Technology provides no benefits of its own

Technology provides no benefits of its own; it is the application of technology to business opportunities that produces ROI.”
Robert McDowell
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Let’s have a look at the quote above in the context of CSP service offerings, technology delivery methods and customer experiences.

Let’s start with POTS – Plain Old Telephony Service. The customer experience (ie being able to have a conversation with someone almost anywhere around the world) was so valuable that customers have been willing to pay handsomely (and recurringly – if such a word exists!) for the service. CSPs have been responsible for providing that service (ie telephony) directly and have been influential in the development of the technology that delivers the service (ie voice switches and telephone handsets).

The same direct relationship had occurred for other great revenue generators like mobile telephony and short messaging services (SMS).

However, in the transition to the “speeds and feeds” data era, the CSPs relinquished control of “the experience.” They simply provided the data pipes to organisations that would responsible for creating their own experiences based on the hardware and software that they installed on the ends of the pipes. Nobody needs a data feed, other than a means to an end.

Within this void, the OTT (Over the Top) play began to take control of “the experience” and with it, the uniqueness of service that the customer (or advertisers to those customers) was willing to pay for. The only influence the CSPs have in the experience of OTT services like Facebook, YouTube, etc is if there are network problems, so the experience can only have negative connotations for the CSP.

We’re currently facing a major transformational period in communications. Advances in technologies such as virtualised networks and sensor networks are opening up business opportunities that haven’t previously existed (or haven’t been efficiently realisable). If looking specifically at sensor networks, the CSPs still have an opportunity to enable the customer experience and associated business opportunities.

As some of our most important customers, we (the OSS industry) have to find a way to facilitate CSPs in gaining control of the IoT experience.

 

This could be in the form of:

  • Product (ie platforms that allow a CSP to monitor and manage sensor networks, as well as providing portals for the CSP‘s customers) or
  • Connections (ie bringing together innovation across networks, software, sensors, etc) that can create a value-fabric that delivers compelling customer experiences.

Once-in-a-lifetime business opportunities abound for individuals or organisations to create highly valuable micro-niches using IoT technology as the delivery mechanism. The question is whether CSPs (and OSS vendors indirectly) can create a platform that facilitates a compelling customer experience.

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