Saturday, October 20, 2007

Reflecting on Telco2.0

Telco2.0 is brought to the industry by STL partners and its executive brainstorm is positioned as a genuinely open environment where industry people can challenge their own assumptions and gain insights. Let me boil it all down for you: (1) "if the browser is the gateway to the pipe, how in the world are telco's going to make some serious money"? (2) "is there anything in the mobile experience that can be tied to the telco network capabilities that delivers superior user experience" (3)"to get real breakthrough services, you need to have a deep understanding of the social-anthropological background that people use these services in: social networking is a result of peoples de-communitisation in the physical realm, that's why they play with age, identity, and relationships in the virtual realm". (4) "what's the point of innovating at the edge where even complete absorption of the online advertising industry would barely move the needle for the CEO of a major telco" (actually those figures are quite frightening). There is just so much money involved in network based investments that its hard to walk away from this kind of thinking. This is where Martin Geddes analogy of the experience of the shipping industry when it moved to the container based model had its real import: "the money was in shipping. with containers, it moved to the ports". I took this to mean "the edges". This is big strategic thinking here, and I am not sure how many people in the room really understood this. Sure, graphs and charts of value migration might have hammered the point home, but the overall narrative in the room was still rooted in "we have huge assets, how can we muscle in". Our CTO Graham Brierton had a clear idea of what the telco's needed to do to support innovation and companies like VoiceSage: hosted apps, hosted services, hosted data, common standards. Finally, I think that VoiceSage received a lot of very positive attention at the event as a great example of the "new thinking". We met a few people that very much "got it", and we look forward to continuing the conversation.

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