BT: Ribbit deal start of 'global telecom platform wars'
BT’s JP Rangaswami isn’t one to think small. So it’s no surprise that in an interview following his company’s acquisition of telco 2.0 platform vendor Ribbit Monday he characterized the move as the first shot in the “global telecom platform wars.”
“First and foremost, we wanted to raise stakes,” said Rangaswami, managing director of service design at BT. “We’ve begun our transformation to a software-based service mindset. Ribbit shared with us the idea of voice as a feature rather than an application.”
For BT, acquiring Ribbit accelerates – by about a year, according to Rangaswami – development plans the telco already had on its road map. While its current Web21C software development kit (SDK) has met with some success, it remains a fairly complex prospect to build applications using the BT platform. Ribbit moves telephony development to the mainstream Web developer comfortable using technologies like Adobe Flash and Flex.
The key for BT was to shed the “not invented here” mindset that plagues the typical service provider. In doing so, BT believes it has positioned itself as one of the few global players able to fully exploit the potential of “voice as a feature,” Rangaswami said.
“What we expect the competition to do – and we think it will much more likely be the Apples and Googles of the world – is to start positioning around a device [such as the iPhone] or an approach to connectivity [such as Google’s ad-based Web model],” he said. “There will be very few companies who have the capacity to say as we will that they are going to innovate around the globe with new services that take advantage of voice as a feature.”
Apple’s iPhone App Store – which just this week passed 1000 applications – is perhaps the most visible success story in the race to build a communications-focused SDK that would appeal to mainstream developers, albeit one focused on a single device. For its part, Google has yet to make its big bet, up to now allowing its Web telephony acquisition Grand Central wither on the vine while its Android platform won’t fully appear until early next year.
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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