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Web 2.0 Mash-ups and Over-the-Top Threats

The emergence of Web 2.0 technologies from the IT world is already having a significant impact on the way that telecom service providers are planning their next-generation service strategies, leading some telcos to rethink the role that IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) will play in next-generation service creation, according to the latest report from Light Reading.

"Content providers are emerging as a serious rival to network operators in the next-generation services arena, and they are working to develop competitive services using completely different approaches than those slowly making inroads in the telecom sector," says Caroline Chappell, research analyst with Light Reading's Services Software Insider and author of the report. "Increasingly, the Internet world is becoming a source of over-the-top digital content services using Web 2.0 technologies that have nothing to do with telco standards such as IMS and SIP."

If telcos resist incorporating Web 2.0 designs into their next-generation service creation factories, they risk being disintermediated in a fast-evolving digital services value chain, Chappell warns. "Their services may lose out to the rising tide of over-the-top digital content applications, and they may forfeit the potentially lucrative opportunity of becoming a service broker, aggregating and selling large numbers of Web 2.0 services."

I commend BT for conceptually embracing a more open business model with its Web21C concept, however, the partnership with Microsoft for the "Connected Services Sandbox" competition is puzzling to me -- partly because I've not previously considered their developer network as a source of Web 2.0 innovation.

The notion of enabling managed network mash-ups is appealing, and I understand the concerns about the inherently complex and expensive IMS platforms, but if I was looking for a source of creative service delivery platform (SDP) inspiration, I'd tap into the Linux community, not the Microsoft developer network.

Other key findings of the Light Reading study include:

- The operator portal model for revenue generation is under threat, and operators should investigate a Web 2.0 marketplace model to become service aggregators and brokers.

- BT expects its Web 2.0 strategy -- Web21C SDK -- to radically change its service creation environment and development culture, as a part of its transformation program.

- Open-source SIP servers are currently available from Ericsson and Sun, providing network operators with a complete open-source Web 2.0/Java EE/SIP service development environment.

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