Operators, regulators and other stakeholders in the telecommunications industry were exposed to a number of leading solutions to facilitate the digital transformation of their operations at CANTO’s 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held virtually on February 10th-11th, 2022.
Among the leading offerings were solutions to revolutionise telecomm operators’ Operations Support Systems (OSS) and Business Support Systems (BSS) functions. IntegraTouch, a Full-Service technology provider with its Integrated Revenue and Customer Management (IRCM) BSS/OSS solution, Symphony, along with their Systems Integration and Managed Services offerings, are experts at delivering agility and transformative experiences for both the Telecomm Operators and the Operator’s customers’.
Discussing a Digital Transformation Roadmap, Mr. Kevin Maag, Chief Executive Officer at IntegraTouch, indicated the time is now for Operators to take a quantum leap forward in their transformation efforts! As the 2021 winner of the Best Innovation Award at the Digital Transformation World Series this past fall, Mr. Maag spoke of the need for collaboration within the CANTO region in enabling transformation. He related how the Covid Pandemic eschewed the need for Collaboration between Operators, Regulatory, and Partners by becoming Data Driven organizations while sharing data to assist in intelligent pandemic related decision-making. Mr Maag demonstrated a real-world example of such collaboration and associated visibility. The connection Mr. Maag made between Transformation and Collaboration across the region was quite astounding!
Telecomm operators are investing heavily in upgrading their network infrastructure to 4G/5G standards, enabling much faster wireless data bit rates. Mr. Maag indicated these investments will spur innovative ‘over the top (OTT)’ services. Telecomm Operators must be Agile in quickly enabling the availability and accessibility of these new service offerings. Additionally, the Telecomm operators customers’ demand and expect more, needing access to their usage data analytics to aid them in their own transformation efforts. The operators must not only transform themselves, but they must also enable their customers’ transformation efforts! Mr. Maag explained how their Symphony Integrated Revenue and Customer Management BSS/OSS solution would allow operators to launch these new innovative services in weeks, rather than months or years at a far lower price point than the operators are accustomed to with their legacy BSS/OSS architectures! It’s easy when your BSS/OSS is natively integrated out of box, versus the traditional ‘best of breed’ approach that telecom operators had taken in the past. Mr. Maag encouraged the operators’ to explore integrated solutions such as their Symphony product for new ‘line of business (LOB), OTT service offerings or complete business unit or regional transformation. IntegraTouch is committed to working with CANTO and its members in enabling transformation across the region while delivering Agility, Cost Leadership and Differentiation in the marketplace!
Echoing Mr Maag’s position on data management was Mr Conor McGowan, CEO at Fireminds a data warehousing, cloud-computing and cybersecurity provider. Mr. McGown noted that telecomm operators must now actively assess data and apply the information gained to understand how the firm grows and competes as well as understand customer behaviours in order to improve customer experience and ultimately financial performance. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes in. Increasingly AI s being is being used in cloud-computing to aid business efficiency and strategy development. Mr McGowan noted that analysis of the business must not simply relate the past but predict future performance and AI is helping companies to manage data and look for patterns and insights that can improve customer offerings, workflows, leading to improved performance.
Fireminds also addressed another issue that arose as result of changing work arrangements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief Operating Officer, Mr Bob Noel, noted that cybersecurity has emerged as another area of heightened concern because of the increased number of individuals working remotely. Across the globe companies and governments sought to reduce rates of infection from the SARS COV 2 virus, by encouraging “work for home” arrangements. With this came new security implications as traditional cybersecurity tools and mechanisms were designed to protect users and assets that function in a set location. Cybersecurity had to evolve to cater for remote operations, with workers and assets situated away from designated work locations now accessing servers and networks via the internet. This, he said, requires a re-assessment of vulnerability and the development of new strategies to manage the evolving reality. Fireminds provides clients with gaps analyses and assessments and managed cybersecurity solutions in the new environment.
Adding to the cybersecurity discussion was Mr Jose De Abreu SE Director North America Carrier, Latin America and the Caribbean at A10 Networks Inc. He noted that cybersecurity needs to be a shared responsibility between cloud provider, the business protecting its network, and the telecomm operator providing connectivity. Individuals, for a small fee, can now gain access to a bot network (botnet) service to launch an attack against an organisation or government. Mr De Abreu advocated for multiple devices doing different functions, employed in a multi-layer approach to cybersecurity, given the existing threats. He also noted that there is a role for telecomm operators to provide a layer of security to their customers, a service that A10 Networks Inc. can work with telecomm operators to provide.
The 38th AGM also showcased solutions for the maritime sector. Sternula, a Danish firm building out the world’s first satellite network that picks up and transmits the radio interface VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) for the purpose of providing the maritime sector with a secure and inexpensive global connectivity solution called the Automatic Identification System 2.0 (AIS 2.0).
Mr Lars Moltsen, Founder & CEO at Sternula told CANTO’s 38th AGM that VDES is already being used in the maritime sector to support a collision avoidance tracking and messaging system. The inclusion of satellite technology now allows for the application of the AIS in new services: search and rescue; fleet monitoring and meteorological warnings. Mr Moltsen adds that the benefits are enormous including operational efficiency: automation, saving and simplification; better safety and protection solutions; and the enabling virtual aids to navigation. The solution is being allowed extra bandwidth on the radio spectrum which brings with it a thirty percent (30%) more data capacity. Ships can therefore, now have internet connectivity at sea, though not be via the traditional internet networks which are prone to cyber attacks and incidents.