Comptel’s Nexterday

softbank Nexterday North Ted MatsumotoI was lucky enough to be invited to Nexterday North to present on telecom app development. Nexterday North is a TED-like event principally sponsored by CompTel, with an impressive line up of speakers, including Ted Matsumoto’s presentation “SoftBank’s Mobile Internet Strategy and Advice to Challengers.” This was the highlight for me, they have one of the best converged internet / telecom strategies out there. See Dean Bubley’s review of his presentation here. Some of the SoftBank team will be attending TADSummit, thanks to OWMobility, so I know there is going to be lots of discussions on the operational aspects of Ted’s strategy. And a big thank you to Softbank for appreciating the value of TADSummit in sending their VP Product and Services and Director Platform Strategy and Development.

There were quite a few Futurist presentations, and I got to see some patterns in how these corporate astrologers sell their services. They start by throwing out as many future possibilities as possible. Some of which we’ve studied in history lessons decades ago like urbanization. To ones like when AI (artificial intelligence) gets smarter than us and starts developing its own AI, is it Terminator for real? They never give a firm opinion, only ask a question presented as a scary scenario. And its all wrapped up with a pretty bow of, ‘and have you thought about what it means to your business. Coz if not the digital natives and born digital companies like Google have. So do some scenario planning with us and get your future sorted.’ They tend to use all the lame-brained marketing terms as well.

Lets face it competitive IP based voice have been around since the BBNs (Bulletin Board Network) in the ’90s, its steadily got better to the point we use it in preference to the PSTN in many scenarios. Telcos knew about this right at the start, when I was at BT we played with those BBN voice services, its just telcos can not do anything about it. So knowing about something is not the gap, its being able to do something about it.

For all telcos next quarter’s numbers are all the matters, that is how the financial markets judge them, future scenarios simply do not matter. The claimed 5 year plans of telcos change every year, so the 2015 plan is nothing like the 2015 plan proposed in 2010. Can you imagine BT having ‘buy a mobile telco’ in their 2009 5 year plan? The disruptive stuff generally comes from outside large organizations, so getting better at bringing it in-house is the key. Alphabet (nee Google) is a good example of a large organization structuring to better harness outside innovations.

Yes we all have computers in our pockets, that’s Moore law, which is 50 years old. We are not going to have mass market physically embedded computers in our bodies beyond the needs of specific medical conditions because of the ever growing infection RISK. Anyway, rant over on the corporate astrologers. We need to get more focused on bringing the cool / disruptive stuff into the business this year or next. And that is hook for my presentation on telecom app development.

Two critical trends have created this category of telecom app development. The internet and web have democratized telecoms, so anyone can do it. Telecom app development is not beholden to telcos nor to the BABS (Bay Area BS) machine, it can happen anywhere – its local. Telecoms is now programmable (APIs and platforms), its easy to integrate into you applications, services and business processes.

The Telecom Application Developer Summit / Hackathon (TADS) is a grass roots initiative to build an open ecosystem focused on helping businesses use telecom capabilities in their applications, services and business processes.

TADS bring together the leaders in the industry – across service providers, technology providers, developers, and enterprises – to work on getting new services to market and making business success in new services an everyday reality. By leaders we mean those affecting change, not only those with a Chief or VP in their title. TADS is unique, as in a sea of Digital Tripe, it focuses on the people, services, business and technologies driving telecom app development.

We’re not afraid of bucking the group-think created by weak-minded marketing. For example, Digital Transformation is utter nonsense. Digital was cool in the ’70s, just like when telecom services became digital with digital exchanges, ISDN and later video and internet services. The internet has been digital since it was created in 1969. And transformation is yet another nonsense word for pretending to change. Change comes from outside an organization, not inside.

Telecom is so much more than poles, holes, towers and cables. Here is a definition. Telecoms: transmission of information, as words, sounds, or images, usually over great distances, in the form of electromagnetic signals, as by telegraph, telephone, radio, television, and the internet.

Whether its person to person or application to person. Telecoms will remain an essential part of our lives, and its becoming ever richer thanks to a growing telecom app development ecosystem. I show the slide below.

Nexterday North was a worth while event, pick the presentations that interest, ignore the futurists, and focus on bringing more services to market.

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