Digital age doesn't spell doom for telecom

Steven Hartley/Ovum
10 Sep 2013

It would be difficult not to have been moved, inspired, and motivated by the London leg of the Campus Party technology festival. The show was targeted at an audience of developers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and technophiles, and the levels of enthusiasm, energy, and creativity on show were refreshing.

The event offered an inspiring look at the future digital economy, but also emphasized how telcos are not as doomed as naysayers suggest. They must transform dramatically and seek to capitalize on the creativity and entrepreneurship on show, but they still have a vital role to play in providing the connectivity to power the Internet, and in fostering and implementing future ideas.

An inspirational view of the future digital economy

The global digital economy in its broadest sense, and the UK and Europe’s role in it, was at the heart of the event. It is easy to understand why telcos find their futures daunting. No longer connecting just calls, telcos in the digital economy will connect today’s devices as well as cars, cities, and even robots.

This is no longer far-flung science fiction or lab-based research. Highly sophisticated, commercially available humanoid robots were presented. In the event’s hands-on “Live Quarter” robots were being built from bottles and then programmed in a flurry of do-it-yourself activity.

In addition, today’s much-maligned youth showed sufficient initiative, creativity, and intelligence to ensure a steady supply of new opportunities for the future economy. A procession of young presenters, one just 14 years old, showed just what is possible. Scientific breakthroughs in new materials such as graphene, while not a panacea, offer the chance to resolve several of today’s problems from battery capacity to water filtration.

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