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The fallacy of the telecom ecosystem

We experience it every day with services like Amazon, Airbnb, your local doctor or hair salon, and many websites with click to call and video chat. But telcos have still not caught up with this major change in the way services are accessed. Why?

I think the fundamental problem is industry adherence to the idea that we’re operting a single telecom ecosystem. Telecoms is, in fact, an archipelago with lots of islands behaving as independent little ecosystems and exhibiting little willingness to cooperate.

In today's interconnected, ecosystem-centric world this is a fatal flaw.

The fact is that telcos have failed to EDUCATE businesses and developers around the world about what telecoms can offer their applications, services and business processes. It's been up to innovators like Apidaze, hSenid Mobile, Nexmo, OnMobile, OpenCloud, Plivo, Solaiemes, Telestax, Tropo, Twilio, and many more to educate the market and build the business of embedding telecoms everywhere.

Some of these businesses have revenues of tens of millions per year and are well on their way to hundreds of millions, so this is not a cottage industry, but a fundamental shift in telecoms.

And telecoms has much to offer, thanks to new technologies and capabilities.

We have telecom APIs (including any IP based communication services; video communications; rich communications services; the good old PSTN); WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications) that extends communication services to any web-connected device; CRBT (Call Ring Back Tone) APIs opening up new possibilities simply through the act of calling; In-Call services - new services within the call made possible through IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem); SMS/USSD applications for developing markets and e-inclusion such as mobile payments, banking, e-commerce, bitcoin for emerging markets; Converged applications, e.g. taking the idea of Amazon Mayday and embedding customer experience management everywhere; and the list goes on and on.

It has never been a more exciting time in telecoms with the explosion of new ways our features can be embedded and new services created. Yet the Telecoms Archipelago fails to EDUCATE businesses and developers around the world. The innovators are small, their people and message can only stretch so far.

There is a critical gap.

To address it, and in response to the request from the attendees at the TADSummit (Telecom Application Developer Summit, www.tadsummit.com) we're launching TADHack (Telecom Application Developer Hackathon, www.tadhack.com), a global event driven by the grassroots of the industry and focused on education across the breadth of what telecoms has to offer.

TADHack's sponsors show the companies who are prepared to put their money where their marketing mouth is and be judged head-to-head with competitors to educate and build the telecom application developer community.

Chris Lewis of Chris Lewis Insight has a nice quote in a recent weblog, "If a company is to be truly customer centric, then it must be prepared to bury its ego in its Go To Market strategy and work with partners to build the end user experience." The innovators have demonstrated they can bury their egos in sponsoring TADHack, let's see who else in the Telecom Archipelago can do the same.

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