Uncommon Wisdom

May 16 2011   1:50PM GMT

Do Verizon’s new programs signal a move toward service partnerships?

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Verizon’s Digital Media Services initiative (VDMS) has been somewhat of a yawn to the press, but it’s of great interest to other operators and also to some vendors. Verizon is now launching another program, called the Verizon Strategic Initiatives Council, that could be even more important. Perhaps the most significant thing about it is that it brings into the open something that’s been happening behind the scenes at most of the larger network operators.

Light Reading is reporting that the early efforts of the council are focused on things like wellness, security, home monitoring, and smart home and energy management. All that appears to be true, but these also seem to be the flagship applications that are expected to bring focus to a larger question—how to create “services” in an age where the network isn’t enough. Dare I hope that this might bring some long-needed clarity and impetus to service-layer planning by vendors? Hope, I guess. Assurance is still another matter.

What’s so interesting about the Verizon move so far is that it’s being brought to market through a partnership, at least in its wellness manifestation. Given that VDMS is also a partnership strategy, it sure looks like Verizon at least has decided that the wholesale-feature route is the way to go to market.

That would create an interesting new model of services that doesn’t pit operators against over-the-top (OTT) players, but rather creates a partnership in the feature area. Telcos and cablecos might offer wholesale features in a growing variety of flavors, which OTTs would roll into an even-more-diverse set of retail offerings. Of course, this is all predicated on other operators following Verizon’s lead. I think they will.

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