As all of us working in this industry know first hand that we have experienced disruptive technology and marketplace evolutions (actually revolutions) since the introduction of VoIP in the mid 1990s. Per minute rates have continued their decline towards zero, and technology has unleashed innovations and changed the underlying cost structure of the industry. But where are we today from an innovation standpoint? What’s next? Have we reached the revolutionary/evolutionary plateau? Are all of the forthcoming innovations going to be incremental? Have we, in essence, realized the majority of innovation that this industry can experience?
All of these are interesting and compelling questions, and force anyone who wants to offer a response to consider the natural order of things. For instance, there is a natural framing of evolution/revolution; how often can an industry be creatively destructed only to resurrect itself? We think that all industries do reach some sort of plateau-like effect as they experience innovation. We aren’t talking about the Technology Innovation “S” curve or ‘The Rogers Innovation Curve’ here.
All we are say is that it is reasonable and probably provable that in any industry with technological innovation the frequency and impact of innovation lessens over time. Does this apply to the interconnect voice industry? Probably. But it’s still a little hard to tell because the larger underlying players in the industry are typically the laggards in adoption. And, in the interconnect voice industry, the underlying players can drive innovation because of their scale, ubiquity, and complex business operations. So, adopting innovations happens over time. In the interconnect voice marketplace, there has been a ton of innovation made available.
As we approach 2020, we probably have created 70-80% of the major innovation that is available in the marketplace, which leaves 20-30% available. Where is that innovation going to come from? Will it affect underlying costs that affect the entire market? Is it going to affect the way business is contracted? Is it going to affect the size of the market? Most likely the answer will come from all the above, and other aspects. We here at GCS are constantly looking and exploring ways to provide innovation to our customers so that they can leverage our solutions to their benefit. That’s probably all we can hope to do right now. No one knows for sure where the next impactful innovation will come from or what it will be, but, collectively, we are all pursuing it.
So, the question isn’t “Where is the innovation in the interconnect voice industry?”, it is, “ What is the next big innovation in the voice industry”? Here at GCS, that’s what we are pursuing every minute of every day.
What do you think? What are you pursuing?