Thursday, December 11, 2008

ESD.57 and Disruptive Tech

(started writing this on Monday)
Even though there is still one more class next week, today's like the last class for me for ESD.57 since my final presentation was today. Understandably, since I am into this Voice thing, my topic is Voice 2.0. Well, this is kind of late topic for this class. My original topic was Mobile Broadband and whether it can be disruptive technology to AT&T. As we went on, I realized that Mobile Broadband is not going to be disruptive technology for AT&T. Well, it can be disruptive to AT&T if it wasn't implemented well. It is not the Clay Christensen's definition of Disruptive Technology.

This is my understanding of Disruptive Technology: a technology that
1. serves a new market. This new market must have no interests to existing players, either because their existing customers have no interests
2. Or, serves an existing, and possibley low-end market, that the existing players have no interests. The reason can be : low margin,

The true meaning of be disrupotive, I believe, is serving a market that the existing players does not want to serve (new market), and even eager to get away (low-end).

For a new market, this can because the existing customers of existing players have no interests to the tech at that moment, such as the famous disk drive case. However, this does not mean the customers will be interested in the future after new use was proven to them.

For low-end market, this can be because the very low margin of the low end, such as the famous steel mill case. The very nature of low end focus will keep drive up and away of existing players from the upper and upper market.

Or, I would say a truely disruptive tech is something that disrupts existing players in an unprepared way. In the case of AT&T and Mobile Broadband, everyone knows that's the future of telco and AT&T knows what that means to them. It is paying huge attention to it, Mostly importantly, this is also a natural extension to the existing AT&T network. It is something they are eager to get into. Mobile Broadband is an incremental innovation.

Ok, let me go back to voice2.0. For the low end, I presented JitterBug and MOSH Mobile. JitterBug's focus on senior market, a market that is not AT&T's focus. The very high operating cost (US based live call center) is also not attractive to AT&T. For MASH Mobile, its ads-sponsored free mobile service is for sure not AT&T's interest. So, how will they disrupt AT&T? It can happen in a few different ways. JitterBug could take away the whole senior market. It can then move up the value chain and focus on middle-age market. The Live Human base call center can be attractive to the middle age as well. No more fighting against the phones or all the so-called smart features (which is not truely AI).

For the new market, I promoted the future focus of the content that is actually flowing through the voice channel. There are a few reasons that why it can happen now, such as speech recognition technology, storage cost, etc. In terms of market to explore, I suggested to look into the lead users. What are their pains and how they are solving it right now.

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