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Connectivity Not Necessarily a "Commodity?"

Some statements properly need to be qualified and understood in context, even if our typical phrasing lacks that nuance. We might agree there are a few instances where "connectivity is not a commodity." But that characterization hinges on our understanding of the term, in context, in all its range of connotations.
When observers say that connections to the internet (business or consumer) are a commodity, that typically is phrased as access or connectivity being a “dumb pipe”
The other implied terms span a range: low value, low price, slow-growing, low profit margin, declining growth, saturated market or any other modifier that suggests the connectivity is old, stagnant, saturated, hard to differentiate, lacking growth opportunity, is not innovative,  or some similar notion.
So when a telecom executive implies that “connectivity is not a commodity,” that claim also has to be parsed. Stefano Gastaut, CEO of Vodafone IoT, does not believe that connectivity will be a commodity fo…

Reducing Carbon Footprint is Not Painless

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It is a really good thing that data centers and service providers data centers and communications service providers now are working to reduce their carbon footprints. 

Sometimes the magnitude of the changes is hard to assess, in personal terms, as those changes by firms are not directly experienced. 

This estimate by Business Insider suggests a typical U.S. resident produces 17 tons of carbon dioxide a year. Some of us would be happy it was only that much.
Other estimates peg typical carbon footprint at 20 tons per year, with an absolute minimum of perhaps 8.5 tons (no home, no car, mostly carbon embedded in food consumption). And I have seen estimates as high as 26 tons per year. Of course, it all depends on one’s assumptions.
I did some calculations of what it would take to get my own footprint cut nearly in half, using 26 tons are the baseline, in other words aiming for about 14 tons annually.
The assumptions include business travel on airplanes, one of the worst carbon impacts. A lo…

Why Amazon Meetings Ban Presentations; Why Memos Instead

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At 24:54 of this video, Amazon CEO explains why he bans use of slideware (PowerPoint and others) at meetings, and instead has meeting organizers prepare written briefing documents of no more than six pages.  

The first half hour of so of every meeting consists of attendees reading the memos, before actual discussion begins.
Some would say that is because “reading” is part of Amazon’s legacy as a bookseller.
Some of us might say the reason for such practices is that writing is related to thinking. clear thinking and clear writing tend to be directly related. In fact, some would argue writing is thinking. better writing requires better thinking.
In fact, some would argue that critical thinking also is correlated with writing. You might agree that teachers believe reading, writing and thinking are related.
There are business implications, if in fact thinking and writing are related. Business leaders these days often complain that their employees, or potential employees, have weak writing …

Maybe Legacy Voice Is Not a Bad Solution for Many Businesses

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Though I have to admit I do not follow the unified communications market anymore, one fact about the market that has puzzled me for two decades is why smaller businesses and organizations have not adopted at a far-higher rate.
I understand why the economics of switch and server ownership continue to make sense for larger enterprises. Any product sold as a subscription, by the unit, will tend to have tougher economics for buyers as the number of subscriptions purchased climbs, and when known “own your switch or server” alternatives exist.
Most of us can cite at least some reasons why an IP-based solution of any sort (premises switch or hosted service) has feature advantages over a legacy TDM (time division multiplex) phone system.
source: Edgewater Networks
An annual survey of small and mid-sized businesses conducted for Edgewater Networks of North American organizations seems to suggest that a majority of SMBs of all sizes still rely on TDM solutions for voice.
There is no methodology …

What Does "Winning 5G" Mean?

Winning the 5G race is a term we hear quite a lot. What it means, and whether it is feasible, are the big questions. In industrial policy terms, mobile platforms such as 4G or 5G are viewed as “zero sum” games, where a fixed amount of success (revenue, jobs) exist and winners take winnings from losers.
At one level, this is nonsense. Customers of mobile networks in India or Columbia do not directly affect subscriber counts in Canada. What policymakers and advocates of “winning the 5G race” refer to is something else, namely economic benefits in other parts of the mobile ecosystem.
At another level, scale does matter. A critical mass of users is necessary to create conditions where innovators have a pool of potential customers large enough to justify developing new features and functions. So, in that sense, getting quickly to critical mass (getting scale) does matter.
But most of the benefits of “winning a race” in the mobile platforms area are to be found elsewhere.
Most observers wou…

"AT&T Watch" and "Terminal Decline"

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It is not always so obvious why new services such as AT&T Watch, a $15-a-month streaming service, is so fundamental for mobile operators and retail- and consumer-focused telecom service providers.

The  fundamental problem is that the core business model--connectivity services--is incapable of driving future revenue growth. In fact, we are likely to see an actual erosion of such revenue in developed and developing markets, sometime within the next five to 10 years.

Terminal decline is the phrase the Economist Intelligence Unit uses to describe the fixed network telecom business. Harsh words, perhaps, but instructive if one honestly has to assess the direction of public policy about fixed telecom networks.
It is too early to use that term for the mobile business, which continues to grow, globally, even if the business is mature in developed markets.

Still, developed market revenue trends have been dipping since 2008, for example, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation…

Tier-One Telcos Looking for Roles in Virtual and Augmented Reality?

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As is true in almost every other part of the retail-focused telecom business, service providers are exploring roles in the artificial reality or virtual reality area that extend beyond mere connectivity, and move either up the stack or across the value chain.
“Telcos have a key role in enabling VRAR services as providers of broadband and mobile network services, but we see them beginning to explore revenue opportunities in VRAR that are beyond 5G data and connectivity, with some leading players entering key segments of the VRAR supply chain in the past two years,” says Ozgur Aytar, GlobalData director of research. “Take Verizon, for example, that has made acquisitions in VRAR content platforms, while SK Telecom is building its own, or, AT&T that is investing to develop compelling VR experiences and AR apps and Orange is taking steps to increase its participation across the board in devices, platforms, services and original content,” he says.
source: GlobalData
Though it might be eas…