Category 4d. Smartphone App Challenge

Category 4: Apps of the Year

4d. Smartphone App Challenge

Consumer demand for innovative smartphone applications has grown dramatically over the past few years and this high demand and heavy use of mobile applications has resulted in a greatly increased demand on mobile networks resources.

If network resources are not used efficiently the user experience can be poor – no matter how good the App may be. There is no doubt that new smartphone apps have created opportunities for developers to tap into the deeper capabilities of operator’s networks to deliver greater functionality, convenience and simplicity in their applications. When Apps and the network work in harmony, the end user experience is greatly enhanced.

This category has been created to showcase the Best Apps that enhance the user experience by making efficient use of network resources, such as the development of Smartphone Applications that use networks efficiently (specifically signaling load at the network level) and/or those that promote the utilisation of Network APIs that allow developers to enhance their mobile or web applications (either by incorporating information from the mobile network or by making it easier for a mobile user to use applications).

In terms of applications that are developed to be “network-friendly”, specifically we would like to highlight those developed and optimised for mobile networks, along the lines of the GSMA’s published recommendations at: for application developers that enable improvements across a number of areas including application connectivity, power consumption, network reliability and security.

By following the guidelines, developers are better equipped to create fit-for-purpose apps; mobile operators will see a reduced strain on their networks; and users will experience more responsive and reliable apps and improved battery life.

The entry is open to both “Native or Packaged Applications” running on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, FirefoxOS, Blackberry (etc.) and “Mobile Web Applications” running through a mobile browser. The entry must be compliant with the GSMA guidelines and be publicly accessible via an application store (e.g. iTunes, Google Play) or via the internet through a mobile browser. A “Mobile Web Application” is defined as an application that has been developed using web technologies (HTML, JavaScript, CSS, Flash, Silverlight and any server-side languages) and is accessible via the internet and through the mobile browser. “Mobile Web Applications” should be interactive and dynamic (unlike static “information” style websites).

For applications that make best use of network APIs; these can be used by either Web based applications running on a developer’s web server or within Apps installed on devices. The type of API can vary from providing access to messaging services like SMS and MMS, provision of location or identity services, access to mobile multimedia communications systems and payment services that allow items to be added to user’s mobile phone bill.

Entry is therefore open to any application that utilises open Network APIs as exposed either directly by a mobile operator or the GSMA or via an intermediary. Judging will be based on the use of mash-ups of multiple Network APIs to provide innovative examples of applications that can include information from mobile networks to improve their value to the user or utilise the capabilities of a network operator to improve the way the application can be used by a mobile user.

One winner will be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday 25th February 2014.


The Entry Deadline has been extended until Friday 6th December 2013.

Entry is open to any application where that application is publicly accessible via a public Application Store on or before the awards entry deadline of Friday 6th December 2013.

Judging criteria:

The judges will be looking at how well entries meet the key criteria, as follows:

  • Adherence to GSMA Guidelines (Smarter Apps for Smarter Phones)
  • Application Usability
  • Mandatory use of Push Server to minimise background signaling
  • Innovation in achieving application efficiency
  • Innovation in the use of multiple Network APIs exposed either directly or indirectly by Mobile operators
  • High degree of Application Usability for the mobile user

Entry forms, supporting materials & formats:

The submission of video to support your entry/entries is mandatory. You may provide one URL to a video link demonstrating your entry and importantly what you have done to make it usable and efficient. This should be either privately or publicly posted to YouTube (if a private post, please provide a user name and password for judges to access). The video should be between 3 and 5 minutes in length, but no more.

If pointing judges to a website within your entry, please include one website URL, where specific information relating to your product, device, application, initiative or service entered can be found (judges will not surf websites looking for the information). Please note you should also point to the Application Store where your application is available.

The on-line entry form includes an upload facility for you to provide multimedia. You will have the ability to upload 5 additional files to accompany your entry up to a maximum file size of 5MB each. These can be illustration pdfs, such as for customer testimonials, jpeg for photos or PowerPoint for technical diagrams or statistics, but please keep these relevant to your entry and keep the pages to a maximum of two.

Specific Entry Form Questions for this category:

On the entry form, in addition to submitting contact and company information, you will be asked to answer the following questions. (Please note the maximum text/character length for your answers including spaces are shown in brackets below).

Preview of entry form questions:

  1. What is the name of your application? Please note the name given here will be used in all awards publicity. (150 characters = approx 25 words)
  2. If this a joint entry? If so, who are the partnering organisations? (150 characters = approx 25 words)
  3. Please indicate whether you are submitting a Web Application or an App to run on a mobile device. (500 characters = approx 85 words)
  4. Please describe as simply as possible, the nature of the application and the user proposition i.e. how does it work, what need is it intended to fulfill? Please describe it as accurately as possible (500 characters = approx 85 words)
  5. When was the application launched, and on which application stores is it currently available? (500 characters = approx 85 words)
  6. If entering a Smartphone App that creates efficiencies in the network please describe the techniques employed in the application to make it User Friendly. This should cover:
    a. User Interface Responsiveness;
    b. Network efficiency – optimal use of network resources.
    (in 1500 characters = approx. 250 words)
  7. How has this application minimised unnecessary signalling overheads between device and network? (1500 characters = approx. 250 words)
  8. If entering an App which makes greater use of Network APIs, please describe which Network APIs you access and from which operator or 3rd party you access them from? (1,500 characters = approx 250 words)
  9. Please describe how you use Network APIs to make your app or web application
    a. innovative?
    b. enables or improves the app or web application?
    (1,500 characters = approx 250 words)
  10. How has this application used the mobile network to enhance the features and functionality of the product (1500 characters = approx. 250 words)
  11. How will the end user benefit from the efficiencies or additional Network APIs contained in the application? (1500 characters = approx. 250 words)

Please note: Use one URL that is specific and relevant to the category and will help judges further understand your entry, but due to the number of entries received, judges will not have time to surf company websites looking for further information on the entered product/service or initiative.

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