Key Takeaways from ITW 2018

This past week, Connected2Fiber attended International Telecoms Week in Chicago. The conference was a huge success, drawing over 7,000 telecom professionals to network, collaborate, and learn about the latest technologies and trends that are shaping the future of the industry.

At the exhibition, we had a chance to meet with clients, as well as key players and influencers in the industry. Our Founder and CEO, Ben Edmond sat down for an interview with Paula Zimmerman, Managing Editor of Pipeline Magazine. It was an exciting environment to be a part of, as wholesale providers continue to seek innovative ways to embrace digital transformation and expand their reach using near-net and off-net resources.

Key Takeaways from ITW 2018Over the three-day event, there were numerous keynotes and round-table sessions offering advice and input on the major changes affecting wholesale providers today. One standout was Digital and the Growth Opportunity for NSPs, which addressed how NSPs must adjust legacy core-based operations, moving data to the edge in order to scale, as well as how to adjust to changing bandwidth demands.

Other major conversations examined what carriers need to do to respond to the anticipated continued growth of IoT devices, including how to ensure maximum ROI for wholesale carriers, and the important role that partnerships will play in creating value for digital enterprises.

Before heading to ITW 2018, we identified four core topics we expected to dominate the conversation. These included, SD-WAN, move to the edge, 5G, and digital transformation. Based on the conversations and presentations at the conference, here are some of the key ways these trends manifested themselves at the show and in real-world use cases.

  • The Importance of PartnershipsThe idea of moving to the edge, or moving content out of large, isolated data centers and closer to actual end users through many nodes distributed throughout a geographic area, offers the ability for network operators enhance speed and performance for users. This theme was explored during the session “Enabling Content on the African Continent.”Much of the content accessed by African networks is hosted outside of the continent, which leads to higher costs, latency, and overall poorer user experience for consumers. As network operators seek to expand their capabilities in Africa to move content closer to these users, there are many questions surrounding what kind of infrastructure is needed to make this a reality as no single provider has connectivity everywhere.

    While at ITW, the importance of leveraging partnerships to drive value and enhance performance at the edge was demonstrated by an announcement from Liquid Telecom and China Telecom Global, as they revealed a partnership that will allow the two providers to serve African and Asian markets with extended connectivity and services. This partnership demonstrates how operators are taking action to participate in the digital economy, leveraging partner networks to deliver content at the edge.

  • Providing Value in Addition to ConnectivityDuring the session on messaging and SMS networks, presenter Dimitris Rokos noted that ROI for providers will continue to decrease if they are only providing connectivity and not any value-added services. This need to add value to connectivity ties back to all four of the themes we identified for ITW 2018.5G, SD-WAN, move to the edge, and digital transformation are focused on enhancing performance and offerings to meet the needs of digital enterprises to extend network reach. SD-WAN is a great example of this as operators leverage partner networks to be able to provide connected wide area networks across locations, especially as it becomes the preferred solution over MPLS.
  • Modernizing Legacy OperationsAs digital transformation continues to pervade every industry, the modernization and digitization of operations is top of mind. This is certainly true in telecom, which is clearly evidenced by the trend of moving to the edge, taking content and data out of traditional, isolated data centers. However, this was also spoken about at ITW in relation to blockchain technology.Telecoms are evaluating the ways in which blockchain might modernize their operations, as well as provide opportunities to increase revenue. Specifically, blockchain is being considered by wholesale providers as a way to manage partner relationships and contracts, with presenter Shahar Steiff noting that blockchain can add a level of security to relationships with non-trusting partners – providing the opportunity to expand reach.

Final Thoughts Connected2Fiber can provide value as telecom providers seek to harness trends and technologies into expanded reach, partnerships, and serviceability. Connected2Fiber provides data-driven, location-based intelligence with competitive insight to strategically position network providers for opportunities in real time when they arise.

If you didn’t get a chance to meet us at ITW 2018, book a demo today.

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