How product development and R&D has changed in the last 10-15 years (in telecoms)

I have been working with product and service development in the telecom and IT industry for over 15 years and here are some thoughts about the change we have vitnessed in it.

Firstly, the product development my teams have worked with is taking existing software, hardware, devices and combining them into a service that is easy to use by business or private customers. This means integrating hardware, software, IT systems and devices. Building sometimes customer portals and making the overall experience seamless. On top of that we add customer service, help, support and sales. As you can see this is not R&D in the classical sense, but it is a lot of technical work, software development and also team building and process development. We literally take components from AliExpress and other vendors, system software from open-source communities and software vendors, and integrate it all together to make it one service that is easy to use.

In the last 10 years the situation in this area has changed quite radically. The main change is that today there is so much more technology - both hardware and software - that can be integrated to services that the need for such service creation has increased significantly. There are a few reasons for that:
- The startup and VC ecosystem is working globally and producing much more than ten years ago.
- The production and logistics systems of hardware from Shenzen factories to Cleveron automatic postal machines and Starship delivery robots have decreased the price of hardware.
- Open-source communities thrive.

At the same time:
- The rate how fast people and organizations can adopt new technologies has increased only a little bit.
- There has been no radical change in how easily tech components integrate, meaning that by default they don't.

So from a Nordic-Baltic ICT development view it seems so that the main bottleneck of moving society forward is not in creating new technology, but rather turning the existing technology into services and implementing them. Let's focus on that.


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