Geddes on The Future of the Telephony Business

old_phoneMartin Geddes posted a great video clip from eComm about the future of the telephony business.

There were two concepts I thought were really interesting and clearly described both the future potential, and main challenge of unified communications.

1. Future Potential

  • Martin talked about the idea that future telecom revenues will come from opening up new services that businesses can use to better integrate the telephony network into their existing business processes and applications. No doubt a significant driver behind BT’s acquisition of Ribbit – so as to allow a giant API to be put on top the BT network, giving access to application developers to tightly integrate telephony into their software.

2. Main Challenge

  • Near to the very end of the video Martin says that no one telecom company will be able to achieve this on their own. As an industry filled with companies built on the idea of tightly controlled access to network services, the idea of opening up to the likes of companies such as Skype, Google, Microsoft, etc will definitely be a significant hurdle to overcome.

For years fixed and mobile operators have been concerned about becoming a commodity bit pipe to end users. In an attempt to avoid this fate the operators exercised control, artificially limiting the services that application developers could leverage when building new products. In contrast to this, Martin’s comments made me consider whether the future will see operators competing based on how open their networks are and what core network services are made available for companies and developers to use and integrate into new applications.

It may be a long and painful road for some operators who are still stuck in the mindset that they can control when (or if) innovations occur on top of their network. But fundamentally the prize in all of this is about making the telephone network (both mobile and fixed) into a massive platform for innovation, experimentation and development.

If you’re interested in some insights to the potential of “Telco 2.0”, Martin’s video is definitely well worth watching.