Telefónica’s Lopez shares the recipe for telco service innovation at DSP Leaders World Forum

Diego Lopez, Senior Technology Expert at Telefónica, at DSP Leaders World Forum 2022.

Diego Lopez, Senior Technology Expert at Telefónica, at DSP Leaders World Forum 2022.

  • Telefónica’s Diego Lopez highlighted the ingredients that would help telcos realise their full service potential
  • The end-to-end innovation cycle, including academia, requires attention
  • Not all efforts should focus on direct monetisation outcomes, noted Lopez
  • Openness and collaboration between competing telcos is also important to unlock opportunities in the sector

Telcos need to embrace openness, interoperability and being more deeply involved in all aspects of the industry’s innovation cycle if they are to fulfil their new service development potential, stated Diego Lopez, Senior Technology Expert, Telefónica (pictured above), during the recent DSP Leaders World Forum.

In an opening address for the Forum’s Blueprints for Service Innovation session, Lopez highlighted how important it is for service providers to be more involved in all stages of the end-to-end innovation cycle, including the initial evaluation of emerging technologies and developing deeper ties with academic and research institutions, rather than participating only at the final part of innovation related to deploying a service, making pilots, trials and field tests with customers.

Lopez rushed to reassure telcos that “failing is normal,” and in many cases even desirable. Within his team at Telefónica, he insists that in times when the company closes a line of innovation or technology after years of effort because the result is deemed unfeasible or “doesn’t make any sense in our environment – this is perfectly fine, this is a way of learning.”

He also noted that telcos shouldn’t focus only on direct monetisation. “It’s not that whatever we start, whatever we do, is something that is going to [deliver] a direct and accountable return in terms of money from the customers. That return can come from many different places and simply having satisfied customers at a reasonable price, at a reduced cost, is equally important,” Lopez explained.

As an example, he said that whenever applications related to artificial intelligence (AI) are deployed, customers won’t necessarily be aware of the technology’s role but will benefit from an improved experience.

It’s also essential for operators to increase their collaborative efforts and develop a much more ‘open’ ecosystem in order to foster innovative processes.

“We have to be totally open – the value of the network is that we can connect with our competitors,” Lopez said, suggesting that openness should be there from the very beginning when services are being designed.

Collaboration was a key element that many other Forum participants highlighted during their speeches and debates, as it is regarded as a foundation for creating new business models and opening up new revenue opportunities. (See Telco leaders at DSP Leaders World Forum: Let’s unite!)

What else can telcos do to reap the benefits of new services? How much do they need to invest in R&D? And what are the obstacles to the successful introduction of services, including from current regulation? Watch the full session here to discover insights from industry executives representing BT, Cellnex Telecom, IBM, Wind River and ETSI.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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