Telecom Futures Today

Telecom FuturesI was invited to a customer event run by Flowroute, they provide SIP trucking, telecom APIs, and a range of other telecom services focused on the North American market. And were a sponsor of TADHack Chicago, their winning hack Samaritan was our second winning husband and wife team. The Flowroute customer event was a chance for customers to provide feedback on what they need, understand Flowroute’s plans, and help in its prioritization. It was a great event, that provided significant insight into the challenges created by the telcos and the weird deals they make with greedy middlemen. Take for example 1800 SMS…

The SMS short-code business in the US is retarded due to the greed of those in-charge of the short-codes. Even phones warn you not to reply to a short-code else incur significantly higher charges. Hence long codes are used in preference, but have rate limits as they are meant for person to person not application to person communications, which limits the addressable use cases. Hence the rise of 1800 SMS as a way for businesses to do bulk messaging on numbers people know well. Well guess what, greed steps in and a business gets stifled with crazy per SMS rates that retard the business just like short-codes. The legacy Telco ecosystem appears on a pathological path to becoming an ISP, discouraging businesses and customers from using their services as the internet rises to fill the gaps.

I presented at the customer event on Telecom Futures, see below. It was my usual pitch on the importance of telecom app development to the future of telecoms. The fact many telcos continue to stifle service innovation. But the democratization of telecoms by the internet and open source, along with its programmability, have put the power of telecoms into the hands of everyone, with certain limitations.

What was heartening at the customer event is the realization of the above vision. Small and medium sized businesses are getting communications embedded into their business processes. Businesses are focusing locally on packaging up a range of IT and Communication services to make it easy of those businesses and its customers to work together. The TADS vision is being realized.

Check out the TADSummit agenda and you will see many small and medium businesses innovating in telecoms. We’re starting to see a groundswell of telecom service innovation across many business verticals. That is not to say telcos are standing still, there are some leading-lights, as we show in the “Telcos Making a Difference” breakout streams. However, the democratization of telecoms is shifting the balance, at the Flowroute customer event I witnessed significant wealth being created through this democratization. Its only just beginning.