The impact of cloud computing on the service provider market

A question was recently posted on linked in asking “What impact will the rise of cloud computing have on the service provider market over the next two years”?

It is an interesting question and not necessarily one you may be concerned with…but there may well be some effects that we all feel down track.

Cloud computing can be divided into many sub-groups: infrastructure, platform and software -as-a-service.  And into many industry types – cloud telephony being one such example. 

In a telecoms sense, what cloud computing offers service providers is a new network or platform option on which to run their services.  When you then throw cloud telephony providers into the mix, there is the potential for service providers to be able to add more features, services and content quicker than currently possible, and at a reduced cost, yet helping to increase ARPU – or at the very least engender a greater degree of customer loyalty.

Cloud telephony platforms such as Aculab Cloud are making it far easier for developers to add telephony features to an application. And of course, as a consequence, those developers are setting themselves up as service providers of one sort or another. The result is that telecom service providers are having to sit up and take notice as customers are tempted away by telephony-based applications that, quite simply, aren’t available on their network – let alone accessible from their network. It may be a case of “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” A cloud-based telephony platform provides a ready option for ‘joining in’.

Some service providers have already responded by buying startup telephony platforms; such as BT’s purchase of Ribbit.  Other cloud telephony players are trying to attract startups that have the ambition of becoming large, alternative (to the usual PSTN suspects, that is) service providers – in the fullness of time.  But that isn’t something the service providers need worry about for a while yet – or need they?

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