Mobile Operator Smart Pipes & Applications: 19-20 May London

On May 19-20th in London will be the Mobile Operator Smart Pipes and Applications Conference.  In attendance will be Steve Glagow, head of Orange Partner; Pieter Knook, head of Vodafone Internet Services, Sune Jakobsson, Telenor Open Services; James Parton, head of O2 Litmus; plus many more operators.  As well as leaders from Nokia Ovi, Google, Bebo, Fox, Opera Software, Microsoft, OpenAPI, OMTP, etc.  The conference will be a nexus of the people trying to move the telco industry from being viewed as “a pipe to the internet” to a “value-adding network of customers and application developers.”

There will be keynotes from Sean Kane (Bebo) on the importance of business model innovation, Pieter Knook (Vodafone) on why Open Access matters and what it means – which I discuss in this weblog article, James Parton (O2 Litmus) on the importance of customers’ desire and commercial viability in creating developer programme success; and David Stewart (OFCOM) on maintaining consumer confidence in Open Access – an important topic an aspect of which is discussed in this weblog article.

For developers, attendance at the 3rd party stream of the conference is free, which provides a great opportunity for developers to network with the decision makers in getting your applications into customers’ hands.  This demonstrates how the tables have turned, application developers both big and small matter.  Slowly operators are learning to treat developers as customers rather than as expendable revenue sources.

There will be panel discussions on business models, sharing best practices (e.g. Telenor Content Provider Access), learning from mistakes, learning from other industries (e.g. from the wireless device industry), technologies, standards and emergent opportunities.

I’ll be running a panel session on Day One (Tuesday 19th) “Understanding the requirements of Developers: Developer Interviews with the Most Vocal In the Business.”  On the panel is an impressive line-up: Phil Mundy, Creative North; Paul Golding, Wireless Wanders; John Holloway, Zing Magic; and Tom Montgomery, Mobiun.  Our objective is to provide a frank review of where the industry is and what needs to happen from the people originating innovation, and who today have a choice in how to reach the customer: its no longer just the operator.

Before the conference, on the Monday 18th, I’ll be running a pre-conference workshop, “Achieving the Economies of Scale Necessary to make the Smart Pipe Strategy Commercially and Operationally Viable,” details show below.  Here I’ll be sharing a view of what 2015 will look like if we continue along the current trajectory; where increasingly Google Latitude becomes the default aggregation of people’s context and Google buys Skype from eBay, social networks interoperate which includes messaging and voice inter-working, customers increasingly subscribe to music/video experiences rather than ‘buy’ content, mobile VoIP finally arrives, devices manufacturers have to copy Apple’s experience to stay in business, and customers’ expectations on services continue to change so mobile voice/messaging is considered like fixed telephony is today.  What does this mean to the mobile industry?  What are we doing, and what must we be doing?  The workshop will be a mix of presentation, roundtable discussion, and interactive Q&A.  For more background on the workshop see these weblog articles:

Pre-Conference Workshop, Monday May 18th, Achieving the Economies of Scale Necessary to make the Smart Pipe Strategy Commercially and Operationally Viable

Today we have hundreds of initiatives from operators opening their networks, working with developers, and finding new ways to unlock the value contained in their networks. A common lament from developers is, “I really should not have to sign up to 3 or 4 platforms per market.” With Internet-based brands it is one relationship and it’s global. Apple makes it easy for developers to reach its 30M+ customers, how can operators make it just as easy for the other 2B+ customers? There is work by the GSMA, One API, that is putting some of the technical standards together; but is this what developers require? What about the pragmatic commercial and process issues? This conference has brought together the leading figures in Smart Networks, an opportunity has been created to achieve a common understanding on the need for consensus and a chance to set out a pragmatic plan to achieve that consensus. This workshop provides a forum for this unique opportunity to be realized.


  • Understand the impact of achieving consensus across operators in Smart Pipe Strategies
  • Understand the degrees to which consensus can be achieved, with agreed prioritisation
  • Discuss options to achieve industry consensus in working with developers
  • Provide an open and frank forum for operators to discuss how to achieve consensus in their smart pipe plans.
  • Set out an action plan to move from the agreements achieved to real consensus in the market place.


  • 8.30 Registration and Refreshments
  • 9.00 Introductions
  • 9.15 The Call For Action: Understanding Why Economies of Scale in Smart Pipe Strategies Matter
    • A view of the future – what happens if we remain an archipelago, how will ‘global warming from the internet’ impact the industry?
    • Is the GSMA One API initiative enough?
    • Is this just a mobile problem, does cable, broadband, satellite matter?
    • What do developers require?
  • 11.00 Networking Break and Refreshments
  • 11.30 Facilitated Round Table Discussion: Where Can Consensus Be Achieved in
  • Smart Pipe Strategies?
    • Objective: to agree a prioritised list of areas where consensus/co-ordination can be achieved.
  • 13.00 Lunch
  • 14.00 Interactive Q&A session with Developers: Understand What They Need, and Where Coordination Matters to Them
  • 15.00 Networking Break and Refreshments
  • 15.30 Facilitated Round Table Discussion: Agreement on What Should Be Achieved, What Steps Can Be Undertaken To Achieve Co-ordination in Internet-time, Not Telco Standards-Bodies Time
  • 15.00 End Workshop