IoE

Disrupting the disrupters: Can the communications industry strike back?

When it comes to the pace of innovation — Silicon Valley versus the communications industry? – who would you put your money on?

Most of the audience at TM Forum Live’s The Empire Strikes Back session today said Silicon Valley. Amit Pau, Managing Director, Ariadne Capital, offered a more positive vision for telcos, though. He urged them to “start a movement” to fight back, and he gave them some ideas how.

To avoid the first two scenarios in the diagram above:

  • You have to partner: “David and Goliath dance”. Pau said it’s a myth that most start-ups fail because of lack of capital – they fail because of a lack of customer access. Telcos have that and the brand. Start-ups have the agility and the ideas that telcos need. “Reach out to start-ups,” Pau said. “They will help build the future for you and help you differentiate.” (He recommended the Entrepreneur Country community)
  • It’s the business model: Get the business model right and you’re going to win, Pau said. “Google is not a search company; they define the information architecture for the digital economy,” for example.
  • Think about data ownership: Pau said data is a huge opportunity for the communications industry to disrupt the disrupters such as Google and Facebook who are “making money on our data”. With GDPR legislation and other growing data privacy issues, there is huge scope for those who give data control back to the consumer. “Anyone who allows consumers to monetize their own data will fundamentally transform the digital economy,” Pau said.

You also have to identify your natural allies – “There’s no point in getting into bed with your competitors,” he said. And companies must run test pilots to check whether digital innovations are really having an impact on the bottom line.

Pau also identified further areas where communications service providers can win because the network is so crucial:

Are you convinced? Silicon Valley versus the communications industry: Who is going to win?



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Editor

Prior to joining the Forum, she wrote for a range of technology clients. Sarah is most interested in the stories and people behind the technology.

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