WebRTC is the new battleground for peer-to-peer vs. server-based models for communications

It would be wrong to classify Google as being purely objective here either. Despite high-profile moves like Google Voice, Gmail and Chat, I think that its dirty secret is that it doesn’t actually want to control or monetise communications per se. I suspect it sees a trillion-dollar market in telecoms services such as phone calls and SMS’s that could – eventually – be dissipated to near-zero and those sums diverted into alternate businesses in cloud infrastructure, advertising and other services.

I suspect Google believes (as do I) that a lot of communications will eventually move “into” applications and contexts. You’ll speak to a taxi driver from the taxi app, send messages inside social networks, or conclude business deals inside a collaboration service. You’ll do interviews “inside” LinkedIn, message/speak to possible partners inside a dating app etc. If your friend wants to meet you at the pub, you’ll send the message inside a mapping widget showing where it is… and so on.

I think Google wants to monetise communications context rather than communications sessions, through advertising or other enabling/exploiting capabilities.

Feature or Product (aka Service)? Perhaps like cameras they will remain both, albeit the Product version being a little more niche.

WCIT, Neutrality, OTT-Telco & "sustainable" Internet business models

I don’t buy the argument that we should reinvent the Internet because some applications work badly on congested networks (eg VoIP and streamed video). My view is that

  1. Users understand and accept variable quality as the price of the huge choice afforded them by the open Internet. 2.5 billion paying customers can’t be wrong.
  2. Most of the time, on decent network connections, stuff works acceptably well
  3. There’s a lot that can be done with clever technology such as adaptivity, intelligent post-processing to “guess” about dropped packets, multi-routing and so forth, to mitigate the quality losses
  4. As humans, we’re pretty good at making choices. If VoIP doesn’t work temporarily, we can decide to do the call later or send an email instead. Better applications have various forms of fallback mode, either deliberately or accidentally.
  5. Increasingly, we all have multiple access path to the Internet – cellular, various WiFi accesses and so forth. Where we can’t get online with enough quality, it’s often coverage that’s the problem, not capacity anyway.
  6. Anything super-critical can go over separate managed networks rather than the Public Internet, as already happens today

Excellent. Many good points on the topics.

Dean Bubley’s 2013 Telecom Industry Anti-Forecasts

My 2013 Telecom Industry Anti-Forecasts

So without further ado, these are Disruptive Analysis’ Top 10 Telecoms Anti-Forecasts for the coming year…

1) RCSe / RCS5 / Joyn won’t gain meaningful user traction

2) NFC payments will continue to struggle.

3) Broad adoption of VoLTE won’t occur in 2013

4) WebRTC won’t take over the world in 2013

5) Nokia won’t be acquired

6) LTE won’t replace fixed broadband.

7) OTT traffic on broadband won’t be “monetised”

8) Handset purchase patterns won’t change that much

9) WiFi won’t be “seamless” or tightly coupled to mobile network cores

10) No operator will make a bold acquisition of a major Internet player

Bonus!

A couple of other, shorter, extra anti-forecasts for 2013:

– Cellular M2M connections will start to lose out to WiFi, Zigbee, private radio and others for connections to devices that don’t actually move about
– LTE roaming will be widely ignored because of bill-shock risk, spectrum mismatch in devices and issues around supporting voice
– Nobody normal will be using mobile phones to unlock doors of homes, cars or hotels instead of keys or cards
– Mobile video-calling/sharing will remain almost irrelevant, and generate way more PR puff than it deserves. Some other embedded-video apps might make more sense, though.
– Augmented Reality is mostly touted by people with a limited grip on non-augmented reality. It won’t be meaningfully important in 2013, if ever.
– Everyone will hate the new venue for MWC13. I’m not going – if I fancied a week on an industrial park next to IKEA, I’d go to Neasden as it’s closer.
The Internet will happily go about its merry monoservice business, despite the apocalyptic predictions of my colleague Martin Geddes. I won’t be waking from nightmares shouting “Non-stationarity!!!
– Outside of the Galaxe Note-style “phablet”, few tablets will have 3G/4G modems embedded, and even fewer will have them regularly used
– We won’t see much change in Internet Governance, despite lots of noise and thunder from those mostly-thwarted at the ITU WCIT conference
– White-space technology won’t evolve as far, as fast or as disruptively as many people hope
– We probably won’t see Software-Defined Networking (SDN) proceed as fast as many hope, but that’s an area for me to research a bit more fully before nailing down that conclusion

Have a Happy New Year. Be Disruptive…..

