BT’s 21CN: Implications For the UK IT Services Industry

Analyst Douglas Hayward from Ovum says the BT 21CN project, the multi-billion pound migration of their networks to an all-IP architecture, will have significant implications for the software and IT services industry.

“BT isn’t simply building a better and cheaper network, though that’s part of the story. It’s building a next-generation platform for combined voice, data, video and other digitised services. This is not news in itself, but we suspect that software and IT services industry has not fully appreciated that that the implications of this could be enormous for business as well as consumers. 21CN will allow easier delivery of existing voice/data applications, but should also enable new generations of application functionality that we haven’t even thought of yet. And not just for BT, but for its partners and competitors, too.

The latter point is crucial – 21CN is effectively a new route for software and services suppliers to reach and service their customers, and with new products and services, not just established ones. It promises the long-awaited real convergence between voice and data, telecoms and software.