Telecommunications has long been straddled with file based integrations, batch processes, massive data and turgid reports. The trawl through irrelevant material, the delays in getting information, and the compromises to integrity that silos impose on information are legendary. When files go missing, revenue gets lost – that’s the best we can hope for. In these days when partners are everywhere in the service value network, when Government and regulators get to decide how parts of business process work, and where the old one-to-one service-provider-to-consumer relationship is the stuff of nostalgia events at the Christmas party, the implications are far greater.
And so, the old behemoths are picking themselves up and slavishly going about process and systems transformation in order to secure data, to protect processes, and to connect silos. We guard our information more carefully now, and we understand the dangers of inappropriate controls.
Dragging the industry out of the 1970s however has only been the beginning of what threatens to be a truly breathtaking metamorphosis. Full on degregulation, increased competition, standards like IP, pervasive wirelessness, and interconnected independent devices connected to everything and anything in multiple protocols and – gosh! – multiple networks, even personal networks, and suddenly the gloom of a Dickensian past is being swept away by marketing gurus, experience consultants and brand aficionados. The Apple pizzazz, and the star-dazzled tooth in Richard Branson’s smile means that telecommunications is not what is was, the old boring utility. Telcos are now competitive multi-serviced and multi-tentacled leviathans, offering Disney and the New York Yankees, computer games for women and consumer electronics for silver surfers. We are truly changed.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, our parents complain that things move too fast and that we have no attention spans, our relationships are transient and our communications fleeting. We say that we move much faster, that our capacity to consume information is greater, our relationships are more plentiful, and our communications more bountiful. Not for us the slow sips from over-sugared cups of tea on a Sunday afternoon, dipping the Marietta biscuit and hoping not to lose the bottom half to a grizzled drowning at the bottom of the cup, while some half decrepit aunt drones on about Pat’s arthritis. We scorn the indulgence of the past, we celebrate the irreverence of the present, and we run headlong into an uncertain yet thrilling future. The poverty of our parents, the war weariness of our grand parents, the misery of their forebears is all forgotten. We are about speed.
Whither then our services? Our industry? How much faster can we go? The future matches time, and space, with an intelligence that helps us to move even faster. We need to know before we need to know, we need to be boosted by our services, we need to be driven to greater heights by the ability of our service provider to differentiate not our services, or our devices, or even our lifestyles – but our very lives. All the information about me, all of it – is in the machine. I will give you permission to take all of that information, and make everything relevant for me, make it timely for me, make me all that I can be. It’s not just real-time, it’s not just virtual reality. It’s real. It’s reality. And it’s now.