TM Forum Conference: Inspiring the Telco World

People at a conference

This year was my (and Maplewave’s) first venture to TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World event in Nice, France.

Having only recently become a member of the TM Forum community, our group wasn’t quite sure what to expect. We’d been to trade shows, innovation shows, and vendor shows – but even before we arrived, TM Forum seemed different. This collection of Telcos and partners from around the world, collaborating together to improve their businesses, was truly unique.

These are my top three takeaways from this year’s conference, and why I’m sure I’ll be back.

AI: The Future of Automation and Machine Learning

Walking the floor and listening to the Keynotes, it was hard to have a conversation or visit a booth that did not somehow involve AI and the different ways Telcos were using clever code to automate and improve their business.

From smart cities, to automated chat bots helping customers with their issues, to autonomous robots greeting customers as they entered a retail store – it was clear that the next year will be all about AI.

As much of a buzzword as Artificial Intelligence is these days in the tech industry, these companies were showing real world, practical uses for AI. The future is bright here as big data continues to grow, and machine learning does more with all that data. The true challenge here will be matching the acceleration of big data and AI against the growing concern over privacy and the proper treatment of people’s personal information.

Open: The Future for All

If I had to pick an overarching theme from the conference, it would be openness. This was evident in discussions about new and innovative ways to transform aging Telco infrastructure and processes by taking advantage of an increasingly digital world.

Members were collaborating, contributing and discussing a shared set of APIs, data models and business processes for the betterment of all member companies.

Seemingly gone are the days of proprietary infrastructure and integrations. In the new emerging world full of IoT devices that are manufactured and distributed by thousands of different companies from across the world – being closed off is a death sentence.

Catalysts: Incubated Innovation for the Benefit of All

The most surprising and exciting portion of the show for me was the Catalyst exhibitions. Seeing different companies come together to collaborate on specific shared issues for the betterment of all was truly inspiring. They pulled skills and expertise from a myriad of different companies (in a seemingly impossible short amount of time) to create truly unique proof of concepts that will change Telco well into the future.

To all the Catalyst projects that were on display this year – you are truly inspiring, and I cannot wait For Maplewave to join you at future events.

As I write this, I am flying over the mid-Atlantic on my way back to Canada. I can’t wait to get back to our teams in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I’m excited to start the conversation about Catalyst, explore how we might participate, reinforce why our company joined the TM Forum community, and to continue to contribute back to that same community who has inspired us.

For anyone reading this who also attended this year, I would love to hear about your experiences at this event.

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