Collaboration is key for ‘universal right’ of connectivity, ITW panel says

Collaboration is key for ‘universal right’ of connectivity, ITW panel says

ITW Panel

Collaboration across industries in telecommunications is integral in providing the “universal right” of connectivity, Keri Gilder, CEO at Colt Technologies says.

Speaking at the first ITW 2022 panel, “A Reimagined Purpose for Telecoms”, Gilder says the telecoms industry must hold itself accountable to provide connectivity for all people.

“This is so we can look like one network, one community and one industry rather than independent companies that are trying to maintain control of a commercial environment that no longer exists,” she said.

The panel was mediated by Sam Evans, senior managing director at Delta Partners and alongside Gilder, they were joined by Emmanuel Rochas, CEO of Orange International Carriers, Staffan Göjeryd, CEO of Arelion and Eric Cevis, president of global wholesale at Verizon Partner Solutions.

Gilder acknowledged while there are some “amazing” collaborations taking place already in telecoms, she thinks that taking these relationships to scale is a weakness that the industry must address.

“What we haven’t been able to do is scale our operating models to collaborate and create the monetisation and value that’s required for us to enable a sustainable industry and that requires more collaboration,” she says.

Gilder believes this is the logical next step if carriers are to balance the power position of communications operators with hyperscalers.

Diversifying services

Alongside increasing collaboration, the panel agreed it is important for enterprises to diversify services across industries in order to maximise revenue opportunities.

This is something that has become even more important in a post-COVID environment.

“How do we take advantage of [working from home] and look for new sources of revenue – whether its video conferencing, security or another big play for us in this particular space?” Cevis asked.

He points to the IoT industry as an example, which grew 22.4% to US$157.9 billion in 2021 according to IoT Analytics – and he believes that carriers could become more involved in such segments to increase revenue opportunities.

He notes that there are various use cases across industries such as agriculture, manufacturing and retail that could use support from the telecoms industry – but these solutions are yet to be discovered.

The speakers were in agreement that in order to thrive, it is essential that the telecoms industry must become “more attractive to new talent”.

Cevis said that it is important to transform the industry and “leverage relevance” in order to increase the overall value of the industry.

But while there is much focus on attracting new talent, Orange and Rochas are taking a different approach.

“We know that many companies are increasing their efforts in acquiring new talent but not that much on developing existing the talents of existing people,” he says.

Such is the importance of developing employee skills, Rochas said Orange has committed to investing €1.5 billion to a skills enhancement programme aimed at training its employees in several areas including AI, cybersecurity and the cloud.