“Old Home Week” and the Telecom Takeaway
Confession: We love telecom conferences.
Are you picturing a series of awkward luncheons, stale lectures and endless award ceremonies?
To the outsider, there may be some merit to those clichés, but for those of us in the telecom family, these conferences are what we call “Old Home Week.” It’s a reunion of the same 300 people at each conference every year, and we’ve developed real relationships and friendships with them over time. Believe it or not, we really do have fun and these events, and to top it all off, we get a juicy sneak peak at what to expect from our carriers and the industry for the coming year.
(Juicy for us, at least.)
RCG’s Eddie Hooper just returned home from CenturyLink’s Alliance Expo in Denver and AT&T’s Alliance Kickoff in Dallas and he has filled us in on some of the most interesting telecom industry news, changes and trends headed our way in 2014.
Here are some of his biggest takeaways:
The cloud is coming-of-age:
This is the cloud’s time, and its maturity has never been so evident than after these two conferences. CenturyLink presented Gartner research showing market revenues for cloud services were near $59 billion in 2012, and are expected to surpass $116 billion by 2017, showing a massive a leap in demand.
Given those figures, it’s no surprise we learned CenturyLink will be placing a heavy focus on its own cloud service and both carriers will be touting the growth potential of third-party programs, such as Microsoft 365, to small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have the means to employ a full-time IT staff to manage a large-scale cloud service. What’s really exciting is how cloud services will be catapulted into the marketplace with more network and cloud bundles and further integration with existing telecom networks.
IT focus is shifting to your customers:
One of CenturyLink’s research-based breakout sessions focused on businesses’ IT priorities. More than any other type of IT technology, Gartner found that most CEOs (15 percent) placed the highest value on customer-facing IT, and four of the the top five most valued IT systems were all customer related. The data also pointed out that businesses placed the highest investment value on business-improving IT that serves (once again) customers and data, such as business analytics, e-commerce and customer experience management (CEM).
What this says to us on the provider side is that we should expect a great deal of innovation, advancement and focus on customer-centric IT technologies, such as company mobile apps, and further strategize the most efficient ways to support those technologies by enhancing telecom networks and data storage.
Mobility touches nearly every sector of the telecom industry, and our carriers are addressing a growing need for speed on the frontlines. For example, AT&T is continuing to expand LTE services by reaching about 300 million people by the end of this year. Dedicated Internet Access (DIA), Broadband and Fiber Ethernet are also conference buzzwords of the year. Sessions were dripping with strategies on how to best address the growing demand for more bandwidth to our customers by introducing us to new pricing opportunities and product improvements.
Telecom from the trenches:
Despite hours of spent in seminars, the best telecom takeaway isn’t found on the conference agenda. Every attendee represents a unique business with different clients, geographic reach, problems and solutions. When we’re all in one room, that diversity sparks insightful conversations and the conferences become literal forums of collaboration.
By meeting with carrier executives face-to-face, we also build personal relationships that we can leverage when our clients’ needs dictate. For example, we’re able to give a carrier vice president a direct call when technology goes down, giving us a significant advantage in the repair process.
That’s why we’re okay spending a few days taking notes under the glow of PowerPoint presentations and cheering on our peers as they win awards (and have them cheer on us, too. Find out more about that here.). “Old Home Week” arms us with valuable information from the top down, and now it’s time to put it to use.
What have you learned from industry conferences? Let us know by commenting below.