BT announces managing director of Incubation for Digital unit

Innovation leader announced for digital unit as it aims to build a customer-centric digital organisation to bring products and services to customers and create new opportunities

Former Vodafone Smart Tech chief product officer Tom Guy has been appointed as managing director incubation for BT Digital, the nascent digital technology unit of the UK telecoms products and services provider.

Effective from 1 April 2021, BT regards the creation of its new unit as an important statement of intent, designed to enable it to go further with opportunities in digital services that presented themselves in 2020.

The digital unit includes accountability for IT, digital innovation, BT-wide business transformation, and data and product strategy.

It began life aiming to lead the digital innovation agenda in 2021, with an early focus on the development and rapid delivery of innovative products, platforms and services in key areas such as healthcare and data.

The unit has a continued focus on network leadership and partnership with customer-facing units on converged services and experiences, and BT has said the unit will aim to use the strength of its networks to differentiate its services for its customers. Product strategy, business transformation, data and artificial intelligence (AI) will also form part of the new digital unit.

Guy’s focus over the past two years has been on internet of things (IoT) product development, and he has spent most of his career in startups or starting new businesses for larger organisations. He is described by BT as an “end-to-end product leader”, creating everything from the best-selling Hive Thermostat to security cameras, from home diagnostics to the multi-award-winning Curve tracker and more. He has collaborated with renowned designers including Yves Behar.

Joining Guy at BT Digital are four members of his team, who were part of the founding team of Hive, said to be the largest smart home provider in the UK: Jess Kyte, John Gutch, Zoe Dyer and Michael O’Connell. During their time at Vodafone Smart Tech, the team developed the “Designed and Connected by” range of consumer IoT products, which went on to win the IF Design award, the Red Dot Award, the GLOMO Award, the IoT Breakthrough Award for Platform of the Year and multiple Good Design Awards in the first 18 months of its creation.

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The team is attributed with bringing to BT a wealth of experience in product leadership, design, and building an agile culture, and will help BT create and incubate startups and explore new categories and ideas, accelerating the startup and versatile capabilities across the business.

Guy will continue to be involved in the startup community as a non-executive and board advisor. “I’m looking forward to joining BT Digital at such an exhilarating time for the unit and the business as a whole,” he said.

“Together with colleagues and partners, we’ll help to build a customer-centric digital organisation, one which brings new products and services to our customers and creates new opportunities for the business. I’m excited to get started.”

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