From their origins as an industry forum for telcos, gathering together best practices for billing systems, the TM Forum has evolved to become an exciting community that leverages these platforms to enable digital transformation, increasingly for enterprise customers as well as telcos.
Thousands joined them in Nice this week for their annual conference, where strategies for the new Digital Economy was the headline theme. A vast array of presentations and workshops explored topics such as APIs and the Internet of Things, with vendors showcasing the solutions they offer for prosecuting these markets.
The event was kicked off with a keynote presentation from Facebook and the exciting news they have joined the forum to gain help for their Internet.org global campaign to connect the remaining two thirds of the world population.
They’re teaming up with 400 operators to achieve this connectivity, and also pioneering amazing innovations such as a 747-sized Internet drone that weighs on 400kg and can fly for 3 months:Acquila.
Internet of Things
The IoT was a key opportunity discussed in detail at the event, led by a keynote presentation from Michael Raynor of Deloitte, followed by a series of workshops covering all related aspects such as open standards and vendor technologies.
Dr Neil Pennington, Director of Innovation for npower discussed their strategies for smart metering scenarios and his future vision for the increasingly connected smart home, and how the organization is itself transforming to become more innovative, moving more to a fast-paced prototype and learn venturing approach rather than the traditional slow planning cycle. Example projects includepartnering with Nest.
BT, Bearing Point and Cloudsoft showcased one of the forums many ‘catalyst projects’, a vehicle for members to collaborate together and pioneer new innovative solutions. In this case they have developed a cloud-based smart city solution for Milton Keynes, where they installing sensors throughout all facets of the city to more intelligently automate processes from parking to bin collection.
Reference architecture for digital transformation
The forum has aggregated the collective expertise of their members to produce a blueprint for organizations to plan and implement their own digital strategies, the ‘DSRA’ – Digital Services Reference Architecture.
This provides a framework for building a ‘digital ecosystem’, and in his workshop session Eric Troup, CTO for Microsoft’s Communications and Media industry, provided the flagship presentation on this topic, describing how Microsoft has built their entire online commerce platform around this model and contributed their experiences it to the program.
With a plethora of partners providing component parts across their IaaS and PaaS Azure environment, they themselves are a living best practice example of how to build and profit from these digital ecosystems.
As it is being recognized that this exciting new era of digital innovation and these transformative ecosystem models are the future of business, then there’s no doubt the TMF has staked their strategic enabling position in the marketplace, offering powerful assets and expertise to call upon for any organization planning their own digital roadmap.
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