The end of industries

A Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management User Group meeting is an unlikely place to experience paradigms being shifted without gears. Such, though, was the case at the recent Subex event. Amongst the discussions about operational challenges for operators, revenue assurance issues and fraud threats (social spoofing being an interesting one) were discussions of drug dealing, innovation committees and the possible vulnerabilities of NFV (which are scary).

Drug dealing was discussed partly because operators have been accused of having a drug dealing business model. They give customers a little, get them hooked and reel them in. The jury is still out as to whether operators would make good drug dealers, the conversation had moved on to consider that mobile phone providers can easily pinpoint drug dealers. They buy prepaid phones, accept in-coming calls only and hang around on street corners. So, what should the mobile operator do with this information? Having agreed that there were probably bigger fish that need to be fried, someone pointed out that the bigger fish run their own private communications networks and are thus free of the intrusion and spying that the rest of us take for granted. Oh to be a drug dealer. One delegate (you know who you are) put forward a theory that online drug dealers should be forced to be scrutinised by a TripAdvisor type service. This would force the dealers with inferior products out of the market, so at least we would have healthier drug addicts. We quickly considered the comments of the dealers with the best drugs, along the lines of ‘Wow, man, this stuff is, wow….(silence, snoring)’ We then concluded that the event was meant to be serious – and about revenue assurance.

The word that made the biggest impression on the BillingViews’ operative  was ‘arena’. It was uttered by Futurist Gerd Leonhard and he was referring to the fact that companies no longer work in industries in the traditional lines, they operate in arenas. The ‘big four’ were used as examples – as their business grows out from, say, cool devices to music, payments and a host of cloud based services.

The event was fully, if not over booked and full of operators and operator presentations and case studies. The BillingViews one will be up soon. Meanwhile here is ‘the poem.’

And if you have something called an innovation committee in your company, you should be a little bit embarrassed.

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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