Work Stream 4 Kick off Discussion, Innovation in Legacy Consumer Telecoms Services

innovation in legacy consumer servicesAt TADSummit in Istanbul between 12-13th November, there will be six work streams over the two days of the event. These streams will be divided between in-depth case studies and moderated workgroup discussions. These will focus on key opportunities and challenges involved in building the relevant part of the telecom application development ecosystem.

This article covers work stream #4, covering the scope for innovating around traditional “legacy” consumer telecoms services such as telephony and SMS.

Attendees can choose which streams are right for them and sign up accordingly. Work stream leaders will choose the most appropriate format, as well as collaborating via online discussions to flesh out the issues, stimulate discussion, and ensure the sessions in Istanbul are as focused and productive as possible.

While it’s always tempting to focus on shiny new devices, slick apps and 4G+ network capabilities, it’s important not to lose sight of the huge installed base of mainstream users, especially in developing markets. While smartphone penetration is rising fast, there are still billions of customers with more basic products that can nevertheless drive increased revenues for operators, as well as benefits to the users and their communities.

This work stream goes “back to basics” and looks at ways to squeeze more value from the base of the pyramid, while simultaneously laying foundations for the inevitable move of users up to the next stage, especially as smartphone prices continue to fall.

The session will start off with case studies from real services developers and innovators, focusing on both the details of their offers, and the processes (and pain!) involved in taking them to market. This will consider both telcos’ own internal developments, and those constructed together with partners. This should take 30-40 minutes, with the work-stream leader driving an interactive session rather than dry presentations.

We’ll then have a quick discussion to distill out the immediate lessons and conclusions – as well as the variables that might determine particular operators’ or regions’ most successful approaches. The remaining hour will be undertaken in small groups, with facilitated discussions around tables, before reconvening at the end for summaries ad take-outs.

Some initial questions and topics are considered below, and hopefully comments on this post will stimulate a longer set of points:

  • Marketing, pricing and bundling of the most basic service – phone calls. How can we convince customers that “talk is good”?
  • Innovation in plans, such as hybrid pre/post-pay options, migrating users up to rolling one-month contracts etc.
  • How can new voice services be deployed without resorting to complex VoIP apps? Can we exploit the traditional phone call for messages, social chat, opinion polling, advertising or other mechanisms? Can the “missed call” be monetised?
  • How can SIM Toolkit applications be exploited to deliver interactive or commerce services to all?
  • What new use-cases are emerging for text-based VAS? mHealth, infotainment, eLearning? Collaboration with government authorites, NGOs or local media companies?
  • Managing the risk of cannibalisation by so-called OTT apps, when featurephone users start accessing the web and apps
  • How can we rekindle the adoption and use of fixed-line services for homes and small businesses? What scope is there for developers to innovate?
  • Whether to “sell your soul” to Facebook’s Internet.org, WeChat or Twitter for basic zero-rated data services, or low-end per-day data plans
  • How to minimise costs associated with users’ initial moves to data services, such as configuration and settings done by “ambassadors” or small shops

The above list is just a starting point. In the weeks before TADSummit we want to encourage contributor to come forward and add to the questions and structure of this work stream. What are the right questions and which case studies give the best lessons?

Article by Dean Bubley, Disruptive Analysis