Here are two examples of innovation in the telecom industry that come from “outside” the industry. First, Amazon’s Alexa and the line of Amazon voice appliances has created a new platform for consumer voice. Basically, Alexa is becoming a voice-activated “home phone.”
The other example is emergency calling, where it is Google that is innovating in location services. In recent tests, Google tested emergency call location at 911 call centers with West Corp. and RapidSOS.
RapidSOS said its portion of the trial involved about 50 911 centers covering some 2.4 million people in Texas, Tennessee and Florida.
Location data in more than 80 percent of the 911 calls using Google’s technology were more accurate than the carrier data in the first 30 seconds of a call, according to RapidSOS.
Google’s data provided an average location estimate radius of 121 feet, RapidSOS said, while carrier data averaged 522 feet. Carrier data also took longer to reach 911 centers, RapidSOS said.
Google has said it hopes to deploy the technology broadly across the U.S. some time this year. Apple also is said to be developing such location technology.
There are lots of reasons why innovation, research and development have largely moved outside service provider purview. Profits to support such research no longer exist, for starters. Telco research also was outsourced to industry suppliers and in some cases to third party research outfits.
In that absence, and because of profound changes in ownership of key data stores, key device and app suppliers appear to be moving into the breach.