Carriers of the future: Innovating beyond connectivity

Innovation has become the buzzword in the telecoms industry.

Innovation has become the buzzword in the telecoms industry.

Walking through the Hyatt Regency Chicago at this year’s International Telecoms Week (ITW) conference, the deployment of enhanced solutions to meet new customer requirements, demands and market needs was the topic of most business conversations.

ITW presented the wholesale community with an opportunity to come together and discuss, explore and strategise how to effectively meet the growing demand for bandwidth and optimised service quality. So, what are the key drivers of innovation across the carrier portfolio, and what does the buzzword truly mean to the carriers of today – and tomorrow?

To discuss these questions and more during ITW’s “Innovating Beyond Connectivity: IPX, M2M, NFC, LTE & Wi-Fi Roaming, SDN” panel on Wednesday, May 14, Brendan Ives, president and CEO of TeliaSonera International Carrier, joined moderator Catherine Haslam, senior analyst, wholesale, Ovum and fellow panellists Wilfred Kwan, COO, Global Cloud Exchange, Alexandre Pébereau, EVP, International Carriers, Orange and Marc Halbfinger, CEO of PCCW Global.

Panellists agreed that the mounting pressure on carriers to innovate is driven by growing end-user bandwidth and mobility demands. According to Ives, the keys to innovating (and doing so quickly) are understanding and anticipating these new customer needs and trends, as well as having a robust and scalable platform capable of supporting the colossal, imminent data demands of today and tomorrow.

This, according to Ives, includes being able to provide high-end bandwidth on-demand – as opposed to fixed-bandwidth solutions – offering seamless scalability to keep up with customers’ ever-changing requirements for content and connectivity anywhere, anytime.

Also discussed during the panel were new and disruptive technologies, products and services that have forever altered our networks and business models; these included:

The cloud and its demand for dynamic bandwidth driven by data-hungry applications

IPX and its role in providing reliability to enhancing LTE roaming and Quality of Experience (QoE) to better serve OTT and mobile customers – Orange’s Alexandre Pébereau stated that there are over seven billion SIM cards across the globe and that carriers are not just faced with simple challenge of providing connectivity anymore, but also 100% reliability, capacity and interoperability

SDN technology and its ability to monetise Big Data by transforming crude data into business intelligence

The Internet of Things, which is compelling carriers to take more risks and change operational models, as well as opening up the industry to other verticals that will eventually begin to build their own ecosystems in order to effectively support a growing number of connected devices.

Participants agreed that innovation is a balancing act that puts equal importance on seamless internal evolution through creating a vision and strategies for both short and long-term growth, coupled with the carriers’ ability to focus on their core strengths, turn-up services quickly and efficiently and build effective partnerships with other vendors and customers.

According to the panellists, innovation can drive rampant expansion, consolidation, globalisation and constant change; it may also require the carrier community to take risks and transform operational models.

However, one thing is certain: it is unstoppable. The successful carriers will be the ones that not only keep up, but also encourage and drive innovation within the marketplace.

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