Future telcos must converge screens, things: Telstra CTO

The future telecom industry will compete on who can provide the best converged experience, according to Telstra CTO Vish Nandlall.

In a keynote at the Ovum 2020 Telecoms Summit, Nandlall predicted the Internet of Things will play a major role in future of telecom.

"We have a world of things. Mobility's going to be the backplane and the cloud is going to be the destination.

"If you're not building to that, you're going to lose out. If you're not building to that, you're not going to be able to compete in five years ... It's going to be the modern telecom stack."

Nandlall said telcos will need to provide one experience for thousands of things, including wearable devices, connected cars and smart home devices.

The idea of a triple play -- a bundle of phone, Internet and TV services -- has become an antiquated concept, he said.

Convergence is taking all of a person's data, identity, social circles and applications and spreading it across all of his or her things and screens, he said.

"I want those capabilities to run seamlessly across every different mode of interaction I have."

Nandlall cautioned that it is important not to lose focus of customer privacy while providing this converged service.

Telcos should provide rights to the user about how their data is being used, and data should be monetised for the benefit of the user, not the enterprise, he said.

Telstra CEO David Thodey has previously predicted that the Internet of Things could take off in as soon as 2016.

Thodey listed several opportunities, including connected digital cameras, cars with SIM cards, and a rapidly increasing number of screens and connected machines in the home.

“Suddenly your addressable market is enormous,” the CEO said. “They don’t have the revenues per month that you would get from a person using a smartphone. It may be two, three, four [or] five dollars a month. But it is still a tremendous opportunity.”

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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