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Telecom Looks at the Big Picture

Ray Le Maistre

Fear, doubt and uncertainty abound in the telecom sector like never before. Pretty much every part of the communications networking services and technology sector is looking over its shoulder at something threatening, whether it be new services rivals (such as the OTT players) or new technology practices (particularly around virtualization) that don't conform to the tried and tested ways of the telecom sector.

One option is to ignore the upheaval and hope for the best. Do that, though, and the service providers and vendors facing major challenges today will implode, crushed by external forces and internal fighting. So that's not an option -- unless, of course, a slow and painful demise is your bag.

The alternative, of course, is to embrace change and build something new and better from the emerging business models and technologies that are emerging. That's why Light Reading has organized its Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago (June 17-18), to address the challenges facing all sorts of industry players.

The tagline for the event is "Next-gen tech meets business logic" because what we're aiming for is an event that brings the industry's creative forces together to figure out how to embrace change and create new opportunities to build successful businesses that make sense in the second decade of the 21st century. A key part of that process is networking and sharing, and we'll be encouraging as much of that as possible at BTE.

Some of the questions we'll be asking and topics we'll be covering include:

  • What role will SDN play in telecom networks?
  • Will NFV make network operators' lives easier or more complex?
  • How can a hybrid traditional/virtual network be provisioned and managed?
  • Does telecom need a new breed of carrier-grade server?
  • What does a world of connected cars mean for telecom?
  • Can networks survive the 4G data tsunami?
  • How can high-quality video traffic be delivered profitably?
  • Have the OTT players already won?
  • What the *&#* is the Internet of Things? Am I a thing?
  • Is "telecom innovation" an oxymoron?
  • What does a telco data center look like?
  • Can we have Yang without the Yin?
  • Should I care about 5G before the year 2020?
  • Will small cells mean big business?
  • Is an open standard a standard? And who needs to be trained on API development?
  • How valuable are clouds without high-specification next-gen networks to connect them?
  • Has Brazil already won the World Cup? (Conspiracy theory alert.)

If we answer any of the above questions during BTE (apart from the last one, sadly) then we'll have taken a decent step forwards. Of course, there are thousands of other questions to be answered too. If you're at BTE, be sure to ask them.

You can check out the full agenda for BTE (including an afternoon of pre-conference workshops on Monday June 16) at the Big Telecom Event website -- there are too many amazing presenters and panel sessions to even begin to mention here.

Light Reading will, of course, be there in force and reporting on what's happening at the event. All our coverage from the show, including our pre-BTE coverage and post-event analysis, can be found at our dedicated BTE industry show news site.

You can also check out what's happening on Twitter with the hashtag #BTE2014.

If you're heading to BTE, then see you there (and maybe in the Billy Goat Tavern, or a sports bar showing the World Cup games, over the weekend). If you're not going, then check out the show site to see what you're missing. I can guarantee there will be news and views revealed during BTE that will change the course of this industry -- don't miss out.

— Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
6/25/2014 | 5:31:29 AM
Re: Here’s the good news
I love the fact that telecom is looking to improve its brand. Telecom has recognized that there is competition and it is a good thing that they are planning on improving there brand name by actually looking at the big picture. The questions that they are asking themselves are very ideal. The SDN for example should be able to play in the telecom networks without any problem and on the other hand the NFV should be able to make the operators work much easier due to its efficiency.
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 12:08:27 PM
Re: Here's the good news....
LOL, I never would have thought you were...

I agree though, more questions can be answered. I do not doubt that BTE will provide several answers. But given the state of the industry today, I am pretty much confident that there will be several answers per individual question.

So let me clarify my point -- yes, questions will be answered, but we are still far (months? years?) away from a converged, unified view of how SDN/NFV should develop and what they mean for a telecom / network operator.

So in a month's time, only one of the above questions will be answered unanimously. (Apart from you being a thing...)

User Rank: Blogger
6/16/2014 | 10:29:21 AM
Re: Here's the good news....
And I can confirm, I am a thing. 
User Rank: Blogger
6/16/2014 | 10:28:25 AM
Re: Here's the good news....
I understand where you're coming from, but I think we may be a little further forward than that... 


I would suggest we pretty much already have the answer to the final two questions -- Brazil will win, to help avoid a political meltdown, and it is increasingly obvious that any cloud is of decreasing value without a robust WAN connection that isn't simply best effort. Cloud demand will be the savior of some telcos, I think and if Level 3 pulls of its acquisition of tw telecom it will be very weel placed to benefeit from cloud service demand in the US, as it will be able to offer SLAs against cloud connectivity in  a large number of markets with solid services and good operational capabilities.
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/16/2014 | 3:03:41 AM
Re: Here's the good news....
In a month's time, only one of the above questions will be answered...

The last one, that is.

Kevin Mitchell
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Light Sabre
6/13/2014 | 3:37:15 PM
What the *&#* is the Internet of Things? Am I a thing?
That's one of my favorite questions of all time
User Rank: Blogger
6/13/2014 | 9:44:34 AM
Here's the good news....
Six months ago I think most of these questions were hard for the industry to answer.

Now, though, I think there is greater clarity, or at least some semblance of where the answers might be found.

Obviously this is a long-term process and some companies won't be around to find out the answers -- those that will make it will be those that aggressively pursue the answers and then ACT on them. 
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