer bases.

Comcast’s business services brought in $2.4 billion in 2012, up 34 percent from the previous year. That’s only 6 percent of the company’s cable sales, but it’s growing at almost 6 times the pace of total sales. And those customers were asking Comcast for choices on document storage, security and other resources, which led to the ISP building Upware.

While spokesman Charlie Douglas declined to give specific financial details associated with the app store, he did say it would be a revenue-generating service for Comcast. It will also be great for the partners who will have their services listed for Comcast’s business customers. Those companies so far include:

  • Data Backup – Carbonite, DigitalSafe and Mozy.
  • Data Security – Norton and Websense.
  • Collaboration – Box, Microsoft, Soonr and YouSendIt (see disclosure.)

This is a good example of how a service provider can add value for its end users — value that it can monetize beyond a monthly broadband fee. Comcast has been pretty aggressive about adding connected home products on the residential side as well as beefing up it’s pay TV service to compete more with web-based on-demand services.

Disclosure: YouSendIt is backed by Alloy Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media.

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  1. This is a great example of how businesses are utilizing app stores to sell complementary services to their own customers. Not only does this create additional revenue streams, but it also highlights a better understanding of customer needs on the part of the provider – anticipating what ancillary items will make their overall experience better. This brings up new opportunities to engage with the customer and grow the business, but it also creates new challenges for the app store provider across their business model, delivery methods, procurement, marketing, finance and even IT.

    For many businesses, setting up an app store will mean connecting different business units and systems – while adding on new ones like subscription management – from the above so they are more intertwined and streamline operations before they become cumbersome and expose holes in process. Alternatively, there are all-in-one systems like Avangate that wrap all these processes into one so that the provider, like Comcast, can continue to focus on their core business while fully supporting and accounting for the new opportunities generated by a complementary app store.

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