When I worked in aerospace, we applied the term “Technology Transfer” to our evaluation of other companies and industries – their successes, failures, processes, metrics, and systems. At ICT Intuition, we call it Technology Scouting, but the concept is the same. Look at what other businesses are selling and doing and think about how it might apply to you. We’re all consumers and there are consumer technologies that can apply to business (app stores) and business technologies that can be consumerized (electronic funds transfer).
Looking back, aerospace, like telecom, was a self-made industry. Everything they did in the 1950’s and 60’s was brand new. Everything from feeding astronauts in space to making sure the launch pad didn’t catch on fire had to be developed from scratch. Brand new technology like microwave ovens and innovative applications of existing technology like fire suppression were brought to bear in order to make space travel possible. And eventually, those new processes and technologies were transferred to other industries and even consumers.
Now it’s our turn. In telecom we’ve developed innovative processes and technologies for connecting nearly anything, managing those assets, and creating new products and revenue streams that we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. So now it’s time to share those innovations with the rest of business and industry. Capabilities like real-time analysis of data streams to detect fraud and intrusions; ontology-based alignment of disparate data sources to understand the impact of change on customers; intelligent analysis of alarms to predict faults and failures before they occur; virtualization of complex functions; and component-based platforms that bring it all together seamlessly and simply.
Both service providers and vendors can offer services to enterprises and businesses of all sizes that help them address operational challenges and create efficiency using connectivity. But offering a platform and a network connection isn’t enough. Businesses aren’t going to go it alone. They need turnkey solutions that incorporate technology and process optimization without development, a steep learning curve, or continuous maintenance. Maybe that means a managed service or maybe it means pre-integrated solutions complete with on-board partners that develop apps and APIs – most likely it means an effective combination of the two.
If it’s true that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, I would propose that one industry’s core competence is another industry’s innovation. We’ve written about Ericsson’s transfer of technology to support Maersk shipping. That particular solution incorporates 2G mobile technology. 2G! For those in telecom, that’s almost pre-historic but for Maersk its part of a breakthrough technology solution and exactly what’s needed to support their business.
There is so much written and discussed about innovation and creating the next generation thingamabob, that we sometimes forget that there is much to learn from other industries, previous experiences, and existing solutions. Network operators and vendors have a lot to share with other industries and likewise a lot to learn about retail sales, customer care, and service delivery. Time to take a look around at what else is going on in the world, get creative and apply what we’ve learned to the benefit of all.