James Seng takes apart a slide from Vesbridge Partners Roderick Randall in which Randall asserts “the stupid network is a stupid idea”. Caveat: I haven’t seen the whole presentation. This slide, however, is frankly backward thinking.
If you’ve read this blog before, you know that The Stupid Network is a really good idea. Standardizing the lower layers of the network and pushing the intelligence to the edge unlocks innovation in a way that just wasn’t possible with the so-called Intelligent Networks of the 1980’s.
To add to James Seng’s comments, it’s more than just a marketing and pricing exercise to get value from the Stupid Network. There will be a wholesale shift of revenues away from transporting bits, and toward value-added services as the Stupid Network becomes the communications platform for the future. Applications are the answer to the price erosion that will naturally chip away at incumbent’s revenue models. To survive, the carriers must shift the basis of their competition away from price, toward value add.
It’s true that some of the value add will be in bit-transport: speeds and feeds, plus QOS. But the majority of the value add will come from new applications for those bits, not simply transporting bits faster.