Innovation Strategy: Sprint, Verizon ODI, and Ericsson's 2020 vision

Telecoms innovation strategy was a big theme at the Telco 2.0 AMERICA Executive Brainstorm in Orlando in December. Below are some video interviews from the event:

- Sprint's VP Corporate Strategy on reaching "Silicon Valley speed" innovation.
- Verizon Wireless's Open Development Initiative (ODI), on accelerating the network's ability to connect external devices.
- Ericsson's vision for 2020.

Sprint - 'Breaking Big Bell Dogma'

Russ McGuire, VP, Corporate Strategy, Sprint, says that changing innovation from 'carrier speed' to 'Silicon Valley speed' needs Telcos to break "Big Bell Dogma" by embracing open innovation processes.

Interview Summary:

A key challenge for telcos is to participate without slowing down innovation, which is as much a cultural as a technological challenge for telcos.

In terms of the big picture, Sprint sees the traditional one-sided model remaining essential in the near term (as indeed do we at Telco 2.0), but also an increasing role played by 'two-sided' business models to enable 3rd parties to create value for their customers via telecoms capabilities and/or the telecoms channel.

Russ describes a business model he calls 'the carrier inside': a wholesale provider entirely within other businesses' propositions. He also suggests near term opportunities in voice such as supporting 'at risk' mothers-to-be with a push to talk phone directly connected to medical advisors.

Verizon Wireless ODI - faster, more practical innovation

Maurice Thompson, Director of Verizon Wireless Open Development initiative (ODI), explains how the programme enables new external devices, including machine to machine (M2M) devices and e-Readers, to get on to the network in less than four weeks.

Interview Summary:

The aims of ODI are to speed more new innovations to Verizon's customers, to enable wider innovation from external sources, to give a greater choice of devices for customers, and thereby attract new customers. Maurice also gives more detail on examples of the types of new devices connected.

Ericsson 2020 - Future Innovation 'Turned on its Head'

Pankaj Asundi, VP Media & Content at Ericsson, describes how the global telecoms innovation process is changing and provides insight into Ericsson's view of the market in 2020 - with 50Bn connected devices.

Interview Summary:

Innovation is changing from an internally driven, PC focused process, to one driven by external mobile developers and led by customer choice. What will be the key segments, where will telcos make money, and what key developments will unlock the market? How will networks operating 'two-sided' business models leveraging unique assets be able to profit from the new openness?

Innovation Strategy: What's New?

'Innovation', n. in-no-vay-shon, change in an established practice by the introduction of new methods, etc.

It's clear that the Telecoms industry is waking up, starting to open up, and starting to pilot new business models. It is at least increasingly talking about doing so.

Richard Kramer, investment analyst at Arete Research, said in his opening presentation on shareholder value at the Orlando event that it is the most interesting time he can remember in the Telecoms and Tech sectors. Despite, and possibly because of the world's economic problems, the telecoms industry looks like it is starting to reinvent itself by looking outside its own doors for inspiration.

As part of the warm up for the 9th Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm, on 27-29 April in London, we will publish more output from the last events on this blog, along with additional analysis, over the next few weeks.

[Ed: Orlando Exective Brainstorm delegates and Telco 2.0 Subscription Customers will shortly be able to access a more detailed write up of the Brainstorm, including analysis of the panel sessions and votes. To join the next Telco 2.0 event, please see here, email contact@telco2.net or call +44 (0) 207 247 5003.]