Fake News in Telecoms

fake newsThere are 3 principle reasons why analysts are wrong on many aspects of telecoms, because they:

  • Believe the AR (Analyst Relations) / CFO (Chief Financial Officer) spin on the numbers and happily repeat them in their research notes. Its reportage and linear prediction on the story / spin given. Many industry analysts are ex-reporters, the trade rag business is long dead its now just a selection of fake-news sites peddling industry spin and re-inforcing opinions. Most financial analysts just look at the numbers presented and want to keep their firm’s investments buoyant. Any claim of chinese walls is a joke, history has proven many times you can not trust the finance industry.
  • Lack the experience of working on the front lines in selling, building and implementing the stuff they are covering. Analysis is constrained to financial spreadsheets and marketing spin, which makes calling BS quite difficult.
  • Believe the marketing crap, and happily repeat trite phrases like ‘API economy’ and ‘digital transformation’. Those phrases mean nothing. An API is just a little bit of technology (a HTTP request) and digital was cool in the ’70s.

What this means is the industry is generally getting bad advice and analysis. In my projects I find 50% of the job is undoing the nonsense, to which there are always some hold-outs that are happy to believe not think because there are lots of fake-news telecom website filled with the nonsense to confirm their beliefs. Then the other 50% is doing the project in helping build the new business or service. People complain about the rise of fake news / opinion reinforcing websites, its been here in telecoms / high tech for over one decade.

As a specific example of spin, let’s look at the SIP trunking market in the US. 2017 is an important year as the spend on SIP trunking will finally exceed legacy truck spend (remember those nailed up voice T1s?). In North America its about a $4.5B market, its the bulk of the global market. I’ll avoid going into a rant on the ineffective regulation in the US. Thanks to Twilio’s elastic SIP trunking they’ve become a dominant player. They are selling SIP trucking, like AT&T and Verizon, just better. It all gets labeled as CPaaS. The SIP trunking control and value added services can be through an API rather than a management screen, so it really falls under the broader category of programmable telecoms. But the numbers get loaded up as new CPaaS growth, rather than substituting through price erosion of a well defined trunking market.

Most industry events are generally bank-rolled by large vendors who’s vested interest is keeping their large customers writing large checks for their networks and the software around those networks. So the jabber is always on future technologies like 5G, general purpose machine learning (AI is still in the realm of futurology, even though the term is wildly used, and weak AI is just a cop out to let people use the term AI), and silly phrases like digital transformation. They’ve been talking about 5G for years, I was complaining about it back in 2014, even though its still several years away, and will generally only solve the dense cell issue only. NFV will NOT enable digital transformation, it will NOT save money; virtualization is the root of a load of security issues, which NFV and network slicing exacerbate. You’ll only learn about the truth at TADSummit from the practitioners in the field who are not vested in the writing of big checks.

Industry events should focus on what is possible today through hands on experience. That’s what TADHack does, we’ll be running another TADHack-mini Orlando before Enterprise Connect in 2018, website is coming soon. And TADHack Global is only a few weeks away with registrations close to 2000.  To understand what is available you must experience hands-on, in today’s fake-news world, show-me matters more than ever.

I’ve been saying this for years, and I’ll repeat it again, its all about the services; an API is just a tiny bit of technology. What this means is any service should be configurable by a customer to their business need, either through a web-page or a machine readable web-page (also know as an API). Enterprises want solutions to business problems, they generally buy services that help them solve problems, those services get customized, and through APIs adapted and embedded into business operations. Its a staircase of commitment, not some belief-system that adopting APIs enables digital transformation – that path only leads to failure. You’re solving a business problem with a solution that gets better adapted to your business needs. Its a subtle thing but makes a massive difference to many service provider’s strategy, product roadmap and business results. This is just one of a number of examples you’re learn about and witness first hand at TADSummit.

And the networks, they are a changin’, what it takes to run your own mobile network is changing dramatically, as networks become increasingly software defined. Its all just programmable telecoms, that is the over-arching trend. You’ll not see and understand most of this trend the big events, as it could impact the big check writing. Look at the sponsors of TADHack and TADSummit, its not the big vendors, its the people leading change in the industry.

All of the above is why my consulting business continues after 15 years, as businesses realize they need to make decisions based on insightful analysis not spin. And why I run TADHack and TADSummit to help the industry and everyone in it see and experience what is possible today and in the future based with programmable telecoms, not some vested interest spin.

We saw in the US election how powerful fake news and opinion re-inforcing sites can be. The same is and has been happening for over one decade in telecoms. As evidenced by the inability of an industry to change despite the best intentions of many executive management teams, and the continued acquisition of agents of change to ensure those big checks continue to be signed, the euphemism is growing through acquisition.

TADSummit is your anti-fake news event in telecoms; and TADHack is the hands-on event where you get to experience first hand what is possible in programmable telecoms.

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