The TM Forum Catalyst Program has always been a bit of a sleeping giant. It has been around a long time and has been growing in importance and popularity steadily, but this year the giant has awoken with a mighty roar.
It is easy to understand why. Catalysts are projects that set out to solve a problem/challenge or create a solution that will benefit not only the parties involved but the wider digital ecosystem too. They consist of one or more ‘champions’ — usually communications service providers or network operators, or increasingly parties such as smart cities, and a number of participants or ‘solvers’ — usually suppliers. These teams combine resources in a collaborative effort.
Ideally, the end result is made available to all the Catalyst players and TM Forum members. Some make it to the branded market for general use. The advantages of working with Catalysts is that, via TM Forum, companies with common issues are easily identified or notified of the Catalyst’s presence.
Events like Action Week, held in sunny Portugal last week, provide the ideal venue for Catalyst teams to get together, outline exactly what is required and allocate roles and processes so that the results can be demonstrated at TM Forum Live! in Nice in May. They also identify what TM Forum assets and APIs can be best utilized to get the result they are after.
But this year was different, very different! Over 40 Catalysts – more than double the usual number – vied for the attention of Champions and Participants amongst the 200 in attendance. In addition, they each had three minutes to present their case to all the attendees and eight members of the Collaboration Committee in the form of a ‘Dragons’ Den or Shark Tank scenario, at special sessions on the Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
And what a great job they did. It’s not easy to keep a full audience occupied for over an hour after a grueling day of hackathon and collaboration activities, but they did it in style. It was also a first chance for the Collaboration Committee to see what they will be judging for awards in the run-up to TM Forum Live!. And if the range of questions they asked is anything to go by, it’s not going to be an easy task.
Many of these projects are now underway and some of the Catalysts are still looking for participants. If you would like to be part of this groundbreaking set or would like to get a handle on the latest projects, take a look here.
In the run-up to TM Forum Live!, I will be taking a look at these Catalyst projects in more detail. Stay tuned.