The digital economy has brought significant change to the way businesses and people function and interact. Today’s mobile platforms offer a rich experience that includes social networks, proximity and location services, instant messaging, rich media, authentication services and payment tools.
Consumers have embraced this – so much so, that they now expect to be able to use the freedom and convenience of mobile as an enabler of their daily lives in a way that is always-on and seamless.
The always-connected world has opened up opportunities for businesses that have previously been focused on ‘making things’, to generate new revenues from different mobile-enabled added services. For example, a company like Philips, known for making light bulbs, can now offer additional lighting-as-a-service solutions that combine its lighting expertise with ubiquitous connectivity. The end result is a connected service that gives its customers greater control over lighting remotely, and new insights on energy consumption – saving money and energy. Philips might not see themselves as communications service providers, let alone a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), but that is essentially what they have become when they incorporate connectivity as part of their shift from a product sales to a services model.
This trend opens up fresh opportunities for all kinds of businesses. Instead of merely competing on price, they can now launch new propositions, enhance their services and create new commercial models that add new value for customers.
Best of all, they can achieve all this without the cost of building new mobile infrastructure or developing new software.
Unpicking the ‘x’ as a service trend
Traditional MVNOs pioneered a move from a capex to opex-based commercial model for supplying a range of communications services.
Refining the commercial innovation of MVNOs, Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) providers, which are cloud-based platforms for developing and maintaining communications applications, have pushed virtualized telecommunications functionality even further. CPaaS providers offer their services via APIs, which developers use to create IP-based communications services that are integrated with online applications and are made available “over-the-top” of any broadband connection.
From CPaaS, the logical next step is Mobile Network as a Service (MNaaS), offering a platform for developing and managing mobile communications applications via APIs, without having to build and maintain the development infrastructure, but integrated with traditional network capabilities to provide greater security, reliability and control to the customer.
In the second part of this blog post, I will discuss how the ‘anything as a service’ trend has transformed the mobile industry and how enterprises can take advantage of the new possibilities it has unfurled.
Read more about the new mobile ecosystem here.