• RUBENS
    Strategic foresight methods in use in an international consortium of network and telecommunications consortium.

RUBENS: Telco Consortium

RUBENS
Using strategic foresight for business field exploration

Background and Challenge

The project setting was an international consortium of telcos and network suppliers, i.e. different steps in the value chain of the telecommunication industry. Project partners included: Alcatel-Lucent Bell, BT, Deutsche Telekom AG, France Telecom, IBBT, KPN, Telefónica, TNO, University of Zaragoza. 

The objective of RUBENS was to define and evaluate an enhanced broadband access infrastructure that offers personalised quality-of-experience in a flexible and scalable way for a large variety of applications, delivery models and devices. The main problem to solve was how operators can and should deal with the increased consumption of personalized and long-tail content (e.g. Internet TV / streaming services) and the ever increasing triple-play bandwidth requirements (e.g. transition to HDTV/4K) in an economically sound way.

Our approach

We combined different foresight methods into an integrated business-field-exploration approach. The goal was to gain a holistic picture about how the new market could develop and at the same time to validate the business potential. It was important to substantiate the analysis with hard data and multiple external experts.

The key methods that we used were:

  • use cases to describe potential products and services in generic terms
  • Godet’s MACTOR analysis to evaluate if key stakeholders would be likely to form an effective value network
  • scenario analysis to explore future market configurations and identify barriers and drivers
  • target costing to assess the financial feasibility.

While the application of such a complex approach might appear to be feasible for large firms and consortia only, we elaborated in an article how smart integration of the methods can limit the overall effort. 

A short presentation summarizing the approach is available here: Strategic Foresight for Collaborative Exploration of New Business Fields.

The full reference and download links to the article are:

Heger, T. and R. Rohrbeck 2012 Strategic Foresight for Collaborative Exploration of New Business FieldsTechnological Forecasting and Social Change, 79(5), 819-831. (open access version)

Results

The integrated approach revealed the need for substantial cost improvements in infrastructure components in the access network that have been tackled subsequently. Several features that have been analyzed have found their way into day-to-day Internet usage, e.g. video quality adaptions to available bandwidth, caching of video data in intermediate hubs and stream mixing.