You heard it here first… 2008 is the year of decommodification

You heard it here first… 2008 is the year of decommodification

What’s that Dug? A new-year’s prediction in September? Shurly shome mistake… Well, this one just popped into my brain so I thought I’d put it down on paper. I think 2008 will be the year of decommodification. The word exists already and has a few definitions. I’d like to propose a new one.

Decommodification The process by which value is re-infused into what those in the know in the telecoms industry call “pipes” as in “Vodafone is just a leaser of pipes”.

The executives you’ll hear using this phrase will be using it in the context of trying to find ways for the business to add value. If pipes are ‘just’ a commodity and the money is in what travels through those pipes then the telecoms operation needs to invest in building tools and services it can sell (like webmail applications or photo-sharing apps).

I think 2008 will see telco operators realise that the kids are creating the apps they need themselves, but what Ben Trott, Chris Messina, Katerina Fake, Rasmus Lerdorf or even today’s darling Mark Zuckerberg can’t do is provide ubiquitous, pervasive, reliable, cheap and universal connectivity to planet earth.

I know it’s a lot less glamourous than making groovy stuff but there is one seriously big place in heaven for the operator who becomes the world’s Good Connectivity Partner.

Well, that’s what I was thinking anyway…