Warren Lee, CTO of NeoNova, asked the question,”What is a telco.” Lee’s question, inspired by his daughter, set the tone for an excellent presentation that looked at the characteristics of how the new generation communicates and things a telco can do to evolve to meet the needs of this new customer-type.
Lee suggested if you need to ask how to use Twitter, then you don’t get it. His larger point is that these new technologies need to be an integral part of an operation and need to be developed somewhat oranically. In this light, social applications are more about marketing than selling. In order to get someone to follow your Facebook page, you need to give them a reason whether it be a contest or a sponsored party with clues to its location given out on a periodic basis.
From an organic basis, one way to get familiar the tools while improving efficiency is to use the tools in your operation. For instance, NeoNova uses Twitter to alert its customers of a network outage. Using API’s they have figured out how to keep their data in the event Twitter’s model changes.
Being comfortable with using and developing API’s is very important in order for a telco to transition to this new model. Embracing this mindset will require telcos to work together and with others from around the world in ways like never before.
The other two elements that Lee said define telco 3.0 is a robust infrastucture (a big pipe and the associated backend) and marketing. With marketing, he echoed what we have been saying at the Viodi Local Content Workshops that content creation is really about marketing and creating a fan base. The social media tools help a Telco and its customers create unique community content. Used properly, these tools will reach to a new generation and help a Telco avoid the stigma of, as Lee suggested, being the proverbial father’s car.
[Author’s note; this was written on an android powered, G1 mobile phone, uploaded to an open source version of WordPress, while taking a morning walk – see the video for more details].