Event News

FutureNet World London 2024: Preview by Appledore Research

Contributed by Robert Curran, Consulting Analyst, Appledore Research

It’s just a few weeks to FutureNet World, the telecom software community’s largest dedicated, independent event. And Giles and the team have again assembled an impressive set of speakers, against a coherent and compelling agenda.

Monetization is a key topic for telcos, and it’s good to see it getting top billing in what has historically been defined as a network software event. It’s a sign of both how perceptions are changing for what network software is there to do, and also of what telcos really want to focus on.

The opening CxO panel is straight into the heart of the matter: for all telecom’s talk about transformation, reinvention, redefinition, how much evidence of progress is there? Three people who hopefully have some good news to report are Howard Watson, Group CTO of BT, Laurent Leboucher, Group CTO for Orange, and Vodafone UK’s Chief Network Officer, Andrea Dona. And since we keep being told the key to progress is greater collaboration, it will be good to hear an perspective from the vendor side – in this case, Joe Cumello, GM of Ciena’s Blue Planet division.

Then following the money, the program moves onto the Enterprise, an incremental market opportunity for telcos that Appledore has valued at $100bn – conditional on them making some changes and investments in new capabilities…Let’s see if Greg McCall (BT), Mallik Rao (Telefonica Germany) or Iain Milligan (Three UK) have a clear action plan proportionate to the opportunity. This session also features the newly installed head of Amdocs Networks division, Oleg Volpin, so should include some fresh perspectives.

The success of FutureNet World has meant the need to bring in parallel tracks, the first focusing on 5G and monetization, the second on Operations and AI. Strong speakers in both tracks, including Telenor’s Head of Network and Cloud Technology Strategy Terje Jensen, and Tanja Richter, Chief Network Officer for Vodafone Germany.

In AI, we’d expect the FutureNet community of speakers and audience to rebalance the chatbot/customer service/BSS narrative that was prominent in much of the GenAI blur at MWC, and the agenda reflects this, with senior speakers from Deutsche Telekom, Liberty Global and Telefonica all talking AI with networks focus. Sponsor CelFocus follows up with a GenAI in Network Operations presentation that should be instructive.

Join Robert and the Appledore Research team at FutureNet World

Bridging the operational use of AI with business value is the focus of a session moderated by Appledore’s own Patrick Kelly, featuring Telus, Tele2, Colt and Netcracker.

The commercial/technical split between tracks continues with parallel sessions on Network as a Service/APIs, and a look at how data is enhancing operational models. Deutsche Telekom’s Peter Arbitter has a valuable perspective on network APIs now that DT is actively offering some commercially, via its MagentaBusinessAPI unit.

Of course, there are many returning names on the program, but it’s good to see some new speakers (and interesting job titles!) in the FutureNet context: Sab Sabesan, Mobile Core Director, BT; Rudolf Strijkers, Lead Architect at long-term progressive telco Swisscom (who recently bought Vodafone Italy). Mike Thompson (heads up Nokia’s Global Network Automation Practice) Or Mabel Pous Fenollar, Global Head of Digital and Zero Touch Operations, Vodafone.

The Day 2 agenda further explores the link between network automation, AI and business value. Since it’s rare to see a telco COO within a technology-led agenda, it’s all the more welcome to see Tony Geheran from Telus here. Tony will also give some insights on Telus’ telco-to-techco journey. For a couple of decades, Telus has been credited with championing progressive approaches and technologies, so it will be good to hear how this has shaped the company’s commercial outlook.

Another coup for FutureNet World is securing Adam Koeppe, Verizon Wireless SVP Technology Strategy, Architecture and Planning. Adam is presenting a case study (!) on becoming a cloud-native telco. In a parallel case study, Swisscom’s Mark Duesener will share Swisscom’s journey towards 5G autonomous operations.

Automation provides the theme for many of the Day 2 presentations. But with FutureNet still the home of progressive ideas, the program finds time for sessions on Open RAN, intent-driven networks, and sustainability.

Appledore’s Patrick Kelly will present on “Next Generation orchestration and assurance in cloud 5G and Open RAN”, and Francis Haysom will host the Day 2 discussion on Open RAN.

The event wraps up with Network Automation and AI from the Linux Foundation’s Arpit Joshipura, and “NaaS: a Generational Shift in Technology” from BT Global CTO, Colin Bannon.

FutureNet World provides plenty of opportunity for meaningful showfloor discussion, too. With such an impressive list of speakers and topics, it makes for a perfect opportunity to engage with the community that shares a common purpose in network automation and – ultimately –becoming better telecom businesses. Appledore strongly recommends attending FutureNet World to anyone that shares these goals.

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