Telco Too Point Oh

I had the privilege to take part in last week’s Telco 2.0TM Industry Brainstorm in London – an excellent and thought-provoking two days, and the programme for the next event looks just as enticing. It’s all now being written up on the obligatory Telco 2.0TM Blog. I hope I wasn’t one of the participants who gave the impression that advertiser inertia would be an excuse for operator indifference to new models. That’s certainly not true.

It’s great that some of the basic ideas around communities and context are becoming buzz words throughout our industry, but I find it disappointing that we can only talk about these by creating a false opposition against supposedly closed operators, totally uninterested in customers and their communities – the so-called “Telco 1.0” (guess no one’s claiming trademark rights over that one!)

Having worked indirectly and directly for ISPs and MNOs for nearly 10 years, I can safely say these have been hot topics inside the operators since the days of dial-up modems and monochrome mobiles. We’ve been rolling out high-bandwidth, always on networks and subsidising costly multimedia devices with just this stuff in mind. It’s nice to see the rest of the content ecosystem finally catching on ;)

One other feature of the conference attracted attention: every table had a couple of wifi-enabled laptops through which we could submit comments and questions on the session.

I have to say I found the technology-mediated version less interactive than the old-fashioned convention of putting up your hand to ask a question (is this consigned to the deeply unfashionable world of Conference 1.0?). It meant that instead of responding to unpredictable questions, speakers could skim through the questions and pick the ones they wanted to answer.

As Edward Tufte points out in his treatise against Powerpoint, innovations in presentation technology generally favour the speaker, not the audience. Someone in the conference world tell me there is a better way, please.

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