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GearsSmallHype and Hyperbole?

The channel is evolving, but the case can be made that it has always been so. After years of promise, VoIP may well be at the tipping point for traditional telco. But does this bring a greater opportunity or additional pressure to the telecom reseller? The channel seems to be opening for non-Telco / IT resellers to add voice and data to their portfolio and skip the copper network with all of its vagaries entirely.

There is a precedent with the so called ‘developing markets’ of 15 years ago that evolved straight from “no communication” to “mobile 3G” in one move, skipping fixed networks entirely. Now, voice and data is being sold by IT companies as a complimentary product for their existing portfolio. No PBX and no specific maintenance agreement. Minutes are free and the model is changing.

This isn’t a phenomena restricted to telecoms either, developments in 3D printing are bringing new players into manufacturing at an accelerating pace. “Platforms as a service” provided by Amazon, Microsoft and others are allowing small start-ups to write and deploy amazing things, needing only a fraction of the cost that they would have needed only 5 years ago. IDC have recently published a report citing the so called ‘third platform’ as one of the key drivers in disruptive, innovative change.

IDC are quoted as predicting that “by 2020 30% of the top firms in every business sector will not exist, as we know them today. They will be replaced by new firms, will have merged, will have not kept pace and declined, or will simply not be relevant any more to the business needs of the day.” (Comms Business (April 2016) pp39.)

That however doesn’t help the telco reseller today who is battling to recruit, train and retain staff, generate leads and engage with new customers and continue to provide top quality services to existing partners.

Business owners fight on a day to day basis to keep the business running and allow perhaps 1 percent of their attention on what’s potentially around the corner and the other 99 on getting in front of the customer, leading the team and making sure that the customer is getting the products and services that they expect. Of course it doesn’t help with the amount of hype and hyperbole that surrounds a lot of these innovative products and services.

So innovation is shiny and exciting, but the day to day reality is lead generation, recruitment and the diminishing likelihood of dependable rural data connectivity the further north of the UK you go.

All of this and no mention on the copper networks imminent demise.

If deregulation was the first revolution in telecoms, and mobile provided the second, then these innovation drivers that pave the way to over the top (OTT) services is the third. It is a fascinating topic that affects everyone in the telecoms industry and we want to explore as much of it as we can to prepare for the changes that these innovations bring.