MassTLC's Mobile cluster gathered for a Breakfast Seminar focused on Mobile Network Innovation and Evolution: Exploring Two Perspectives of Network Topologies. Pete Dawson from Sprint initiated the discussion with an analysis of how carrier ecosystems bridge applications and end users, as well as outlining the middle ground where innovation occurs.
The following image illustrates the different perspectives: The carrier ecosystem was defined as the infrastructure, network support systems, devices and respective operating systems. The group observed that there are a number of factors and different perspectives to be weighed in any innovation discussion:
- Application developers are able to take greater risks without regard to service level, privacy, security and other potential backlash hot spots;
- Carriers have to be focused on the value of what they are delivering to their installed base of millions of end users and therefore must be more risk averse; and
- The industry is restricted by bandwidth constraints.
Roundtable participants included Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics, Tasos Tsolakis, CIO & EVP of Iron Mountain, as well as Asshu Virmani, Senior Director of Marketing, Sonus Networks. Each shared their viewpoints of the carrier ecosystem and how it is affects innovation in each of their respective domains: application development, enterprise management and network infrastructure.
As the seminar drew to a close, Pete invited the panelists to summarize key takeaways from the discussion. Raj pointed out that developers want carriers to provide a greater access to customer data so they can develop more useful applications. He noted that developers want data plans to remain unlimited so the carrier revenue model does not inhibit their ability to innovate and gain customers. Aashu agreed and noted that from a network perspective end user information should be readily available. Tasos, representing the enterprise perspective, focused on monetizing both 'ends of the pipe', referring to innovation on one end and the end user on the other.
Pete closed the seminar noting that whether we like it or not, the middle ground for innovation involves dollars. He noted that monetization is a substantial factor in determining where innovation comes from and how the ideas are cultivated. He wrapped up with one final question to the audience, "How do we monetize innovation and drive that home in a monetized world?"