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MWC is over for another year and beneath the tidal wave of consumer gadget announcements, there were serious analyst discussions with vendors and attendees about the future of communication service providers (CSPs). Many of these focused on the technologies underlying CSP offerings and what the platforms that will power them into the next decade might look like.

I personally spoke to a large number of analysts about a wide range of topics, including sharing with them what SAP has been up to recently. However, the most interesting thing to me was finding out the topics that they really wanted to talk about during our conversations. All of them had questions that they just couldn’t wait to ask. I found that scratching below the surface of their questions was an effective way to find out what the burning topics and trends at this year’s show were for both CSPs and vendors alike.

Here is my take on the hot analyst topics for MWC 2015 – and a glimpse of what this year might bring.

  • Big Data gets contextual: “Big Data back for another year,” you might say? Yes, according to Gartner, the Big Data hype has peaked and is heading into the trough of disillusionment. Yet, now we are finally seeing the rubber hit the road, with many vendors providing complete Big Data solutions and more operators reporting success with their initiatives. Consequently, there was not an analyst or CSP not talking about it at the show. Enlightenment may be coming quicker than we expect with adjacent topics – or the words du jour – such as fast and contextual data. Big Data is nice, but context is now becoming king. Besides, what is the use of a Big Data or Marketing solution if it can’t correctly segment the Prince of Wales and the Prince of Darkness?

(Source: FitForCommerce Annual Industry report 2015)

  • From CSP to DSP: IDC first coined the term 3rd platform – the technology pillars of mobile computing, cloud services, Big Data and analytics, and social networking – in 2007. Back then, IDC predicted that it would be the core for CSP growth in the years to come. But now, mobile penetration is at over 100% in many parts of the world and over-the-top content (OTT) players are increasingly eating away at precious profits. Therefore,  it is critical that CSPs find ways to generate new revenue streams by way of a robust platform and in-house OTT strategy. Because of this, most analysts seem to think that digital service provider (DSP) is a more appropriate term than CSP for the modern telecommunications provider

  • The Cloud: In some ways, CSPs represent one of the last bastions of hope for on-premise solutions. Many operators are still not ready to give up ownership of their core Business Support Systems (BSS), so a hybrid strategy is expected to be pervasive for the foreseeable future. Today there are already a significant number of OSS/BSS vendors tentatively proposing cloud-based alternatives, but CSPs – and most analysts – are having trouble believing that they are capable of delivering on such promises. However, as was seen previously in other industries and across other lines of business, this sentiment can change very quickly and a shift may be just around the corner for CSPs.

  • IoT: Operators are still mulling over their Internet of Things (IoT) strategies and many vendors are starting to position their solutions for when the switch is inevitably flicked. What new solutions, standards, and initiatives are really needed for IoT to be successful is still a topic of great debate, however. There is already revenue being generated in IoT for operators, but in reality, the real excitement has only just begun.

So these topics were the buzz last week at MWC and I’m sure we’ll see more news about them over the upcoming year as these burning topics and trends evolve into proven ways of doing business.

If you missed the show, here are a few of the key announcements from SAP

Were you at MWC? Share your favorite buzz of the show with me below...