By Susan J. Campbell
The demand for innovative applications continues to grow, putting increased pressure on mobile service providers (SPs) to deliver more apps and services to people faster than the competition. To create and sustain a competitive edge, service providers must invest in faster and more flexible service deployment. At the same time, clear focus must be placed on open innovation to accelerate service development to enable the agility needed to optimize key opportunities in retail and wholesale.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent Enriching Communications article, Accelerate Communication Service Development explored the importance of the competitive edge and how mobile service providers can focus on their strengths to achieve the level of agility, innovation and flexibility necessary to effectively compete. The fact that service providers deliver solutions that work across devices and the boundaries of different networks is a key strength that can be monetized in sustainable and profitable ways.
Many of today’s new mobility-centric applications do not allow the user to connect with another application. Both communicating parties must be using the same app or even the same device. This limits the opportunity for the user and the developer. That creates opportunity for SPs to insert themselves into the mix. They can position themselves as the focal point of an evolving ecosystem that offers customers new capabilities and experiences and themselves the ability to leverage new capabilities like IMS to change the conversation experience for all involved.
The fact is that mobile service providers already have critical functionality in their networks, for global roaming and interoperability. They also offer strong billing, provisioning and support relationships with customers. With proper collaboration with developers and other third parties this can translate into an ecosystem that can widen competitive gaps and create new opportunities to accelerate service development based on such tools as the Alcatel-Lucent Converged Telephony Server.
It isn’t enough to simply communicate, however. Service providers today need to get ahead of the other players by extending their strengths and forming new communications around such things as Web 2.0 capabilities, multimedia instant messaging, social networking and video interactions (streamed and real-time.) They literally need to open their networks to the new era where applications enablement is the fuel that generates customer interest, stickiness, loyalty and profits.
The bottom line is the bottom line. SPs that adopt an open innovation strategy grounded in application enablement will combine the value of its network intelligence with Web innovation. This level of service agility will enable them to quickly add new capabilities and platforms, as well as develop an application ecosystem that bridges the gap between voice, video and Web, and fixed and mobile. It is the way to accelerate the creation of a competitive edge.