TADS Summary: Building the Telecom Application Developer Ecosystem

TADSlogoThe Telecom Application Developer Summit took place from 21-22 Nov 2013 in Bangkok, the slides are now available here, the videos and photos will be available soon.  TADS is much more than just 2 days in Bangkok.  Our objective with TADS is to help build the telecom application developer ecosystem from the grassroots, to expand the community of developers that can use telecoms in their applications, services and businesses.  And in doing so the whole ecosystem will benefit from their combined energy, innovations, ideas, technologies and reach.  This is how the web works, and we’re simply copying it.

TADS is important to telcos, by 2018 there could be a $100B revenue hole because of competition in messaging and voice services from IP-based providers, and customers’ expectations on what internet access should cost.  The industry has stagnated for too long, and not kept the core product fresh and relevant to its customers, as we see in other service and high tech industries.  The Telecom Application Developer ecosystem has the potential to close that gap by keeping telecoms fresh and relevant and in doing so create a $100B market for us all to share in.

BUT this is a path with many failed attempts.  So what is different this time?

  • Firstly, Telcos are no longer the gatekeeper, cloud communication providers and developers are working together today and creating exciting telecom innovations, as we’ll hear over the next 2 days.
  • Telcos are now witnessing the revenue declines, long predicted, but now a reality.  This is motivating change.
  • We now have a critical mass of innovators, just look to the list of sponsors of TADS, some with communities of 200k developers.
  • AND finally, TADS is a grassroots initiative, it’s by the industry and for the industry.

There is much that’s different this time around.  We are entering an exciting phase in the development of the telecoms industry, it will become more open, and each and every one of the people involved in TADS can help create this potentially $100B industry over the next 5 years and share in the wealth created.

I would like to thank the sponsors of TADS:  Apidaze, Huawei, hSenid Mobile, Layer 7, OnMobile, OpenCloud, Telestax, Tropo, Ubuntu/Canonical – who have all taken a risk on TADS.  They are all leaders in telecom application development.  I also would like to mention our Official Media Partner: TelecomAsia (John Tanner chaired the panel on the future of voice).  Our Official Community partner, MEF (Oscar Veronese, chaired one of the show and tell sessions).  And the support of our many Media Partners who have helped in promoting TADS to as wide as audience as possible, they include: Application Developers Alliance, Dean Bubley’s Disruptive Analysis,  HotTelecom, Mind Commerce, Mobile Monday Bangkok, Mobile Monday HongKong, Tonse Telecom, VisionMobile and WIP.

For me the energy at the event was what struck me most, bringing developers, telcos and vendors created an exhilarated, an excitement, at the opportunities being created in the telecom application developer ecosystem.  We had 115 registered attendees, close to 100 in attendance, which for a first event that is organized by the grassroots of the industry is a great start.

Highlighting some few of the TADS presentations, we’ll review them in more details on the TADS website over the coming weeks:

  • Suresh Sidhu, COO Celcom, gave the keynote entitled “Telcos need new telecom applications and services survive!”  An excellent review of the emerging environment and the need of telcos to focus on relevancy.  Frankly reviewing the cultural gap that exists, and the steps Celcom is taking to close that gap and create a win:win.  It was a great way to start the event.

After a refreshingly frank panel which discussed the challenges we’ve face in building the telecom application developer ecosystem, the video of the session will be coming soon on the TADS website.  We then broke into two streams, one business focused, the other technology/development focused.

The Developer Summit focused on technical presentations by technology leaders:

  • Maarten Ectors from Ubuntu demonstrated how JuJu Charms can help developers integrate with telcos’ networks in seconds, and he made an innovative telco crowd-funding idea.
  • Jose de Castro from Tropo gave a number of live coding demonstrations showing how simple it has become to create innovative new services with ‘apps in your calls’ using Ameche.
  • Philippe Sultan from Apidaze showed the power of web-scripting is creating beautifully simply tools for developers.
  • Florent Stroppa from OnMobile reawaken the audience to the potential of caller ringback tone, as they open their platform.  With the roll-out of VoLTE, and the potential to mash up CRBT with a range of web-based services the ideas were flowing fast.  OnMobile are running a competition evoc8, for developers.
  • Charlie Crighton from OpenCloud gave a great review of the power of their Sentinel framework which enables the raw power of telecom networks to be exposed for all developers.
  • Christophe Coutelle from Huawei gave an insightful demonstration on the power of mashing up business processes and communications with an insurance application.
  • Normandes Junior from Algar telecom and Albert Ho from Kalsym showed the simplicity with which new services can be created within the telecoms network.  This highlighted the importance of telcos being able to work with developers in creating new innovative experiences within minutes.
  • Dan Burnett gave an excellent session on WebRTC, which everyone agreed was the best education they’d received on WebRTC.
  • There were also several panel sessions, some were quite hilarious, once the videos are up we’ll review them as well.

