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Coming Soon: Serving the Digital Generation

There’s a new Telco 2.0 strategy report rolling down the tracks.

It’s a natural inclination to imagine that the difference between young people and their elders is simply that they’re young. But at times of rapid technological or social change, quite often, nothing could be more wrong. Instead, patterns of behaviour and culture that you might assume are the caprices of youth will last a lifetime and will become the conservative norm that the youth of the future will rebel against.

Serving the Digital Generation: Innovation for a new breed of customers is Telco 2.0’s attempt to characterise future customers and explore what operators should be doing to better serve them. Statistically speaking, the customer of the future is already with us, in the form of South Korean, Chinese and Japanese youngsters, and is a user of at least one of many social networks, games, and virtual world applications that have sprung up in the last few years. In the report, we analyse a whole range of such services in order to understand the business models and product features that have succeeded. We’ll also be running a major session on this topic at the Telco 2.0 world event in May - www.telco2.net/event/may2009.

We identified a number of major factors and new opportunities that constrain and liberate the customer of the future. On one hand, parental paranoia, rapid urbanisation, and proliferating surveillance systems have led to a public space that is ever more restrictive for the young; on the other hand, the digital world has created huge opportunities to escape this and to pursue what we describe as the ‘Participation Imperative’. We have developed a framework to help service providers clarify these user needs and how to serve them.

An Introduction to the Participation Imperative Framework


What is the participation imperative? People care fundamentally about certain things, based on their psychological needs, either to build their identity or to participate vicariously in that of others. We analysed market participants based on the degree to which they help the customer of the future:
  1. To interact with a peer group
  2. To personalise and exert control over their environment
  3. To express creativity
  4. To maintain privacy/anonymity or seek notoriety
These, in turn, require certain enabling factors:
  1. Portability - working across multiple PCs, mobiles
  2. Payments - virtual currencies
  3. Feedback - comments, discussion, personalisation, hackable APIs
  4. A directory - find other people


To read more about the Participation Imperative Framework, read a case study on QQ (huge social networking service in China) and other relevant analysis, subscribe to our new Executive Briefing service, a searchable online database of cutting edge Telco 2.0 research. Details here: www.telco2research.com.

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Telco 2.0 Strategy Report Out Now: Telco Strategy in the Cloud

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