Sunday, June 27, 2010

HD voice as a start for better communication ?

This week, Orange has announced arrival of HD voice. Telecom world starts to remember that "telecommunication" naturally includes the word "communication".

During last 20 years, focus has been set on connections: direct voice or data connection , differed through messaging. Nokia was the king with its "connecting people". Nokia currently suffers because Apple, Google and the likes now offer much more than a "connected device". Alcatel-Lucent was shooting for "always-on". We'll come back on these tag lines in another article.

Of course, connection is the foundation. Telecom world now has the opportunity to embrace a larger scope around communication, building on top of this foundation.

Many dimensions of communication still need to be improved. It's the beginning of a new decade where we'll see evolutions from a "connected world" to "communicating world".

HD voice from Orange is perhaps just a "meeto" to counter attack position of "Skype like services" actually offering better voice quality. As a consultant, I often use Skype for long meetings with partners, not only because it's cheap but certainly also because it provides unequaled voice quality. When competition is "cheaper and better", a tough reaction is expected. With LTE, Skype could definitely take over "voice service" from traditional telecom players.

HD voice could also be a first step of a "provide better communication" strategy, voice quality being a prerequisite.

Telecom players have the choice between two mainstreams :  Telecom operator or Telecom service provider. Either they continue to be a "connection provider" and they will be rapidly joining other utilities as power, water, and gas or they become a "communication provider". That's a decision to be expected soon before next round of consolidation.

In this last case, this will involve drastic changes, moving from a global approach towards a "multi-local" approach with:

  • more openess,
  • broader scope, much beyond technical aspects,
  • and much more "localisation" of the services because communication is naturally linked to culture

Telecom vendors must also take a position, make a choice. Either they structure their offering to serve utilities or they jump in the world of communication. If telecom vendors are willing to engage inside communication, this will require drastic changes. Are they ready for it ?

To be continued ...

Benoit Quirynen

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