With an open platform, network operators position themselves to rapidly evolve their product and service offerings in response to market opportunity and/or demand. But the opportunity flows both ways. Leveraging their networks and corporate resources to address distribution, QoS, marketing reach, billing and customer support, network operators have the opportunity to position themselves as the infrastructure and go-to-market partner for young, innovative companies.
This positioning not only builds on the inherent strengths of a telecom but offers disruptive startups essential resources that would otherwise be costly (in terms of time and investment) to develop without necessarily increasing their enterprise value. The spectrum of managed services innovations should provide particularly attractive collaboration opportunities between network operators and startup innovators. Small business and consumer offerings are interesting initial entry points for this kind of collaboration.
Embracing an "open platform" for delivering next-generation information services to customers will depend upon the ability of network operators to engage, on a sustainable basis, with startup companies based in places like Silicon Valley. The onus for outreach to these communities will lay primarily with the network operator. This too will require the development of new business skills and "DNA" by telecoms. Innovation models based upon corporate venturing provide some guidance as to how to develop and successfully maintain these outreach efforts. The path isn't easy, but it's critical that telecommunications companies embark on this journey.
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