ORLANDO, FL—Enriching digital services was one of the main hot topics during the keynote session on the first day of the TM Forum—Management World Americas being held in Orlando this week (check out all pieces and see our videos). “The digital economy is here, and we have to know how to take advantage of it,” said Martin Creaner, president and chief executive officer at TM Forum, reminding the audience that Telefónica took a step in this direction last year with the creation of its digital unit.
As background, Creaner said that the move toward mobility, the digitalization of everything, the shift in the global economic center gravity, the infinite bandwidth problem, low barriers to entry and new market structure are killers in the next age of this industry.
During his speech, Creaner set communication and cloud infrastructure providers at the bottom layer with layers above for service creation, provision and retail. “This fast moving industry requires interfacing between layers,” Creaner said.
While digital services are key to bringing carriers new revenues, there are also many challenges including regulation (especially in areas such as eHealth), standardization, interoperability, complexity and integration. “There should be less integration as necessary,” said Nik Willetts, TM Forum’s chief strategy officer, during a press conference.
Willetts said that TM Forum has provided a framework of best practices and standards focused on helping content service providers (CSPs) improve key operational competency areas, such as cyber-security, customer experience, revenue management, data analytics and more.
“It is a massive change for CSPs. They need to rethink their business, identify challenges and address them,” explained Willetts, adding that the speed to integrate new services, enabling billing and integration with BSS and OSS, is the most difficult issue.
In spite of the complexity, telecom operators seem to be moving in this direction. Also speaking at the TM Forum event, Fari Ebrahimi, SVP and CIO at Verizon Communications, said the carrier sees cloud and machine-to-machine services as high priorities and game changers. During his speech, Ebrahimi also included digital services when he outlined Verizon’s priority areas for investment.