How to revive the global Telecom App Developer industry?
The following is an extract from the TADS manifesto released as a part of TADS www.tadsummit.com, first of its kind telecom APIs event and conference to be held in Bangkok in Nov 2013. A press release and full TADS manifesto document is now available on the site for industry comment and circulation. Tonse Telecom (www.tonsetelecom.com) is a key participant and promoter of the TADS movement.
Why Do we Need a Telecom Application Developer Manifesto?
"No other industry touches as many business sectors as telecommunications. From the legacy 1950s fixed line telephone in your grandparent's home, through the now globally ubiquitous mobile network that is increasingly broadband capable, to the latest 3D 4k movie delivered over a satellite and then fiber optic link. Telecoms is everywhere and a vital part of everyone's lives because communications is a fundamental human need."
"Telecommunications is an exciting and influential industry, and continues to evolve with important trends such as:
- Rise of VoIP (Voice over IP), so voice becomes just an application on the internet, accessible to any internet connected device or application;
- Democratization of telecommunications technology with open source telecom software, easy to use and powerful telecom application platforms, and telecom APIs;
- Broader competition not just between telcos but with web based service providers;
- Global addiction to the internet for communications, information and entertainment; and
- Evolution of mobile networks towards global broadband ubiquity."
"However, a gap exists in the telecommunications industry; it lacks a viable and profitable telecom application developer ecosystem. The industry has tried to attract mobile application developers who are principally focused on building applications for handheld computing devices running iOS and Android. Their primary need is direct access to a large (>1B smartphone and tablet (handheld computer) owners) engaged customer base that is prepared to pay in time, privacy or cash. Telcos cannot yet fulfill this need, so are currently considered irrelevant by mobile application developers."
"The ecosystem gap will become critical as voice and messaging revenues are under pressure from web based services such as Skype, WhatsApp, WebRTC, KakaoTalk, and increasingly ubiquitous internet connectivity. To respond, the telecommunications industry must deliver more services built on the telecommunications network."
We must learn from the Web and from history:
"The Web is the model for TAD ecosystem success, and web style simplicity rules:
- Ubiquitous, free platform (HTML)
- Unified mechanism for accessing resources (URIs)
- Developer friendly
- No software to buy or set up
- Free documentation on the web for developers to self-train"
A Common Vision:
"Telcos must retake control over service innovation and foster innovation internally. In many countries Telcos are one of the largest employers in their country. There is no excuse but to have a strong internal telecom application development capacity creating new services for customers. Democratization of technology empowers everyone. It is a fallacy that innovation can only come out of the Bay Area; while, it is far easier to raise capital there, we should recognize that innovation comes from everyone everywhere to create and deliver services that meet their customers' and employees' needs."
Vendor Needs and Responsibilities:
"A virtuous circle is required to break this situation, similar to the one created by Apple and Google for mobile devices and applications. In a virtuous circle the interests of all parties are aligned. The platform providers deliver a rich platform (iOS and Android) with direct access to the end users; the OEMs use the platform and ship devices to a high number of users (Apple and Samsung); the mobile app developers continuously innovate on the ecosystem created; and the end users enjoy a rich experience that results in more sales and use of devices and applications."
Roadmap to the TAD Ecosystem
"The above needs and responsibility when fulfilled create the TAD ecosystem, see figure in the full document. The Vendor plays a critical role in brokering this ecosystem through meeting the needs of developer and telco needs; and ensuring the goto market and business model needs are aligned. With this alignment innovations from developers can deliver hundreds of new services to the telcos' customers. And critically we must not forget the vendor's and the industry' need for transparency and publicity to share best practices, rather than remain divided and hence conquered by web based service providers."
"The steps to create this ecosystem include:
- The first step is to publish this draft of the telecom application developer Manifesto for industry comment.
- The second step is at TADS (Telecom Application Developer Summit) to bring the ecosystem together to see if we can build a telecom application developers ecosystem together. And through the event revise the Manifesto given the discussions and learning to deliver the first formal issue of the Manifesto.
- The TADS website will be an independent repository including videos from the developer summit, an active weblog with case studies of telecom application success, and where the Manifesto resides and is revised as we learn what it takes to create this ecosystem.
- Beyond this is for the industry to decide."
The above is an extract from the TADS manifesto. For the full document please go to www.tadsummit.com. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. The document is authored by Alan Quayle, founder of TADS. Tonse Telecom supports the TADS initiative.