In the very beginning of Telecommunications, around 1880, the business seemed to be the sale of telephones: it should have been up to the buyer of the telephone to roll out the needed wires to connect with another telephone. But, soon it was realized that the “connectivity fabric” was the most important, and expensive part of the story. So the Network Providers started making the huge (Capex) investments for exploiting (and managing) such network infrastructures.
Telecommunication business didn’t change that much in the following 130 years.
But it will change radically in the coming few years, due to the convergence of a number of (well-known) techno-economic trajectories.
Example: already today main of the overall Telecommunication business is in the smart-phones, not in the network. The number of smart-phone being sold versus network equipment is billions against millions, with economic unbalance 70% vs 30% in favor of the terminals. This means the market is already led by smart-phones, and perhaps tomorrow by future smart terminals, such as robots, drones, any sort of autonomous machines equipped with processing, storage, communications capabilities and sensors/actuators. This does not mean that the network is no longer important, obviously: it means that it will change radically and also our perception of it. It’s the Softwarization of Telecommunications, which I started predicting that five years ago, and that now it’s really coming into reality.
Softwarization will tranform the Telecommunications infrastructures from today networks of interconnected closed boxes (todays nodes, e.g., switches, routers, middle-boxes, etc) into a continuum of logical containers (e.g., Virtual Machines, or Dockers) executing millions of software processes, interacting each other. If it will make sense to allocate, move or change a functionality in a smart-terminal, in an edge DC, even a SME, a User or a machine will be able making it. Not only humans but also autonomous software entities will be able to produce and consume services in this continuum of ICT virtual resources.
That’s a radically different perspective for Telecommunications and ICT.
At this level, it makes a lot of sense to investigate how modeling, control and steering the dynamics of this software continuum. The mathematics behind this, in fact, may open the way to new models for a networked cognition, or even a new theory of information beyond Shannon. It will be about understanding how and why human or software processes beings assemble themselves into social networks. Just imagine dynamic logical networks where every logical node is a person or an avatar and every logical link between logical nodes is a relationship between them.
It’s about mathematical, social, biological and psychological rules that govern how these logical networks are assembled, are operated, how they will affect our lives, and the economy. That's the mine where extracting the value.