A Slice of TADSummit: Telco Innovation

In this series of weblogs, A Slice of TADSummit, we review some of the important themes from TADSummit EMEA Americas 2020. This slice focuses on Telco Innovation.

Thank you to all the presenters and our sponsors: Automat BerlinGoContactRadisys, and Sangoma for making TADSummit possible.

Telco innovation is tough, its the innovator’s dilemma writ large. I recently reviewed an industry-insider initiative “Accelerating Innovation in the Telecommunications Arena” which perpetuates failures I’ve witnessed over the past two decades. TADSummit brings the external innovation to break through the culture barrier and address the innovator’s dilemma. This is a long weblog because its packed with telco innovation successes that every telco should consider today, as they will deliver results in 2021.
Keynote: Helping Carriers Win More Enterprise Business in a post-COVID-19 World. João Camarate Silva, Founder & CTO at GoContact

I really like the positioning of GoContact, with its feet firmly planted in telecoms yet its head is in the clouds, it’s a CCaaS provider.

The framing of what customers are looking for in an expert in the solution, not the infrastructure is critical. Then highlighting the up to 10X multiple Twilio gets from a phone call simply by adding an API is a great example of the untapped potential of PSTN communications.
Telcos have their strengths in enterprise customer access with a brand that is trusted because of its longevity and local (national) focus, and the infrastructure to support layer 2/3 connectivity requirements. GoContact’s strategy is working with telcos as a go-to-market partner.

And they are delivering, working with NOS in Portugal, Orange and Másmóvil in Spain. With NOS, in the first year of the partnership they delivered 20 projects, and have grown rapidly from there. This strategic partnership model works. Each focuses on their strengths to deliver telco innovation.

Keynote: A Random Walk down Communications as a Service Street. Jim Machi, SVP Marketing, Sangoma

Jim maps Sangoma’s offer to the needs of MSPs / ILECs (Managed Service Providers / Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier). This is a valuable relationship, in delivering Sangoma’s ‘soup to nuts’ enterprise communications through a channel partner, which has an existing relationship with mid-market companies that are notoriously hard / expensive to reach.

Keynote: Gamifying the User’s Journey and the CSPs Service Offering. Adnan Saleem, CTO Software and Cloud Solutions, Radisys

Radisys has recently collaborated with the TM Forum to deliver a project, called ‘Ready Telco One’ (led by Orange Group, Orange Poland, KDDI, and solution vendors) that demonstrates how telecom operators can gamify user journeys in various applications in health and fitness, live events, education and learning, entertainment and marketing campaigns to name a few. This presentation focuses on how Radisys was able to streamline live AR/VR multimedia interactions with a robust media server platform (User Interaction Delivery Engine) for hyper-personalized, real-time customer engagement.

How will legacy enterprise communications adapt to programmable communications? Thomas Howe, Chief Technology Officer at VHT

All telcos should review this important strategic thought-leadership work. As Telcos consider APIs, they must evolve beyond the atomic communication actions and into conversations and sessions. They do not have the Scorpion DNA of social media, so can be aligned with customers. Programmable communications is not a closed book for telcos, but they must do more than be yet another CPaaS.

Cloud Native Function for 5G success. Grzegorz Sikora, Business Development at OVOO

Greg provided an introduction to OVOO and the blueprint they use for cloud native, which he presented last year at TADSummit EMEA 2019. For this session OVOO builds on the CNCF (Cloud Native Computing Foundation) webinar demo, the step by step migration from VNF (Virtual Network Function) to CNF (Cloud Network Function) for a messaging gateway (one of OVOO’s products).

Open Banking…Energy…Telecom. Miles Cheetham, Developing the data infrastructure to help deliver a net-zero future

Last year Miles gave an excellent presentation at TADSummit EMEA 2019 on challenges and opportunities facing the banking industry, while he was Head of Propositions at OPEN BANKING. In this presentation he reviews the success of open banking, with 273 new providers (think 3rd party developers) with over 2 million customers. I’m a fan of what Miles has achieved in Open Banking as a template for open telecoms.

Programmable Telecoms inside a Telco. Jesus Cruz Manjavacas, VAS Development Expert at PLAY

I love the recommendations, and repeat them here:

  • APIs facilitates R&D and new services ideas
  • Having our own solution provides us with elasticity, adding more functionalities depending on business needs.
  • If there are no standards, better to design your own API model
  • Confirmation that Open Source is worth it, we have to support the community back
  • Experienced suppliers, specially in telco, is a blessing

Telcos can innovate themselves, with the right partners. There’s no need to resell a BABS (Bay Area BS) brand with thin margin and inevitable marginalization over time.

A Geolocation API. Fernando Mendioroz, CTO at PAiC Business Development

Fernando provides a review of the products available from PAiC Business Development: Extended Signaling Gateway, Extended GMLC (Gateway Mobile Location Centre, and the focus of this presentation), Extended DRA (Diameter Routing Agent), mCommerce platform, Extended SDP (Service Delivery Platform, and part of the demo given), Extended SMSC, Extended USSD gateway, and lots of custom services and integrations.

Then provides an extensive list of use cases carriers can consider, many of which significantly benefit from the extended GMLC’s capabilities. And finishes by showing the detailed signalling flows for an interesting 911 use cases, which wraps up with a live demo.

The importance of cloud-native core services in a Telco World. Carsten Bock, Managing Director CTO, ng-voice GmbH

Carsten provides an excellent review of the current situation facing telcos and the trend towards cloud. With some useful quantification on the benefits of containerization.

The two deployment examples Carsten reviews of scaling voice and HSS (Home Subscriber Server) are very interesting. Highlighting the importance of DevOps, the challenges with voice, and making the case for why you need to scale each interface of a HSS independently (micro-services). Which is all backed up by ng-voices extensive IMS core deployment experiences.
Carsten is making the benefits of cloud native we heard from leaders like GoContact and Simwood at TADSummit available to all telcos today.

The challenges of creating a multi sided marketplace platform for telecom enabled products. Marius Waldum, Head of Product at Working Group Two

It’s still early days with WG2’s ecosystem. IdeaMart in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh show such ecosystems do work, and make money for developers. We’ve reviewed their success at TADSummit over the years, including TADSummit Asia in 2019 and 2020.

Voicebox was submitted as a showcase for TADHack Global 2020, and in the Norway/Sweden playlist you can also see another showcase from Vimla!

I think the timing of WG2 is interesting. Most of the traditional telco vendors have walked away from service innovation. Its simplified core is a no-brainer for most MVNOs, private network integrators, and IoT service providers. And as an adjunct core to larger telcos who want to iterate faster and at much lower cost.