Carriers could 'out-Google Google'

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Carriers could 'out-Google Google'

If only they could see beyond billing, says HP.

Telecoms operators are missing a major opportunity by neglecting to optimise their information resources, according to experts.

Phil McKinney, chief technical officer at HP's Personal Systems Group, told at 3GSM in Barcelona that telcos are in a position to beat Google.

He believes that carriers have far more information on their customers than the search giant, but are throwing this resource away.

"Over 70 per cent of the information that carriers have on their clients just gets binned because it is not related to billing," McKinney explained.

"If they could use all that customer information as well as Google does they have potential revenue that could surpass Google with ease. It means changing their entire business model, but if they did they could out-Google Google."

The way to do this would be to introduce targeted advertising. HP Labs has filed over 200 patents on technology that could broadcast advertising to individual subscribers, even if they were in the middle of a video session.

When asked whether users might not find this intrusive, McKinney agreed that it would have to be done subtly, as Google has done with its Gmail service and search page advertising.

For example, if the phone user is watching a broadcast on cars a small logo from a relevant manufacturer could be placed in one corner.

McKinney added that carriers also need to have a better appreciation of the mutually supportive relationship between them and the device manufacturing community, citing WiMax as a prime example.

HP has been testing WiMax systems for the past two years but has not yet committed to wide-scale deployment in portable devices, partly because of infrastructure problems which have yet to be solved.

"Carriers get payback for investment over decades," said McKinney. "But for device manufacturers payback needs to be in the lifespan of the product, typically 18 to 24 months. As an industry we need to think differently about the whole value chain."

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