Funding the Future: Tech Incubators

Innovation labs and tech incubators solve a key challenge for CSPs

AT&T Foundry

The AT&T Foundry launched in 2011, and represents a $100 million investment from AT&T and a group of sponsors that include Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs, Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. The Foundry operates out of four locations: Atlanta, Plano, Palo Alto, and Ra'anana.

AT&T Foundry works in projects combining business, design and technical resources, and  has started more than 200 projects and deployed dozens of new products and services. Projects focus on areas of significant business or technology interest and typically involve external startups, innovators, entrepreneurs, academics, and inventors. These projects are organized in short ‘sprints’ designed to determine success or failure quickly.

An impressive listing of some of the solutions being developed at AT&T Foundry can be viewed here. Some of the standouts include software-defined storage, numerous IoT solutions, the AT&T Drive connected car platform, and a test-bed for Domain 2.0, AT&T's foray into network virtualization.

Telefónica Open Future

Telefónica recently entered into a limited partnership with Coral Group to form an investment platform to discover, create and deliver innovative products and solutions to accelerate and enhance the digital experience of its customers in Europe and Latin America. The global CSP has earmarked up to $200 million for investment into this venture. This new funding was made possible through Telefónica Open Future, a global, open program designed to connect entrepreneurs, startups, investors and public and private organizations worldwide. Its goal is to guide innovation towards the development of viable projects, using a scale up model that gives visibility to the talent and connect with organizations, investors and businesses.

Driving innovation from the outside in

The biggest learning lesson from these innovation labs is that innovation is occurring from the outside and then moving in. By enabling small teams to adopt the "fail fast" methodology, service providers can become more agile. These labs and tech incubators solve a key challenge for CSPs--that is, to move quickly and release new, next-gen services to the market while they are still hot. 


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