& cplSiteName &

Peeling the Digital Banana

Carol Wilson
12/19/2012
50%
50%

10:30 AM -- As a brand new telecom journalist, way back in the mid-1980s, I covered my first big technology trend: The transition from analog to digital switching in the telco Central Office.

Since then, I've seen other "digital" transitions, of course: Integrated Services Digital Networks were generally an industry flop, but digital cameras succeeded for everyone, except for the company that invented them (Kokak) after they hit the market in the '90s. Nicholas Negroponte of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, published his landmark book, Being Digital, in 1995. The U.S. cable industry launched "digital" voice in the early 2000s, deciding not to tell the public they were really buying voice over IP, because that might have seemed scary, whereas "digital" just seemed cool.

So it was with a bit of a jaded eye, early in December, that I viewed the TM Forum 's latest move -- its "Digital Services Initiative," with its accompanying catchphrase: "Everything that can be digital, will be." (See TMF Pushes Digital Services Agenda.)

Really, guys? That's the best you can do -- digital?

To their credit, both Nik Willetts, the TMF's chief strategy officer, and Martin Creaner, its president, acknowledged my skepticism with somewhat sheepish grins and admitted TMF had its own internal debate about how to market its new efforts to try to focus the telecom community on what it sees as a major new imperative.

And when it came down to it, most of the other likely candidates are equally likely to produce eye rolls. There's advanced services, enhanced services, intelligent services, next-gen services, IP services, Internet services, whiz-bang services -- well, I'm getting worse here, aren't I?

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), arguably the global leader in advancing the strategy TMForum is proposing, already labeled its new service efforts as Telefonica Digital, a move Willets said influenced the forum's thinking.

More important than finding a snazzy new name, Creaner argued, is creating a consistent view of what the strategy is all about and giving it a title everyone can remember and understand.

"We could have called it 'banana' as long as we were consistent," he said. After all, Bluetooth was named after a long-forgotten Viking warrior, but that matters not at all at this point.

The Banana Services Initiative? Now that produces some splashy headlines: TMF Goes Bananas, Peeling the New Service Strategy Plans, Bananas in Season at TMF, What Smells Rotten in Nice? -- OK, that last one, referring to the annual meeting location, would probably be inevitable.

It's a bit ironic, though, that a strategy TMF hopes will be a bold initiative to create the new future of telecom has an aging moniker that is nothing if not the safe choice, with its roots firmly in the industry's past.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/5/2013 | 2:03:41 AM
re: Peeling the Digital Banana


The problem with "Digital Services Initiative," in addition to what you've pointed out here, is that it sounds so generic.


Then again, anything non-generic, like Banana Services Intiative, we'd make fun of. I guess it's a no-win situation.  :)

More Blogs from Rewired
Web giant contributes seed code to new open source group within ONF that is redefining SDN and promising faster innovation and upgrades.
Internet users have grown used to being tracked online, but will they ever accept the fact that some applications need special treatment by ISPs?
New ads call for Internet Bill of Rights that applies to ISPs and content giants, but what are the chances Congress can get this done?
Better Internet access for rural areas is getting a lot of attention from the Trump administration but the plan of action seems less than solid.
Assuming they can get the software architecture right, open source projects represent a faster way to consensus on big issues, he says.
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 17, 2018, Chicago, Illinois
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
NFV Is Down but Not Out
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/22/2018
Trump Denies ZTE Deal, Faces Senate Backlash
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/22/2018
What VeloCloud Cost VMware
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 5/21/2018
5G in the USA: A Post-BCE Update
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2018
Vanquished in Video, Verizon Admits OTT Defeat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed