What a difference a year makes. In 2013, when the TM Forum's annual Management World event returned to Nice, virtualization was, at best, a side topic. Next week, when then newly renamed TM Forum Live! revisits the Acropolis venue, virtualization in the form of SDN, NFV, and the cloud will dominate the discussion, occupying a full-day workshop and one of six event tracts.
There will be more than talk, however, as NFV also is the centerpiece of the TM Forum 's showcase of Catalyst demonstrations, real-world deployments that involve both service provider sponsors and vendors. One-third of the 15 Catalysts on display in Nice will be devoted to NFV and, in some cases, SDN as well. (See NFV Takes Center Stage for TM Forum.)
Updated information on the Forum's Zero-touch, Orchestration, Operations, and Management (ZOOM) project, launched earlier this year, will be featured in an all-day NFV workshop on the event's opening day Monday. (See TM Forum Tries ZOOMing to NFV.)
The significant attention being given to NFV reflects not only its importance to the telecom community but also the fact that virtualization in general is creating new network management challenges that the Forum, among others, is expected to address. What happens in Nice should be a strong indication of how successful the Forum has been in its recent efforts in this arena.
All the NFV attention doesn't mean that the Forum's push on digital services is taking a total back seat, however. In particular, the Internet of Things will get a lot of attention, with its own program tract and four Catalyst demos focused on smart energy, digital health, the connected workforce, and privacy issues.
The remaining six Catalysts fall into the realm of operational efficiency and business transformation. Those topics, along with big data and analytics, will also get their due attention in Nice. (See Amdocs Wants to Be Big in Carrier Big Data.)
New to TM Forum Live! this year will be the release of new guides for C-level telecom executives intended to provide direct guidance on how to manage the transition to digital services and associated business transformation. While always acknowledging the importance of C-level buy-in to major shifts within the network management and operations realm, the TM Forum hasn't always provided concrete tactics for top executives, says Nik Willetts, its chief strategy officer.
"We haven't always provided the C-suite guidance to making the fundamental shift to becoming an effective digital business," he concedes. That is now changing with the publication of a new "how-to" series of guides, starting with "Transforming to a digital business" and "Becoming an agile business."
The guides make their debut in Nice and are based on extensive interviews with top executives at TM Forum member organizations sharing practical advice on managing difficult periods of change from the top down.
Light Reading will be at the show in full force. Check back to our dedicated show site all week for the news, views, and NFV updates from the Acropolis.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading