MWC 2017 Days 3 and 4 – Seven Trends and a Missing Link

10 Mar, 2017 | News

MWC 2017 kept the same pace as it started. Fast and Superlative.

For those who were not there, some facts to provide the overall idea:

108,000 attendees from 208 countries and territories, and over 2,300 exhibitors. The most important infrastructure, application, software, devices were represented there. Ericsson and Huawei, for instance, had their own exhibition. And of course, CSPs were showing their new strategies and face to the market. Regarding the conference, it took place in four locations simultaneously, hosting strategic, innovation and technical sessions.

Summarizing all that, one could perceive the following trends:

1) Infrastructure

  • Software defined Networks and virtualized infrastructure will set the pace for new investments, providing the flexibility and agility required.
  • Integration between traditional network infrastructure and IT will therefore increase.
  • Howerver, legacy systems are not being decommissioned, so the environment will remain heterogeneous.

2) 5G

  • Is still a solution looking for a problem. Technology is promising and evolving, but the use cases are still exploratory (VR/AR,360o video, specific IOT use cases).

3) Market

  • CSPs started for real to engage in new lines of business. You can still see different approaches, exploring, for instance, IoT, applications or the integration with Content, enabling combo offerings and synergy (content business helps monetize the connectivity)
  • However, since they are still exploring the potential revenue of the new lines of business, CSPs are eager for innovation.
  • For further information on this topic, see the article “MWC – From Denial to Rebirth

4) Most disruptive technologies

  • The real disruption in MWC 2017 is Cognition and AI
  • It is not a new technology, but with the recent products and platforms by companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Amazon, it is now usable and effective.
  • The application of these technologies, altogether with analytics and automation capabilities, is changing the landscape. Again.
  • The disruption affects the organizations, what they create and how. And the ability to apply these technology to solve the real problems may be a differentiator.

5) IoT

  • IoT is no longer only a trend. It is a reality, and the expression of IoEverything is already being applied.
  • IoT is not only a technology or an application. It is a new concept driving the evolution of industries: automotive, beauty, home, security, agriculture, CPG, personal gadgets, etc.
  • MWC 2017 showed also a trend, with the further integration between IoT and Cognition, where devices are becoming not only connected, but also Smart.

6) Digital Transformation

  • IT market has been talking about Digital Transformation for some time, but CSPs embraced it definitely at MWC 2017.
  • It is very much focused on the Customer Journey and Experience, the personalization (based on historical and geolocated data), and how easy to do business with.

7) Operations

  • Network Analytics: application of analytics and machine learning on network monitoring and repair is gaining visibility.
  • The differentiation of the CSPs will no longer come from the network, but from Software. Software on the infrastructure level (e.g. SDN), but also Software Applications that should provide quality, flexibility and agility in the evolution of the services.
  • This will require a new type of professionals.

The missing link

Considering all these aspects widely discussed along the conference and show floor, in my opinion one aspect was neglected in MWC 2017:

How will the Operations evolve to support all these new trends, businesses, use cases and demands?

The Digital Transformation must also be applied to the CSPs overall operations, with the application of the same capabilities and concepts: Cognition and AI, analytics, automation, IoT, software as differentiator. Some discussions provided quick references to it, but without this internal transformation, CSPs will still struggle to provide a real digital experience to customers; and, therefore, be able to reverse the bad reputation the industry has gained.

Again, MWC 2017 was a great experience, in terms of networking, learning, exchanging ideas, understanding the industry. And, of course, having fun. After all, it is Barcelona.

Looking forward to the 2017 execution, and to MWC 2018.

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