Pipeline Publishing, Volume 3, Issue 10
This Month's Issue: 
Beyond Quad Play: XoIP 
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Buying Telecom Futures?

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When an executive is faced with continuing two projects past exploration phase and into development, each of which could result in a solution, it is best to commit to just one rather than fund both at starving levels. When an engineer picks a job, usually it is committed to only one technology or product group. Flipping a coin might be best if you were trying to outwit someone else, but if we are planners instead of gamblers, we will seek out more information on which to base that decision. If one team or one product is better than another, we must find the information that shows which is best. If we assume that all the teams are equally likely to succeed, than we must find an external reason to choose one over the other.

When consolidation occurs in our industry, as is happening in the US today with reintegration of telecom in massive companies like at&t and Verizon, competing projects will come under scrutiny. Some are best eliminated and the resources given to other groups, increasing their likelihood of success completion of that project. But will this result in an overall win?

Returning to my original example question, IP or ATM or some mix; of course IP came to dominate and ATM became an edge technology. One dominates but both continue on.

innovation is to travel with a crowd. If you strike out on your own you will likely succeed only if your choice is overwhelming correct (Like discovering a brand new valley to colonize). But if you want to succeed with innovation when the relative rewards are smaller (like the similar relative outcomes in the growth model of the Insight Research report) and the chances of failure are pretty even among all the paths to get there, than it is best to team up. In this case, you are not so much “following the crowd” as “traveling with the crowd” or worst case “dragging the crowd with you”.

IP and the IETF “won” over ATM not just because the technology was superior, but because enough of us joined the IETF and worked at overcoming the architectural disadvantages IP had against ATM. While in the end, ATM just could not function in the speeds needed in backbones, the IETF won because the invention of MPLS provided a simple way of organizing IP backbones.



A bad choice is to use the relative power of various management groups/executives to decide which projects are kept and which die. Unfortunately, in the absence of strong strategic planning, and good marketing information, this will usually be the way resources are allocated. If we can eliminate relative corporate power of management as a factor in decision making, then another method of choosing must be selected.

Collaborative solutions
In an earlier article, I argued that in evolutionary game theory, we learn that following the crowd is best when times are stable. When competition is high, when times are complex or chaotic, like today, innovation is best. But here we increase the refinement of our analysis. Often the way to reach


Muddied waters
Insight Research acknowledges that the world will likely have a mixed solution and not become just one of the three scenarios they investigate. They see these as just ways of showing relative value of each to the industry. I argue, that seeing that one scenario has more value than another, mandates a strategic decision to commit resources to reaching that scenario. In the case of the three choices inherent in the scenarios of the Insight Research report, “All Networks” evolving together has the most revenue for the industry; winning out over All Wireless or All Internet. But ultimately this scenario building and modeling is just a trending solution. Trending solutions are notoriously bad at predicting the future -

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