Issue 25 Articles

TM Forum logoIOT, Cloud and the Future

Carl Piva, VP of Strategic Programs
for TM Forum, talks to InterComms

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Carl Piva, VP Strategic Programs, TM Forum
Carl Piva, VP Strategic Programs, TM Forum

Carl Piva is serving as VP Strategic Programs at TM Forum. Carl is passionate about market and technology disruptions, and about helping TM Forum's members to transform into successful digital service providers in the emerging digital economy.

Q: With a lot of the hype turning to the advances in IoT, there has been a quietening down about cloud technologies and their effect on modern day communications. Are we at a stage where everyone can look at cloud and use it? Or is there a need to still look carefully at applications and data issues?
A: Cloud technologies are indeed becoming more integrated into the fabric of our business models and have clearly become a required component of most successful businesses. However, this does not mean we have solved all the issues—far from it. Privacy and security are forcing us to reconsider how these solutions are deployed and governed. The most serious breaches in the history of computing have happened over the last couple of years. Ernst & Young is listing privacy and security as one of the top five challenges for telecommunications. Symantec’s annual threat reports clearly indicate that key security issues are growing at a rate of 30% or higher year to year. Knowing where your data is at all times to be compliant with national legislation, or understanding what type of data can be made available to whom and when to avoid privacy issues are other aspects to be concerned with.

These are known issues, of course, and one could argue that the cloud is not the sole culprit. The cloud will also have an important role to play when it comes to IoT. The fact that local clouds need to be positioned in a very close proximity to some of the sensors and actuators in order to support the use case in question, e.g. for 5G type based low latency cases. Unless you have a local cloud very close by, there is no chance you can have a round-trip below 1ms. In many ways, close proximity clouds will be required to make certain IoT use cases a reality.

Q: We looked at issues in data in the cloud. Another area that has been around for a long time is Big Data. If we go back to the 90’s, Silicon Graphics was talking about data mining and its benefits. Are we now seeing the wide spread use of data as a business tool in the marketplace or is there still a need to educate and innovate in this area?
A: My perspective is that while cloud has matured over the last couple of years, the untapped potential of data analytics is enormous. So yes, there is a need to educate and innovate, and for each of us to learn more about this exciting area. Some might argue with me, but I think it is fair to say that while we have ‘cloud to the masses’, we don’t have ‘data analytics to the masses’ just yet.

Q: Looking ahead to the next 12 months, what are the most important things you would like to see happen in the industry?
A: I think we need to get serious about partnering with the over the top companies to open up new revenue streams, we need to push the transformative agenda of SDN/NFV, we need to get serious about becoming the digitization enabler for other industries, we need to figure out how to handle the spectrum of IoT service characteristics challenges ranging from high latency no bandwidth, to low latency high bandwidth, which is an area where 5G will play an important role.

Q: As a global organization and a leading educator in telecoms and digitalization, how is TM Forum helping to close the gap between the information rich and poor?
A: It seems to me that all of us receive more information than we can handle. If we look for a specific piece of information we are presented with hundreds of different choices and options. I think the right question to ask is, how we can close the gap between the information we really need and the corresponding piece of information out there. We try to approach this by pulling together a large group of people from different parts of the ecosystem, all interested in a specific set of topics. This is actually a way to close that gap. We do this in diverse areas such as NFV/SDN, Customer Engagement and Smart Cities. Once you have the key voices in the room it is easier to understand the big picture and your own role in the value fabric.

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