Walking round MWC, there’s no doubt that the busiest area of the event is CLOUD CITY. That’s understandable – it created a huge amount of pre-show buzz and much of that was predicated on a message that the new thing was here, it was here to stay and the old world better move.
But the truth in CLOUD CITY is much more nuanced than that.
Outside of CLOUD CITY today, I took part in a GSMA panel debate with media and analysts looking at what the new things are for MWC – what’s interesting and worthwhile, how MWC is changing and how the next event might look. The panel also looked at how telcos and operators have responded to the pandemic and now the emerging (we hope) post-pandemic world. What are the opportunities emerging for telcos, where are they sstill challenged?
I did the event as TMN editor. But this week I am also proud to be CLOUD CITY NEWS editor, and the panel discussion topics cut right across and into what CLOUD CITY is about.
My takeaway today is not that CLOUD CITY is sitting in a corner of MWC lobbing grenades at traditional telco-land – but that it wants to bring traditional telco land with it. In the Cloud City Live sessions, for example, Zephyrtel’s Michael Speranza said that he wanted to explain to telcos the benefits they get by engaging with software designed for the public cloud. TelcoDR’s DR, massive public cloud evangelist that she is, also wants to open eyes to the possibilities. And many are indeed engaging. I noted that Nokia – one of the supposed old guard – provided a speaker in the programme and recently announced its 5G SA Core for Dish will be on AWS. It’s not a binary discussion – them and us.
So – back to the ying and the yang. Demos on the floor and the conference sessions are focussed on key challenges that also arose in the panel: how do operators do the network slicing, the automated operations, extend services from cloud platforms, onboard partner apps and let enterprises slice their own? How do they do all that with the aim of transforming the world of work and business, to be more green, more efficient, more useful and more profitable? Well, one part of it is they can take advantage of platforms that have already transformed industries.
CLOUD CITY is not saying that the hyperscalers are here to eat everything and operators and their existing vendors are done. It is saying that silicon advances, and Open APIs, and existing code bases that the hyperscalers continuously develop can transform performance and abstract away much of the deployment complexity and cost for operators – and they can get the benefits of it – if they engage with it, as many of their existing suppliers are.
CLOUD CITY is here to explain how to engage with it, and why – with the understanding that the when is… now! And that, after all the noise and bombast, is my Day One take-away.