Last week in Istanbul, the fring Alliance was honored to welcome several of the world’s top service providers coming from Asia, Central Asia, Western Europe, the Middle East, Scandinavia and the US. Some were large service providers with hundreds of millions of subscribers, others were up and coming with tens of millions of subscribers, and all sent their best and brightest to gather for a few days to think through the future of real time communications.
Traveling on the heels of the tragic events in Paris, and somber given the state of a world which we sometimes feel is falling apart, the members and prospective members of the fring Alliance were unafraid to gather and share ideas. As the fring Alliance community grows – including the role of the work that we do – the applications we create – can bring the world together.
Members from the GENBAND, Kandy and fring teams attended along with several of our technology ecosystem partners, and after months of research and development of applications that go way beyond multimedia messaging, we learned by listening about what is common among the community.
- It’s not just about messaging anymore, no matter how amazing the experience, it is about making real time life better for the end-users, the subscribers who are finding new ways to connect and interact with their family, friends and business associates.
- Quality matters, and while the promise of Rich Communications Services (RCS) has been slow to manifest into actual services that scale to support millions, there is still a strong belief in providing quality user experience. That said, we must always focus on quality, reliability and consistency before we can start to talk about “premium services” and “monetization”.
- The service providers get it: nobody is going to pay for something they can get for “free” – and “free” is an interesting word to broker. What the challengers have successfully done is integrated into their RTC platforms search and advertising (with advertising naturally subsidizing search). Can service providers deliver better search and offer superior experiences to their subscribers than the pure OTT players? Oh yes. Stay tuned as we show you, don’t tell you, why and how in 2016.
- Mobile advertising has failed when it has been annoying, causing perfectly rational business models spun up over the last ten or so years to fall flat. The uber point for mobile offers? Just that. Offers. Offers that make people’s lives easier, help them save money, help them create a more delicious meal, help them get home earlier to see their kids. Then – they will opt in. “Opt In” is harder than it sounds, but with the tremendous insights of our fring Alliance community and technology partners – we will crack the code next year.
- While we may change the name of our industry from “telecom” to “real time communications” in fact we have an incredibly successful and interesting path that came before – interconnection. Software and the cloud make interconnection easier than ever, but delivering a great experience through advanced interconnection (including the important video experience through codec translation and more) combined with the workhorse of interconnect agreements – the exchange of currency for value between network operators is the “Golden Ticket”.
We learned how important the white labeling of fring is to our members, as their subscribers build relationships with them. Our fring team has had an incredible two years since being acquired by GENBAND, a company that has given us not only financial resources and highly experienced corporate administrative and operational support, but the vision and guidance of our Chairman and CEO David Walsh, and our visionary board of directors.
It is no small feat to move from infrastructure to virtualization. It is no small feat to move from TDM to IP. And it is no small feat to change your business model from subscribers paying for voice services to paying for the processing of their constant daily communications lives through data and useful services.
While I will not be in the US this year for Thanksgiving, rather I will be with our fring team in our offices in Israel, I am deeply grateful for the journey we are all on together. The fring Alliance members are extensions of our family, of our amazing corporate culture, and contributors to the ongoing vision and evolution that indeed positions each of us to connect more easily, to connect more securely, and to connect more creatively than ever thought possible.
I will be with my family as well, who are so generous in their understanding while I am physically away but always, always virtually there. To be with them in person to celebrate all the holidays that celebrate love is my greatest joy.
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