Negroponte on Rethinking Telecommunications


As part of a larger Wired New article, Nicholas Negroponte talks about rethinking telecommunications:

Telecommunications is now at a cusp, after "almost ice-age economics over the past few years," he said. But the cusp is historical, not simply economic. "This cusp is much more fundamental and intellectual and comes from looking at things in a different perspective," he said.

For example, Negroponte talks about business models:

Overall, the industry must totally rethink the way in which it values revenue streams, he said. Right now, telecoms still think in terms of revenue generated per user, from a single handset. Yet the world is moving toward an era of multiple devices and the possibility of having intelligent microchips embedded in almost any object, from a refrigerator to an automobile to the family dog. Such objects will need communication services, but the telecommunications operators are stubbornly resisting any change to their existing business models, Negroponte said.

OnStar is good example of a consumer device that needs communications services. My refrigerator doesn't yet, but it will once everything in it has RFID tags. Or maybe just my garbage can. You might just say: hook them all on the net. That's great at an abstract level, but some of those bits are worth more to me than others. Companies are leaving money on the table by not charging me differentially based on how valuable the bits are. All bits are not created equally.