 

Excellent.

Essential reading for ITU World attendees: Ubiquity is EARNED not ASSUMED

Dial 911!

Emergency calling usually rears its head at this point inthe argument, as an example of the ???greater good??? that customers are only awareof when they really need it. It is used as excuse for continuing the controlled,centralised, federated-telco model.

I think that is a non-sequitur.

I agree that good emergency communications is a must. Italso needs a bottom-up rethink. Nobody sensible would suggest being able tocall 911 from inside voice chat in World of Warcraft (???Police? My sword???s beenstolen???). But nobody sensible would say it???s a bad idea to allow SMS???s to emergencyservices either, yet 20 years on it???s still not possible in most countries.

Emergency calling, by the telcos under threat.

Future of Comms – Time to kill the ‘call’?

Sometimes the obvious stares you in the face for a very long time, without you noticing it. My colleague Dean Bubley truly surpassed himself recently by pointing out the non-obvious obvious: that the whole idea of “calling” someone in the real world is typically rude and interruptive: “Hey ??? YOU! ??? Come here NOW!”.Telephony merely replicates this etiquette error in virtual form.

Thus the very concept of a “telephone call” is flawed from a modern standpoint. What was acceptable when telephony was the only form of real-time mass communication is no longer universally so.

Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking the same: https://workflowy.com/shared/506e96b0-bad5-8de4-b37b-a27c18485ec4/

Doc Searls – Will the carriers body-snatch the Net with HTML5?

Background: telcos and cablecos – what we call “carriers,” and the industry calls “operators” – are hounded by what they call “over the top,” or OTT (of their old closed phone and cable TV systems). Everything that makes you, app developers and content producers independent of telcos and cablecos is OTT. ┬áNaaS, as Crossey explains it, is a way for the telcos and cablecos to put the genie of OTT independence back inside the bottle of carrier control.

The blathering about OTT, and its eager adoption as the term of craft to signify understanding, has irked since day one. Because since Day One, every service on the Internet has been (or can be) provided by other than the carrier.

Indeed this structural separation is the foundation of the freedom and flexibility that has caused the innovation for which the Internet is justly famed.

The idea that access to carrier customer information, in the two-sided model advocated for so long by Telco 2.0 (home to “Internet warming” scare monger Martin Geddes), will exclude some by becoming mandatory is a bit of a long bow. Indeed services may differentiate and appeal by not being geo-aware, or interested in all your demographic and social graph information.

That interest is conventionally held to be required for the nirvana of ad-supported services, but Doc Searls has for sometime predicted the demise of the model (or at least its marginalisation).

Too many too large and too clever organisations efficiently deliver their services using the Internet to be tempted by entering a global negotiation with local and national carriers to establish APIs, thus granting them the power Twitter is so casually abusing.

Co-operation at the level required for this strategy is mercifully beyond the narrow short-term self-interest of telcos to co-ordinate. All happy to ITU when the going was good, but competition has changed that happy band of brothers.

Telco 2.0, or at least Dean Bubley, illustrates this over-engineered habit time and time again: http://disruptivewireless.blogspot.co.nz/

In the long term, we’re not going back to X.400, the abstracted Internet market is so many orders of magnitude larger than any “carrier” that working with them (a pig of a job at the best of times) is very unlikely to be worth the grief.

The telecoms industry and a dual-dilemma problem

Thinking about this more today, I’ve realised that my view can be explained quite simply. The telecom industry is (as far as I can tell) the first to face two classical “dilemmas” simultaneously:

  • The Innovator’s Dilemma: The title of Clayton Christensen’s seminal book on disruptive innovation (from which I take a great deal of inspiration, including my company name). It refers to well-managed, profitable companies watching disaster unfold, as they ignore a low-cost / low-profit new technology because it targets only adjacent markets, and would threaten cannibalisation if applied to their own. But it improves over time, gaining strength and scale, and eventually kills them anyway, as it expands from adjacencies to core.
  • The Prisoner’s Dilemma: This is a famous thought-experiment applying “game theory” to collaboration and cooperation. Do two prisoners remain silent & complicit – both receiving short sentences – or does one frame the other, going free while the other languishes in jail? Or, if both try to betray each other, they both get long sentences. (Edit: Martin Geddes has pointed out the different game if you change the apostophe to prisoners’ dilemma)