“When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.”
It’s a regular topic of conversation here (and elsewhere too of course), that CSP’s revenue streams are under pressure. CSPs have been in the game of selling technology-based services traditionally but just as we’ve seen in the television industry (please see earlier blog entitled “The television analogy“) I believe we’re reaching (or have reached?) the peak of the bell-curve for technology-based margins in telecommunications. The next generation of margins are likely to come from the overall ecosystem – the value of the content delivered over those technologies.
Let’s use an example. Wikipedia is a technology framework that allows people to contribute content, which in turn makes it an increasingly valuable product without being employees of the company. Now compare that with a mobile telephony service. There’s no doubt that the ability to communicate over long distances is a valuable function, but is the content (ie conversations) being harnessed to make an ever improving product(assuming the network effect is negligible in countries where there are more mobile services than people)? The content creators (ie the people making calls) aren’t improving the ecosystem, such as reducing signal blackspots, by having conversations.
I also wonder whether Google have reached the same conclusion with the sell-off of the Motorola handsets division? Firstly, I’d imagine that Google’s handset business would’ve irked key Android OS customers, like Samsung, for being competitors as well as customers. But more importantly, smart-phones in their current guise can only commoditise from here. I’m sure Google’s original acquisition had in mind a broader ecosystem that incorporated handsets, but in effect Android plus Google Play is the ecosystem that has the potential to provide the valuable content collaboration service on top of any commoditised hardware of the future (ie the user experience layer). Similarly, Google Application Engine allows users to contribute applications to the system.
[Ed: Check out this set of other insights from the Telecom Executives Business Network on the sale of Motorola Mobility on LinkedIn]
In other words, Google ecosystem is providing the framework to support the long tail of content and application development that enhances the overall user experience, all without needing to sell the devices in much the same way as the television analogy has played out.
So, I need your help. What must I do today… to help our industry, the OSS vendors, CSPs, enterprise and users of Telco/OSS services to ensure they don’t drop off the back end of the bell curve?
I’m evangelising the need to innovate and create an OSS/content/app ecosystem but dear reader, I would love to get your amazing thoughts / ideas / insights on how you and I can help our industry?