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WebRTC and IoT are Telecom Operator Friends Not Foes, Says Italtel

June 04, 2015

TM Forum Live! is wrapping up in Nice, France and the annual gathering of the OSS/BSS community has been the source of some interesting food for thought. Between the Catalysts that put the spotlight on how service providers can leverage SDN and NFV, to deep dives on various engineering challenges and insights concerning the future of networks and how to get there from here, it was nice to be in Nice.

However, TM Forum was not just all about the nuts and bolts of what I like to call “Infostructure.”  In fact, Chief Marketing and Technology Officer Federico Descalzo of network design and implementation specialists Italtel stirred things up with his observations about the need for service providers to move quickly and act smartly if they are to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to create new opportunities for real-time communication.

During his TM Forum Live! Speech, Descalzo made a few significant points that were in many ways a service provider call to action.  Noting the realities of the communication industry’s transformation from one dominated by traditional telecoms services to real-time communications being an application within a service (i.e., WebRTC)  he pointed out that operators have the opportunity to be major, if not dominant, participants in what is going to be a very large market.

“In order to achieve success in this area, telcos must consider two factors,” said Descalzo. “The first is what is the most valuable, and therefore most lucrative, service they can offer and the second is are their networks and processes equipped to deal with the dramatic change IoT and WebRTC will no doubt bring.”

In terms of services, Descalzo continued saying that providing a gateway between Over-the-Top (OTT) applications and the legacy network is perhaps the most immediate and worthwhile service which operators can offer. He also noted that moving from exploitation to exploration requires a dramatic cultural change. And, expounding on a theme that has become dominant in terms of looking at ICT transformation in general, he stated that the ability to develop communication ecosystems and the identification of the reusable assets appealing accelerators in the transformation towards the digitalized world will be critical. 

Image via Shutterstock

This observation does highlight the realities of what can best be described as “the battle of the ecosystems.”  It manifests itself in the form of the major communications industry restructuring going on globally right now on the M&A front, along with a series of alliances and partnerships.  The decision by Facebook to join TM Forum this past week is a good example of the latter.  

At another session, Francesco Sferlazza, Head of Agile Innovation Lab at Italtel, explained the second element which operators must take into account.

“SDN & NFV are replacing legacy hardware with software. Operators can actually leverage on Agile & DevOps. This will require a new mindset, a cultural change, a new organizational model,” he said. “Agile & DevOps are all about to lower the cost of future change with the ability to adapt now being a key performance indicator for telcos.”

Italtel, as a company that works with many of the largest service providers around the world, has a unique observation post as to where opportunities lie for their clientele and what the path is to optimize them.  As noted, their views on service providers seeing IoT and WebRTC as opportunities rather than threats should be taken as a call to action and one that has more than a little sense of urgency attached.   

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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