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Friday, November 16, 2012

Looking for telecoms industry advice, research or a stimulus speaker? Employ Disruptive Analysis & Dean Bubley

A word from our sponsor....

I will be upfront & unapologetic: this blog post is an unashamed sales pitch for Disruptive Analysis & myself, Dean Bubley. I would like a couple of minutes of your time, to suggest ways we might work together to mutual benefit, on advisory work, research or speaking engagements.

At this time of year, many companies will be finalising budgets and plans for 2013. As well as general strategy, staffing, sales targets and product development/launch schedules, they will also be looking at arranging customer-facing events, or finalising attendance at trade fairs and conferences.

As you should be aware, my company Disruptive Analysis assists and advises operators, vendors, regulators and investors. In some cases I work on a solo basis, while for other engagements I have a network of associates and partners I can call upon.

Multiple engagement models

There are various delivery formats for my analysis and advisory services:

  • Internal strategy workshops, training courses & brainstorm sessions
  • Custom research & consulting projects, spanning market analysis, strategy/product development, product due-diligence and marketing/PR messaging, typically under NDA
  • Stimulus speaker or moderator at internal or external events, such as management retreats, customer conferences, webinars and sales kick-offs. (In recent months, these have included companies such as Acme Packet, CSG, InterDigital, Metaswitch & several that are under NDA)
  • Participation on corporate advisory boards, or as a retained advisor
  • Public workshops, such as the Future of Voice& Telco-OTT series I run with Martin Geddes
  • Private, sponsored or custom workshops, for example closed-audience versions of Future of Voice
  • Published research reports such as those I’ve written this year, on Telco-OTT Strategies, and 1-800 Data Plans
  • Sponsored white papers or roadshows, where vendors’ pitch and vision fits well with that of Disruptive Analysis
  • The @DApremium exclusive private Twitter feed

What's different about Disruptive?
While many analysts and consultants offer similar services, Disruptive Analysis has certain clear differentiators:
  • An uncompromisingly independent, and often contrarian stance. I don’t mince my words, and I’m not afraid to criticise even the most sacred of cows – or my clients, if I see them making expensive mistakes.
  • An enviable track record of being right with my forecasts and predictions (see below)
  • A huge network of contacts, that can be leveraged either for highly efficient research, or mutual introductions
  • Cross-silo research that brings together insight from diverse areas of technology business – networks, devices, applications, the Internet, regulation, user behaviour, partnerships & organisational dynamics. A full list of coverage topics is given below.
  • Name recognition and reach. As @disruptivedean I have around 4000 followers on Twitter, while this blog is among the most widely read in the industry.
  • Understanding of external adjacent worlds, such as finance (I am a former equity analyst), regulation & politics
  • Commercial flexibility and value. While Disruptive Analysis’ services are not cheap, time-effectiveness on consulting projects is very high. For events, it is possible to work to tight schedules or complex travel routings.
  • Being "out there". I attend 30+ conferences per year, from small and specialised events, to those run by standards bodies, through major trade shows. I do 100's of phone briefings and face-to-face meetings, and interact with countless groups via Twitter and LinkedIn.

"I told you so"

Disruptive Analysis has an enviable reputation and 10-year track record for making the right calls & predictions, early. This includes:
  • Identifying new and unexpected trends and innovations, months or even years in advance of the crowd (eg femtocells, WebRTC, Telco-OTT services),
  • Dismissing technology losers at the peak of their hype or before (eg UMA, RCS, NFC payments, embedded-3G laptops)
  • Simply pointing out “naked emperors” like 1-800 models for data charging, which are unworkable, or which are logically inconsistent or mischievous, such as ETNO’s proposals to ITU, or the notion of “seamless WiFi connection”. A classic example was my 2006 prediction that mobile IMS would fail as nobody had bothered to think about IMS-capable phones.
  • Numerical forecasts, such as the growth profile of Mobile VoIP to 250m users by 2012. (Although admittedly I expected VoLTE or its equivalent to have overtaken OTT options by now).
For example, back in 2007 I said that making VoIPo3G/4G work was going to be difficult, and that if the telecoms industry wants to lead 4G VoIP rather than OTT players, they would need to start "practising" early and (for a period) look to partner with Skype and others for applications other than "primary telephony".

That’s not to say that I haven’t made a few bad calls as well. I underestimated the success of both Android and the iPad, for example. And I thought Vodafone 360 was going to be a winner.

But on balance, I like to think that I’ve helped companies avoid some expensive mistakes, make the right investment choices, or “fix” deficiencies in new technologies or business models.

I’m particularly proud of accurate “anti-forecasting” – predicting which technologies won’t be a success. My belief is that many industry analysts are too fond of “hockey-stick” growth curves. It reminds me of investment banking analysts in the 1998-2000 dotcom bubble, when 90% of recommendations were “Buy”. I feel that analysts of all kinds should be prepared to write “Sell” research – even if it risks offending clients or close contacts.

(The dynamics of the analysis market mean that “Buy” research is more profitable to write – reports are often purchased by people wanting support & validation for ongoing projects and investments. Fewer people will pay money for bad news, even if it’s true).

Coverage topics

Disruptive Analysis covers numerous sectors and themes within the telecoms industry, and is always looking for new “hot topics” that are emerging (and also “cold topics” that will fail). While the title of this blog is wireless-focused, the wider telecoms industry including fixed-line and cable is also covered.

Recent focus has been on:

  • The Future of Voice & Messaging, including next-generation voice services beyond “peak telephony”, VoIP, WebRTC, user psychology, hypervoice, IMS/RCS/VoLTE & social networking & future messaging services.
  • Telco-OTT services, ie Fixed or mobile operators’ own Internet applications (eg in-house VoIP). This covers business models, organisational issues and technology enablers/infrastructure
  • Carrier WiFi, including new standards & business models
  • Mobile broadband business models & technology, including 3G/4G networks, small cells, policy & optimisation, pricing
  • Mobile devices & semiconductors, such as smartphone market dynamics, hardware components, OS direction, architectural considerations & fit with trends in operator needs & user behaviour
  • Telecoms policy & regulation including Net Neutrality, spectrum policy, national broadband initiatives, regional technology development zones and standards bodies.
  • Mobile commerce & applications, including appstores, HTML5, M2M, NFC mobile payments and others
  • Cloud, APIs and SDN
  • OSS/BSS systems including billing, policy, charging, interconnect, application enablement etc.

In addition, Disruptive Analysis has a strong heritage of researching unusual or specialised niches that lie well outside the normal coverage of industry analysis - please inquire.

Get in touch

Hopefully, this has given you food for thought about why you should be using Disruptive Analysis and myself, as part of your 2013 planning, operational and marketing agenda.

Please get in touch via email (information AT disruptive-analysis DOT com) or Twitter (@disruptivedean) or LinkedIn. Sign up to receive this blog by email here. I am happy to provide references, sign NDAs, write proposals or just discuss how we can work together profitably over the next year and beyond.

(I will also be at a few more events this year in person, including the Guardian Mobile Business Summit in London on Nov 19, the WebRTC Expo in San Francisco on Nov 28-29, and Telco 2.0’s Digital Asia in Singapore on Dec 4-5. Come and say hello).

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