Last week I had the great pleasure of visiting Altibox´s offices. Wow, was I impressed!!
Why does a TV have to be a TV?
Why should the TV channel decide what I watch?
Why can´t I watch any program, on any device, at any time, at any place?
These are just a handful of the questions Altibox is asking – on its way to disrupt a range of industries, from television, movies, broadband services, gaming and communication. Simply put, Altibox is potentially reinventing your digital life.
We´ve longed argued that Norway, with it´s small population and high digital proficency is a great test market for next generation digital services. Telenor has been fairly fast, but outside of that, we´ve not seen an impressive range of groundbreaking digital services. That is, untill now.
Altibox and the mother company Lyse came on our radars some months ago. Recently their energetic and passionate Sales Director Stian Røisland held a guest lecture at BI Norwegian Business School. His presentation was more Sillicon Valley start-up than mature energy industry. My strategy students were wildly impressed. I was curious. Here was a company not only using the 30/30 rule in strategy (30 % of the participants in the strategy process should be under 30 years old). No. At Altibox closer to 80 % are under 30 years – and everyone´s taking part in the strategy process.
While some firms struggle to recruit at University level, Altibox is running a unique High School recruiting program. “We recruit for attitude, then train them for skills”, says Røisland, fielding through more than 100 applications for ten open positions. Taking a page from pro football, Altibox recruit them young, then develop them in-house, including paying for business school as they develop. If Kobe Bryant can join the NBA at 17, why can´t Altibox recruit next generation leaders at 18?
Making your digital home a reality
While recruiting for the future is one thing, developing digital services for the future is truly another – and Altibox is hard at work. Today I witnessed the smart house of the future. Combining existing software and hardware, Altibox´s team of innovative technologists have made the digital home a reality. Currently field testing 19 houses for the elderly in Stavanger, the company combines light, doors, temperatures, video calling, TV, security, health check-ups and more, all into one device, all running on one plattform. Now, your grandmother can watch her grandchildren play on your floor from the comforts of her couch, while opening her front door without having to get up. And home nursing services can check in on her using video conferencing. While none of these are new technologies in themselves, Altibox´s team has put these together into one user-friendly app running on the iPad (android coming shortly).
With field testing well under way, deployment can´t be far off.
Changing the game…and reinventing your television
Having dug Norway´s fastest fiber broadband to customers, the company is now developing digital services to make use of the capacity. This, of course, opens for innovative possibilities.
How would you like to watch six football games at once, on six split windows on your TV, all in HD. And if you have to get up and leave the couch, you can continue watching on your iPad as you move into your office..
Or how about choose any TV program you want, then watch it when you want, at what pace you want and fast forward whenever you get bored. No need to follow the TV schedule, because there is none. No need to tune into Grey´s anatomy at 21:45, beacuse you can get it whenever you want, on any device you want. And hey, perhaps you can choose whether to pay .99 cents for it, or watch a bit of advertising and get it for free.
TV, of course, is only part of the services being rolled out. High Defintion Video Calling using Cisco Ümi is another service. Social gaming over Altibox´s platform is another. Integrative e-learning, combining video lectures, twitter feeds and slideshows in multiple windows is yet another.
Radical business model innovator
The Norwegian book industry has chosen to stand by and watch the digital revolution. Altibox is leading a massive push to reinvent the TV-industry and the many layers of services potentially following your future TV usage. While the company still is small in scale, the ideas are big.
For most radical innovators, getting the business model right is the big challenge. Finding the right streams of cash flow for the right level of services at a time the market is ready to buy requires finess, insight and more than a little bit of luck.
Altibox had many open questions. But the company also had some emerging answers. Integrated vs. stand-alone, purchase vs. subscription-based, slow growth or massive scale-up. Yes, questions only begets more questions. But finding the right mix of business models will happen through trial, experiments and innovation close to the customers. It will be interesting to watch as Altibox puts their various business models to the test.
Putting the Innovation Pyramid to work
Analyzing Altibox using the Innovation Pyramid reveals a telling picture. The company is hard at work on radical business model and radical industry innovation.
While most firms we look at struggle just to develop innovation at the product and process level, Altibox is racing ahead. While a lot of firms are satisifed with 3, 5 or 10 % of revenue from services less than three years old, Altibox is working at a whole different level.
While most firms are pleased with a balanced level of incremental innovation, Altibox is really pushing the envelope in terms of bringing innovations to the market. Not small, safe, incremental innovation, but big, bold, potentially massively disruptive innovations. Innovations that can change how people use technology both at home and at work. And this is not something that can happen some years from now. It is happening. Today. At Altibox.
Watch this company. I believe this could be a growth case to follow. And first step is finding the right mix of business models.
It’s people like Gunnar and Stian that’s making innovation happen. Thanks.
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