Is KnowMyApp Really The Answer?

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Tammy Parker over at Fierce Wireless has a good write-up about the CTIA’s new KnowMyApp tool that helps smartphone users figure out which apps are data hogs, before downloading and using the apps.

It’s an appealing idea, I’m sure, to the carriers. If they can educate all their subscribers, then the subscribers will stop using the data hogs and bandwidth will be freed up. App makers, stung by user defections will be forced to write more efficient apps. Voila, virtuous cycle.

But unrealistic, I think.

Hoping that subs will go get the education at KnowMyApp and will act on that education is wishful thinking. Yes, theoretically, subs have skin in the game – they don’t want to blow through their data caps and get a big bill at the end of the month. And I imagine the one or two percent of subs who really have a data use problems will be motivated.

But the vast majority of subs will completely ignore all this because they just don’t care, it’s too complicated, and if it means not using their favorite app, well then you can just forget it. Think of all the other areas in life where well-meaning groups have tried to get people to do what’s in their own best interest, with utterly no results.

Take the nutrition labels on food. We’ve had those for what, 20 years now? And what’s the result? Americans are fatter than ever. If someone really wants Oreos, they aren’t going to read the nutrition label.

Ditto exercise, saving money, driving in a more fuel economical way, etc, etc. There’s tons of info out there, plenty of education, but it’s too hard, too confusing, too complicated. Most people are just going to keep doing what they’re doing.

The carriers know that they’re the ones with the greatest incentive to solve their network congestion problems, and they’ve been working furiously to do so. If they want a new arrow in their quiver, I think it’s technology like Mobolize CacheFront, installed on the endpoint device, automatically saving data by eliminating apps’ requests for needless redelivery of data. Make it invisible to users and don’t ask them to participate – they’re just not going to.

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