BT and Ribbit's evolving platform strategy

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BT is moving forwards with a platform strategy that radically transforms its business model. We take a closer look at what is going on.

One of the challenges facing telcos right now is to open up their network and IT assets to create more value. A common issue is how these initiatives are being driven from the IT side, who intuitively understand the importance of platforms and a developer ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the rest of the business fails to comprehend the importance of external innovation, isn’t organised to sell and support it, and the technology platform struggles to have the impact on the business that was anticipated.

In the inbox this afternoon we find a message from JP Rangaswami, BT Design’s MD Strategy & Innovation, telling us that their Web21C SDK platform is no longer going to be supported after the 10th of October. Their developer-ecosystem efforts are now concentrated on Ribbit. Web21C was always a great idea — an SDK for various programming languages that let you interact with BT’s voice switching, making, receiving, rerouting calls, sending and receiving text messages, and carrying out location dips and authentication checks.

But somehow it didn’t quite get traction; the forums over at the Web21C site are a fairly good index, there being hardly any activity. For some reason, having created the most capable telco API suite yet, BT didn’t really promote it. More recently, BT acquired Ribbit, “Silicon Valley’s Phone Company”, VoIP/Web integration specialists who aim to let Web developers build CEBP applications, which immediately raised the question of what they would do with Web21C. Now we know; it’s going to vanish.

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