Choice and portability give users control

27 Jun 2007

Yankee Group president and CEO Emily Green, who took the helm 20 months ago at the Boston-based research firm, met with group editor Joseph Waring on an extended sweep through Asia and outlined the concept of the 'anywhere network' and 'anywhere consumer' and their impact on network operators and Yankee's business going forward

Wireless Asia: Convergence in connectivity implies a smooth merging of components. But various technologies and business models seem to be more on a collision course. How does Yankee describe what telcos and networks are undergoing‾

Emily Green: The transformation the telecoms industry is undergoing is nothing short of a revolution. A revolution is a change of the established power structure. The industry is enfranchising parts of the world that haven't been part of the prior technology revolution. It's global and changing power structures in that it's shattering the very cozy, predictable business models of network operators.

The consumer now gets to decide what services are offered. And the transformation is changing legal conventions. I think consumers' reluctance to pay for music stems from their feeling that 'hey, I bought it once why should I have to buy it again.' That is challenging things like digital rights management, IP and what are the economics of providing music and movies. The portability of experiences is another aspect of the revolution.

The third aspect is the impact it has on businesses and their ability to locate anywhere. This accounts for the phenomenal rise in the fortunes of some of the economies in Asia. India wouldn't be growing at 9% or 10% a year if it wasn't for the Internet. It's going to enfranchise other parts of the world as well as technology reaches them. Africa could be the next India.

How is this changing consumer and business behavior‾

In some pretty interesting ways. We're tried to frame our thinking around some ideas, and one is that we're seeing a new kind of consumer. That consumer is what we call an 'anywhere' consumer. They have the sense that their experience should be portable, and that they shouldn't be harnessed to a fixed time or fixed place for the things they like to do. We're staring to be aware as consumers that there's technology emerging that can make that possible, and we like that idea. We're not sure how much we'd like to spend for that, but we definitely like the idea. And that's creating demand that operators and a lot of others will attempt to exploit.

Likewise, it's creating a new kind of enterprise as well - a kind of enterprise that can locate its people and assets anywhere and operate just as productively as if they were at the corporate headquarters. It's not a seamless experience yet, but forward-looking companies are understanding that's an opportunity and are looking for the technologies that allow them to operate anywhere and deal with some of the problems that causes, such as security concerns and cost of duplicating equipment.

You mentioned agile media in your presentation - how is that impacting traditional operators‾

I first used that phrase when I was a cable modem analyst back in '95 and '96 and was talking about how media would need some meta intelligence - some intelligence about where it was, what it was being asked to do and who it was doing it for - and carry that information around and be able to manifest itself appropriately in new places to suit the needs of its user.

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