Why do Ecosystems Matter?

What is the biggest challenge any operator faces as it looks at deploying a new service? System integration and testing.  Why is this such an obstacle? Think of all the touch points involved: devices, network infrastructure, application servers, billing and operations support infrastructure.  Not to mention the challenge in figuring out the appeal of the new services to the end users, how to monetize them, etc.  Most of the innovation we are seeing in wireless right now is being driven by closed systems such as those provided by Apple, RIMM and Microsoft.  What will it take to bring innovation to all devices? An end to end ecosystem of partners.  Can it really be done you might wonder? Absolutely.  Look no further than the program launched by Alcatel-Lucent at Mobile World Congress this year – ngConnect.

ngConnect represents an amazing array of ecosystem partners developing advanced services for 4G networks.  We just returned from a working session in Ottawa, hosted by Alcatel-Lucent to discuss how we continue to evolve the services we are showcasing.  The session was well represented by the membership.  In addition to our host, Samsung, Kyocera, HP, Media Tile, Words and Numbers, QNX, Learning Mate, RebelVox, 4DK, GameStreamer and others were all in attendance.  The session presented an opportunity for us to discuss next steps for the program, how to expand the demonstrations and to network amongst the membership.

The ngConnect program was founded not only to showcase the capabilities of new technologies but also to show the power of the ecosystem being fully represented.  This gives a unique opportunity to explore the impact of new services on all the touch points in the network.  The forum provides all the partners in the ecosystem a way to contribute viable solutions to not only the technology implementation but also the business models that will be needed to make these new services attractive and pervasive.

Carriers are responding to this kind of collaboration very favorably.  Let’s face it, in today’s competitive environment many companies feel they have to do everything themselves – they feel they must control the customer relationship.  However, the reality of today’s economic environment is that R&D is often the first budget slashed. ngConnect provides a unique opportunity for collaboration on innovation.  This provides reduced cost and improved time to market for the major solution providers/system integrators while simultaneously providing an opportunity for the smaller innovators to reach an audience that it would otherwise have been difficult for them to target.

Tamara Casey, CEO, 4DK Technologies

Originally posted at http://www.4dk.com/blog/why-do-ecosystems-matter.html

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