Since the WAVES project I have been focusing on another CaaS project with Ribbit - ‘Ribbit for Windows 7.’  The solution is an excellent example of Software + Services applied to the telecommunications industry: a rich Windows 7 client experience using touch-screen and drag/drop features for social communications coupled with services that reside in the cloud: Ribbit’s telephony features. 

An exciting aspect of this application is that it isn’t only an exciting technical solution, but the value proposition to carriers is as much a part of the overall solution as is the cool technology.  The ultimate goal of the solution is to apply the economic, behavioral, and technical trends impacting the telecommunications industry and create an application that can ultimately increase ARPU for a network service provider.  As mentioned in the title of the Ribbit Press release:  Ribbit’s Converged Communications Desktop for Windows 7 Helps Transform Service Provider Revenue Model.

In a whitepaper that I will publish to this blog I describe the economic, behavioral and technical trends that are forcing change in this rapidly transforming industry and how the telecommunications companies can benefit from some lessons from Internet companies.  The abstract from the whitepaper is below.

I hope attendees of Mobile World Congress stop by the Microsoft booth to meet with me and take a look at the application.  There is a whitepaper posted at the bottom of this blog.  There is also a MS Case Study on Ribbit for Windows 7 and Ribbit for Silverlight.

CCD Whitepaper Abstract:

A large transformation has been occurring in the way people communicate. As recent as 20 years ago, most people corresponded through the same means that they did for the previous 100 years, through switch/circuit telephone networks and letters mailed through the postal system. Those methods are antiquated when compared to the communications methods that have become common over the last two decades: voice over IP (VoIP); mobile voice; e-mail; instant messaging; short messaging service (SMS); and many other technologies.

Over the last couple of years we have seen a number of trends that create an environment that will revolutionize the communications industry:

Global Communications. The rise of social networking web sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter give people the ability to connecting with communities of people around the world. As long as people have access to the Internet, we can hear and see accounts of world events in near-real time on a global scale that was unthinkable just a few years ago.

Voice as an application. The mobile phone is becoming a small form-factor computer that provides voice service and other applications. Applications providing voice service on the personal computer, like Skype and Microsoft Office Communicator, have become mainstream for consumers and businesses.

Communications networks as programming platforms. Programmable communications services accessible via the Internet are becoming common. This trend has been given many names including Communications as a Service (CaaS) and programmable communications. There are many initiatives that are defining standards for programmable communications platforms including the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and many companies that have commercial offerings of these platforms.

Net neutrality. Regulations prohibiting network carriers from excluding applications that run over their network or negatively impacting the quality of service of an application are gaining ground in the US and other large nations.

Network carriers can increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) by applying the economic model of the web to the telecommunications industry. By offering value-added communications services over the Internet to consumers and business, network operators can capitalize on these trends. Fortunately for telecommunications providers, both the technical architecture for web communications and the business model of the Internet are not a far shift from how they have traditionally operated.

This paper will discuss these emerging trends in detail and propose a model in which communications carriers can ultimately increase their ARPU in the face of increased competition in the evolving global communications marketplace. This paper will also present a technical architecture based on a proof-of concept between British Telecom’s Ribbit subsidiary and Microsoft.