The Telco Summit focused on case studies from telecom operators and vendors in telecom application development:

  • Dragana Linfield from Etisalat showed the work she is doing to innovate in communications at web-speed, through embedding communications.  Etisalat continues to impress me with its willingness to lead the industry on innovation.
  • Dinesh Saparamadu from hSend Mobile demonstrated the successes they’ve had in building telecom application developer communities in emerging markets.  Their work has been recognized by the UNCTAD.
  • Mark Windle from OpenCloud reviewed a number of telco case studies in telecom app innovation by breaking free from the slow strategic vendors and working with agile companies.
  • Normandes Junior from Algar Telecom reviewed their work in telecom application development and the importance of building applications for the local market.
  • Mac Taylor from Huawei shows the leadership position Huawei has built in telecom application development compared to all the other large vendors; Huawei is now leading the pack.
  • Raj Sunder from Bakrie Telecom gave an excellent review on what its taken for Bakrie to engage developers, it’s a model for all.
  • Jose de Castro from Tropo explained how they are making the innovation power of their close to 200k developer community available to telcos and their partners with the Tropo Developer Network.
  • Florent Stroppa from OnMobile reawaken the audience to the potential of caller ringback tone, as they open their platform.  With the roll-out of VoLTE, and the potential to mash CRBT up with a range of web-based services the ideas were flowing fast.  OnMobile are running a competition evoc8, for developers to build cool stuff using CRBT.
  • Mark White from Locatrix shared his many years of experience in telecom application development.
  • Des Hartman from Metaswitch shared their open source IMS, Project Clearwater, which is going to shake up the industry.
  • Maarten Ectors from Ubuntu demonstrating how Ubuntu have help telcos launch new services in seconds, and presented an innovative telco crowd-funding idea.
  • Ross Garrett from Layer 7 gave an inspirational presentation on the software-defined telco, demonstrating Layer 7’s leadership in API management and their understanding of what APIs mean to telcos across all their business.
  • Naoki Uchida from NTT shared an impressive model on internal innovation, which is a template for all telcos.
  • Luis Quina from Apidaze gave a simply yet powerful case study on the role of telecom APIs in a particular business ecosystem which increased revenue by 15%.
  • Ivelin Ivanov of Telestax gave another case study on the role of telecom APIs in the healthcare industry.
  • Dean Bubley from Disruptive Analysis showed how telcos have a long way to go in understanding how customers use telephony, and importance of WebRTC both to developers and telcos.
  • There were also several panel sessions, many had quite active discussions which are great entertainment, once the videos are up we’ll review them as well.

In the closing plenary I reviewed the current status of the Telecom Application Developer Manifesto, which we will publish in the new year, endorsed by as broad a cross-section of the industry as possible.

And congratulations to Tony Lau from Smartone in HongKong, it was his lucky day in winning both the Nexus 10 32GB in the prize draw at the end of TADS, and also a signed copy of Dan Burnett’s ‘The WebRTC Book’ earlier in the day.

Some of the quotes from the event include:

  • Luis Quina COO Apidaze, “I’m so pleased we chose to sponsor TADS, it is THE event for any company involved in telecom application development, Telecom APIs, WebRTC, and application platforms.
  • Mark White CEO Locatrix, “Any vendor involved in telecom applications and services and not involved in TADS is at a serious competitive disadvantage.
  • Ross Garrett Director Product Marketing Layer 7, “TADS was an amazing event, the whole of the ecosystem was there.  The quality and variety of the sessions was truly amazing.  I can’t wait for next years’ event, given the plans discussed it’s going to be phenomenal!
  • Jose de Castro, CTO Tropo, “TADS is leading the industry into a new world, where the network is programmable.  Working together; telcos, vendors and developers can create a potentially $100B industry over the next 5 years.
  • Dinesh Saparamadu, CEO hSenid Mobile, “I left TADS feeling excited, exhilarated at the opportunities being created in the telecom application developer ecosystem across all markets both developed and emerging.  We have lots to do, but the opportunities are boundless through taking an ecosystem based approach.
  • Ivelin Ivanov, CEO Telestax, “TADS demonstrates the power of building initiatives from the grassroots.  There’s no corporate BS, the presentations are open, honest and real.  The case studies show time and again the real business being created over telecom networks.
  • Andy Abramson, CEO Comunicano, “Rarely do conferences deliver more than expected when treading new ground. TADS did that on every level, starting with what the attendees had to say. Nothing was sacred and nothing was off limits. TADS has set a new standard for openness and forward looking vision that can be delivered on today.

Looking into 2014, our plan for building the Telecom Application Developer ecosystem is through 2 events:

  • TADHack, June Berlin or Dubin or Lisbon, a 2 day hackathon focused across all telecom developer tools including telecom APIs, web scripting, platforms, WebRTC, and more.
  • TADSummit, November Istanbul, a global 2 day event across operators, vendors and developers at the cross roads of Europe and the Middle East.

We’ll have live streaming of both the events, including interactive chat to address as broad an audience as possible.  Sponsorship interest is already expressed from: Apidaze, hSenid Mobile, Huawei, Layer 7, OnMobile, OpenCloud, Telestax, Tropo, Ubuntu

TADHack will be developer focused:

  • 2 days, 1 day education with live streaming of the event, and a 24 hour hackathon with live streaming of the judging and awards with cash prizes and more;
  • Series of webinars in build-up to the event to educate developers and build interest;
  • Ubuntu phones with IMS SIMs to use the full capabilities of the network, Ubuntu cloud to host and run the event;
  • Across all telecom related platforms, stimulating innovations from the core of the network, through enterprise applications, to new consumer experiences; and
  • Telco as well as vendor sponsorship.

TADSummit will be ecosystem focused covering:

  • Success stories that emerged from TADSummit2013 and many more telco showcases including more CxO level attendees;
  • Start-up showcase from TADHack – real business and real services;
  • Disruptors is attendance;
  • VCs and investors – really in attendance for 2014; and
  • Deeper discussion on working together and building the ecosystem.

For more information and to register your interest in sponsoring or being involved in either event please contact me.  Below is a 15 minute video summarizing from some of the sponsors and attendees their experiences at TADS.

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